LOVE, SEX, DEATH, AND THE MAKING OF THE MALE by Rosalind Miles

LOVE, SEX, DEATH, AND THE MAKING OF THE MALE

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The lurid title suits this swift, wry, anecdotal survey of the pitiful confusion that Miles (The Women's History of the World, 1989; Women and Power, 1986) finds in the lives of adult men: Acculturated largely by women to identify with their penises (which makes them prone to violence), they are, she says, ``dislocated'' by the women's movement, frustrated, angry, and even more violent than historically they have been known to be. According to Miles, males--born as biologically defective females with weak lungs--acquire ``penis power'' from their worshipful mothers before being forced to reject the feminine side of themselves as they grow and engage in the ``wars of virility'' with other men in the competitive worlds of education, athletics, business, and politics. Damaged in their youth, unable to fulfill the conventional expectations society has for masculinity, men take refuge in work, power plays, homosexuality, adultery, or violence, often against their wives and children. With the ``tragedy of age,'' impotence, and declining physical power, they find younger women whose adoration reminds them of the ``primal sweetness'' they enjoyed with their mothers--or they commit suicide. Given the wealth of illustrative material--drawn from literature, psychology (often competing schools), films, and contemporary life--it is easy to overlook the generalizations this argument (badgering, bullying, never less than quarrelsome) is based on as Miles disregards differences in education, economic class, profession, and racial or ethnic values, as well as the possibility that some men, by preference, are kind, gentle, loving, and faithful. Still, it is hard to fault someone who believes that women should ``love men more as they are and less as we would all like them to be,'' who argues that violence would end if boys were raised closer to their fathers, if they were educated to honor their emotions and to be less competitive, and if offenders were appropriately punished. Engaging and fun to read, but for a more subtle study, see Myraim Miedzian's Boys Will Be Boys (p. 587).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-74492-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1991




MORE BY ROSALIND MILES

NonfictionHELL HATH NO FURY by Rosalind Miles
by Rosalind Miles
FictionTHE LADY OF THE SEA by Rosalind Miles
by Rosalind Miles
FictionISOLDE by Rosalind Miles
by Rosalind Miles