WOMEN RESPOND TO THE MEN'S MOVEMENT: A Feminist Collection by Kay Leigh--Ed. Hagan


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Twenty stimulating, often passionate essays by feminists whose styles vary remarkably but whose message remains the same--that most forms of the current ""men's movement"" reinforce patriarchy and widen the gap between men and women just when, for the sake of our children, ourselves, and the environment, we most need to work together. ""Make no mistake about it,"" Gloria Steinem writes in her foreword, ""women want a men's movement. We are literally dying for it."" In fact, none of the contributors--who run the gamut from a bemused Ursula K. LeGuin to a livid hattie gossett to an arch but levelheaded Barbara Kingsolver--object to a men's movement whose aim is what editor Hagan calls a ""society of mutual respect and safety for all."" But nearly all contend that while the much-touted Robert Bly sort of ideology identifies Western men as victims of absent fathers--an absence that feminists have also long decried--it turns the blame on mothers for remaining at home and supposedly dominating their sons. Several writers compare Bly's and others' insistence that men must reject women and tune into their warlike, wild-man selves in order to avoid becoming ""soft"" to a similar 19th-century backlash against feminism; Margo Adair points out that Bly's workshops are attended almost entirely by white, affluent men and suggests that a weekend of ""going wild"" is one way to ensure stricter control over oneself and others during the week. Much applause goes to John Stoltenberg's Refusing to Be a Man, the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, and other forms of male-engendered social activism for striving to accomplish what Riane Eisler calls a shift from the values of domination to those of partnership--perhaps in agreement with Starhawk's observation that ""the cure for what ails the slaveowner is to free the slaves."" Lively, intelligent, clarifying--a well-timed response that may catch the eye of Susan Faludi's, if not Bly's, readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: HarperCollins