A First Glance
The weakneu of men is the facade of strength, the strength of women h the facade of
There are many ways in which a woman experiences a greater sense of powerlessness than her male counterpart: the fears of pregnancy, aging, rape, date rape, and being physically overpowered; less socialization to take a career that pays enough to support a husband and children; less exposure to team sports and its blend of competitiveness and cooperation that is so helpful to career preparation; greater parental pressure to marry and interrupt career for children without regard for her own wishes; not being part of an "old boys” network; having less freedom to walk into a bar without being bothered. . .
Fortunately, almost all industrialized nations have acknowledged these female experiences. Unfortunately, they have acknowledged only the female experiences – and concluded that women bai>e the problem, men are the problem. Men, though, have a different experience. A man who has seen his marriage become alimony payments, his home become his wife’s home, and his children become child-support payments for those who have been turned against him psychologically feels he is spending his life working for people who hate him. He feels desperate for someone to love but fears that another marriage might ultimately leave him with another mortgage payment, another set of children turned against him, and a deeper desperation. When he is called commitment-phobic he doesn’t feel understood. When a man tries to keep up with payments by working overtime and is told he is insensitive, or tries to handle the stress by drinking and is told he is a drunkard, he doesn’t feel powerful, but powerless. When he fears a cry for help will be met with “stop whining," or that a plea to be heard will be met with "yes, buts," he skips past attempting suicide as a cry for help, and just commits suicide. Thus men have remained the silent sex and increasingly become the suicide sex.
Since this chapter is only an overview, it will generate more of those "yes, buts” than any other. The rest of the book is about answering those "yes,
buLs." So this chapter is offered with the trust that you will go beyond it. This chapter is a case of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." But staying with the book until the end will leave us more balanced in our view of the sexes – not because this book is balanced, but because the book balances what we now know. Here goes. . .