Men on Pause (2013)

     The bright red and black colors jump out like a tractor beam pulling you in. Next you notice the bold white letters which read, Men on Strike: Why men are boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, the American Dream- and Why It Matters.

     Ann Coulter type of titles seem to be all the rage these days in order to get you to read a book that will be one of the biggest waste of time, energy and money you are likely to spend this summer. The line you stand in to purchase the book will be more exciting.

     Dr. Smith has written a book that has a pro-man bent. Too bad that masculine tone is Al Bundy from Married with Children. Seemingly everyone writing books on the subject are the equal to Al’s neighbor Darcy, the Fem-Nazi with the whipped husband that is dragged along everywhere she goes which creating hilarious situational comedy between the two extremes.

T     he entire argument is that men get a bum rap for being men and are slowly being ostracized by society that wants them to be here to only serve woman and nothing more. Essentially, we’re in 1900’s part deux with men now being the second class citizens as opposed to woman and Dr. Smith is calling for the a version of Men’s Suffrage.

     The problem is, men are men. This means, they don’t want to speak out for fear of being less manly. Ironically, in order to get anything done, men must become more like woman. A feat that woman everywhere have been attempting for generations to no avail. Apparently the issue isn’t that men don’t want to talk but no one wants to listen to them and they must pay for the sins of the father, so to speak.

     So long as you’re male, you have no choice but to be in on Dr. Smith’s ride as she argues that men are dropping out of society, either consciously or subconsciously. Apparently that means that men cannot think for themselves and they are only shunning these things because society is mean.

     I would tend to agree that men do get hurt in society at the hands of feminist extremist. Equality, in the eyes of the law, is something to strive for, even if true equality is never achievable among people.

     This book is the wrong way to go about it, though. It is appealing to men and inciting them to stand up and fight. Oddly enough, doing as the book says pretty much would be going against what the book suggest by listening to what a woman tells you to do. That is part of the problem.

     Dr. Smith uses men’s personal testimony on why they do not want to engage in society and impresses it on the whole of men. It cites few examples of men going to extremes to make themselves heard, as well as the few oddball cases that are egregious errors of judgement on behalf of the judges overseeing the case.

     Yet these few examples do not allow you to look up statistics on suicide and infer that the amount of male suicide is based on society out casting them.

     The book decries shaming men as being stuck in a permanent state of adolescence and then offers shaming those men who are not on her side for daring to have a dissenting opinion. Using name calling is childish regardless of which side you are on.

     Dr. Smith suggests that there are just no incentives for men to man up and get married. This is clearly false. Marriage still offers all the same things it always has. The only difference is that men are upset about being held accountable for their actions. Oh no!

     Back in the day, marriage was never a very lucrative option for woman. Society demand marriage and those who weren’t married by a certain age were considered un-marriageable for the rest of their lives. Infidelity had a higher cost for woman. They could get pregnant and had to bear the child. Harder to cover up when your husband is gone for months at a time and when the math doesn’t check out that it could possibly be your husband, you could be shunned by society. Men, on the other hand, could cheat more readily and it would be a lot harder to prove. DNA test did not exist. Now with a level playing field, men cannot be men. So they sulk about it.

     It seems to me that Dr. Smith’s biggest problem with alimony and child support is that it is socialism and that doesn’t jibe with her Libertarian worldview.

     Dr. Smith suggests that schools are creating hostile environments for boys and have been for years. I think this is absurd. I grew up in the 90’s and school was never more hostile towards boys then it was for woman. The schools I went to often tried to be equal towards both boys and girls in treatment and books that would excite them. With a few exceptions, books where picked to appeal to both genders in school, to get young boys and girls excited about. I, on the other hand, would have nothing to do with being told I couldn’t read a book because it was more geared towards young girls, then boys. This allowed me to read some amazing books that I might not have gotten to, otherwise. Speak, Harriet the Spy and Matilda are just a few of them. One of the books assigned to young boys was The Red Badge of Courage. A book I detested reading because it conflicted with my view of masculinity.

     Dr. Smith’s idea of men seems to be that of a teenage girl’s fantasy. Men doing hard labor and glistening with sweat in the hot summer heat and a willingness to die for woman and country. Apparently if the men of yore could see today’s men attempting to save their own lives, they would be appalled.

     College could be seen as different story entirely though. Yes, I have noticed that a majority of my classmates in college are females. Nowhere have I encountered hostility based on my gender, though. Yes, we do put an emphasis on woman going to college rather than men. Why do men need the positive reinforcement of society?

     I would love to say this is the book that was needed to give men a heads up in today’s society but it isn’t. It is just a book that points out the obvious and tries to ignite a spark among men to rally. Books like this is what damages the causes of men by getting them smashing at their chest like apes and grunting. Men cannot afford any more bad press than is already out there.

     While the book does offer some valid points and something’s need to be reconsidered in society, Dr. Smith does a lousy job in helping men out.

* Out of *****

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