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THE MALE MACHINE by Marc Feigen Fasteau



Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1974
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

He is functional, designed mainly for work. . . . His circuits are never scrambled or overrun by irrelevant personal signals. . . . ""So Marc Feigen Fasteau, lawyer husband of lawyer feminist Brenda, begins his therapeutic description of the male stereotype: the Procrustean yardstick against which they are measured, goaded to come up with nine inches or six feet of steely toughness, competitiveness, rationality and stoicism lest they be labeled faggot, female, or just plain scared. Fasteau's analysis of what's behind this stereotype -- unsureness of masculinity, fear of vulnerability -- is quite familiar from recent feminist writings, as is his description of its origins and dynamics: the differential conditioning of boys and girls, the cult of sports, the stress on the test of violence, the impersonality of male friendships, the dread of homosexuality, resentment of independent and intelligent women, fear of female sexual demands, awkwardness and dependency on women in the realm of feelings combined with contempt for their ""emotionalism,"" and so on. His solution, too, is familiar -- androgyny, the freedom to be you and me, to be both/and rather than either/or (independent/ dependent, rational/intuitive, etc.). The big difference is that this book was written by a man, which may make it easier for men to accept. Unfortunately, Fasteau often reads too much like an exemplary convert -- someone who's swallowed the party line -- not even of feminism so much as of the current sensitivity-training strain of liberalism, with its perhaps overhasty assumption that particulars of behavior can be reformed by good intentions. He's a restrained but eloquent rhetorician and makes his points well. If only he didn't sound so damned obedient and humane, so within the lukewarm cultural tidal wave of the moment.