A message to women.. . mostly
The challenge to women will be to be as open to the man’s experience of powerlessness as you would to the woman’s – to care as much about a man who joins the army for money as about a woman who has sex for money. Men will compound that challenge because they have not had a lifetime of practice in knowing how or when to express those feelings to you. So when they read a book that makes them sun wanting to create changes, they might express themselves in an angry tone of voice or choose the wrong time. The trick is in knowing that even if the anger is directed panly at you, if it is heard and acknowledged (rather than argued with and discounted with ‘‘yes, buts") he will quickly see you as his ally rather than his enemy. When he knows he has a safe environment for his feelings, his anger toward you will be short-lived and his love for you will be deepened.
Women tell me these new perspectives on men help them soften their attitudes toward men if they keep reminding themselves, "This is bis perspective – not necessarily mine… 1 have to think of myself as reading about a foreign culture." Almost everything in this book has passed the “rings true" test with men, despite the statistics, the book reflects men’s feelings. The dau are there only to help you know he’s not crazy.
The professional woman – or a powerful woman – often has the most difficulty understanding male powerlessness. Why? The powerful woman tends to connect with a powerful man. (The less powerful man – like the garbageman – is invisible to her.) And what she sees of the powerful man is deceptive: the powerful man is best at repressing his fears.
The professional woman is more likely to know the name of her secretary than of her garbageman. And therefore more likely to know how her secretary experiences men than how her garbageman experiences women. Because a less powerful woman tends to work in the office and a less powerful man tends to work outside the office (e g., in hazardous jobs), she is more conscious of the dilemmas of the less powerful woman around whom she works.
The powerful woman doesn’t feel the effect of her secretary’s miniskirt power, cleavage power, and flirtation power. Men do. The powerful woman tends to use these forms of power much more cautiously in the workplace because she has other forms of power.
Taken together, all of this blinds the professional woman to the powerlessness of the great majority’ of men – who are not at the tip of the pyramid but at its base. And without the sexual power of many of the females at its base.
Some women, when they’ get a glimpse of the degree to which they have misjudged men, feel a bit overwhelmed, as in "What can I do?" Fortunately, most of the solution is fairly simple. Most men want little more than to feel appreciated and understood – from the male perspective (not the Cosmopolitan or Glamour version of the male perspective). So just allow time for him to reveal his version of himself by providing a safe environment (not withdrawing) even when those feelings involve criticism of you. 1 have never had a man come up to me and say, "1 want a divorce; my partner understands me "
1 have repeatedly heard from women that when they are, for example, at a party and they share these perspectives with men, they soon find themselves surrounded by men who are pouring out their feelings to them! Thus they begin to see men in a new way. It is at that point the woman begins really loving men. Prior to that, she was loving an image of men. (Or maybe not loving men.) It was not her fault she loved only that image – that was all he showed; it was not his fault he showed that image – that was what he thought she would love.
The more a man is deprived of expressing feelings, the more he feels loved when he finally does feel heard. The woman who experiences this new view of men becomes special, in part, exactly because so few women do.