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Mini Book Review: Men On Strike by Dr. Helen Smith



Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith
Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters.

I read this book, then I read it again.

There is so much information to be gleaned that it required more than one reading.

Dr. Helen presents the case of American men opting out of the traditional framework of marriage and family. With a marriage rate that had dipped 40% over the past forty years; A recent A pew report notes that 37% of women see a successful marriage as one of the most important things in their lives vs 29% of men. That is a huge gap to overcome for single women looking to settle down. Dr. Helen points out the financial risks for men during divorce, unfair custody laws, and a plethora of cultural stigmas that discriminate against men. This also extends to education where men are dropping out (pardon the pun) as classrooms and universities become hostile environments for men. Check your privilege, anyone? This in turn leads to falling median wage of the typical American male and it spirals down from there.  The video below with the author describing the themes in her book in an interview with Tucker Carlson:

The facts  presented in this book with accompanying sources are depressing but necessary in understanding the scope of this problem.

While reading this book, I recalled when I had the unfortunate luck to have a front row seat in the unfolding disaster drama of two relationships. Incident #1, I discovered an ex-wife can essentially screw over her ex husband legally, financially and emotionally for decades. In addition, she can use the law to wreak havoc on any woman who might come into his life. To be clear, I was simply a babysitter for a week. In this capacity, I found myself subjected to several harassing phone calls from the ex-wife at work and home and was made to undergo a handwriting analysis. Incident #2, a highly educated friend would boast of using sex to control the behavior of her husband. In turn, he would proposition me when we would meet up to workout at a local gym.  I knew the reason for his action and constantly brushed off his advances. Awkward to say the least, also, I was never interested in second helpings.

These two instances opened my eyes to the legal, emotional, and personal warfare that women can wage against men and the behavioral repercussions of these actions.  The author points out that ‘men are portrayed as the bad guys, ready to rape, pillage, beat or abuse women and children at the drop of a hat.”  Quite by accident a trending Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen neatly proves this striking point posited in Men on Strike. I wonder how men and women posting on this vitriolic hashtag treat their own sons?  How will these boys relate in a world that treats them as potential rapists or cultural morons?

While pondering these questions I found a striking video from Violence is violence – Mankind Initiative TV Commercial Ad which asks the question if people react differently to violence depending upon gender.  The answer may surprise #YesAllWomen supporter:

It is time to break the silence and have a  serious discussion on equality.  All men are not rapists and all women are not helpless victims. It isn’t simply a one-sided problem.  I hope this post and books such as Men on Strike will help facilitate a meaningful dialogue fostering better understanding of this complex problem.

My recommendation: Go read this book STAT.

What are your thoughts on the state of men and women in relationships today? Let me know in the comment section.

Also, book reviews as a regular feature on the blog.  Yes or No?


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  • Trish Mac

    Wow Tania! Found a link to this page on Marooned in Marin- excellent review. Will read the book for sure!
    Nice to find your latest work!

  • Thanks for writing this. I’ve been meaning to read this book and this is a reminder to get a copy. Dr. Helen really hits the nail on the head.

    • Tania

      Glad you enjoyed the review 🙂

  • Well said.

  • Dale Light

    Good review. Helen Smith is one of the most sensible people commenting on gender relations today. You seem to be right up there with her. I’m not sure that a “meaningful dialogue” leading to better understanding will be possible in this sensation and agenda driven media culture. Fights, unfortunately, attract more eyeballs than reasonable and thoughtful discussions — hence the adversarial nature of so much public discourse. My response has been to try to be as good a person as I can be in my personal relationships and to not let the craziness of the media circus affect me or those I hold dear.