Does the fact that this book is written by a woman influence your reading of the text?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think reading Faludi's text is strongly impacted with the understanding that a woman is writing it.  Much of her elemental ideas regarding the changing social dynamic of men and the changing dynamic within men about society makes a great deal of logic when understanding that a woman is writing it.  Faludi's work seeks to articulate the condition of men as having been drastically changed, almost without warning.  When she opens with the structured allegorical world of the 1950's, when the post Cold War vision of masculinity was firmly embedded in the social order, and there was a great deal of support of men and male roles in society, the transformation in the next forty years was almost as revolutionary as women's status in society.  However, the primary difference was that the struggle for women's rights, and for that matter, people of color as well as gay/ lesbian/ transgendered individuals, was an articulated struggles that individuals were able to vocally integrate into the social order.  Faludi's sympathetic study reveals that the male role in this order changed, without articulation, almost in a silent and stealthily manner.  In reading this, one  has a great deal of empathy for these men who have been changed on many levels due to society, culture, economics, as well as through their own personal levels of world and interaction.  These men did not recognize the change, but it was silently dictated to them, causing a great deal of confusion between the collision between the articulated view of the 1950s and the modern setting.

This is where hearing this narrative from a woman's point of view is relevant.  If this were in a man's voice, it would come across as self serving, at its worst.  At its best, it would be representative of the cultural emasculation that Faludi indicates has happened.  It would also come across as a form of self hate or even pity.  Yet, with a woman's voice, and in particular Faludi's, we begin to understand men as an voice that has been silenced by the discourse's ongoing crisis of representation.  It also makes sense that a woman, who endured change and alteration of the social fabric, can help men to articulate their own sense of voice and hopeful empowerment, resulting in greater dialogue.

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