Book Review: Sons of Feminism

The unifying feature of nearly all writing about feminism by its proponents is the wall-to-wall consensus that it has been nothing but a complete and unalloyed good for society. The unabashed celebration of feminism's triumphs can reach absurd heights, perhaps spiced with the occasional "admission" that feminism still has a long way to go before its lofty goals are even close to being halfway realized. The utopian promises of earlier religions and ideologies rightly elicit our skepticism and mockery today, but the utopian promises of feminism? Aha! Now THAT promise is genuine! At long last, finally, we have a utopian ideology which isn't phony. Feminism is the first one in history. That is why feminism's splendidness and infallibility requires our complete unquestioning credulity no matter how long it may take for the promised utopia to surely appear.

Although feminists love to grandly proclaim that "feminism helps men too," they never bother to actually confirm the veracity of such a trivial side point. Indeed, feminists are content to never check, not unlike the snake-oil purveyor who declares success before quickly packing up and heading to the next town before any gypped customers start gathering with pitchforks. As such, "Sons of Feminism" is a truly unique book, for it bothers to actually examine the experiences of men within a feminized system. A revolutionary idea, no? To let men say what they will without someone trying to correct or upbraid the stupid meatheaded brutes?

Listening to men talk about feminism's effects upon their lives is a painstakingly ignored subject, unless they're offering some dubiously-valued praise or endorsement. But, really now: What negative effects has a half-century or more of feminism had upon men? At long last, some men speak about their own lives, and "Sons of Feminism," edited by the fearless Dr. Janice Fiamengo, unflinchingly takes this question head-on with a level of compassion and open-mindedness which deserves some awe.

This book showcases a highly useful and poignant collection of individual tales at the point where the rubber of ideology hits the road of reality. As the stories make plain, both rubber and road throw off a lot of black smoke and bad smells before very long. "Sons of Feminism" is organized into three sections according to theme: personal stories, men relating to women, and working in feminist institutions. Where the airy theories meet real life is where we find the personal tales, the facts on the ground, and the weird contortions that humans can be forced into in order to survive and make do. It is a diverse lot of men who contribute; some of these personal stories are cringe-inducing. Others are heart-rending. A few feel a bit zany at times. Many make you wonder what kind of Kafkaesque madness it is that we've been dragged into.

One fascinating vignette for me was a testimony about the influence of feminist activism within the field of astronomy. I knew little to nothing about the life of a professional astronomer, much less the detrimental effects of activist colleagues who wish to shove their variant of gender-rightthink down everybody's throats, but it proved an illuminating tale. Another gripping chapter was about one man's work with a state-level commission for men's health. It felt like watching a CSI detective slowly piecing together what happened in the blood-stained alley the night before.

Finally, there is a pernicious, subtle secret whispering in the background of most of these stories that ought to be uncovered. This book focuses on men as its subject, but careful reading reveals another unacknowledged truth: Hurting men hurts the women who depend upon those men. Just as we are reminded that men depend upon the well-being of the women around them, the same is true in reverse. Women are linked to the well-being of the men in their lives through the ties of community, family and interdependence that all social humans possess.

For those interested in calculating the true price society has paid for inflicting feminist ideological iconclasm onto boys and men who never asked for it, "Sons of Feminism" is a worthy, straight-talking and remarkable read. It can be purchased here.

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"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience." -- Catherine Comins, former Vassar College Assistant Dean of Student Life

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