Cover image for Stiffed : the betrayal of the American man
Title:
Stiffed : the betrayal of the American man
Author:
Faludi, Susan.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow and Co., [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
662 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780688122997
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

One of the most talked-about books of last year, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash now explores the collapse of traditional masculinity that has left men feeling betrayed. With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what''s making women miserable isn''t something they''re doing to themselves in the name of independence. It''s something our society is doing to women. The book was nothing less than a landmark. Now in Stiffed, the author turns her attention to the masculinity crisis plaguing our culture at the end of the ''90s, an era of massive layoffs, "Angry White Male" politics, and Million Man marches. As much as the culture wants to proclaim that men are made miserable--or brutal or violent or irresponsible--by their inner nature and their hormones, Faludi finds that even in the world they supposedly own and run, men are at the mercy of cultural forces that disfigure their lives and destroy their chance at happiness. As traditional masculinity continues to collapse, the once-valued male attributes of craft, loyalty, and social utility are no longer honored, much less rewarded. Faludi''s journey through the modern masculine landscape takes her into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. Stiffed brings us into the world of industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, militiamen, astronauts, and troubled "bad" boys--whose sense that they''ve lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and a secure future is only one symptom of a larger and historic betrayal.

With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what''s making women miserable isn''t something they''re doing to themselves in the name of independence. It''s something our society is doing to women. The book was nothing less than a landmark.

Now in Stiffed, the author turns her attention to the masculinity crisis plaguing our culture at the end of the ''90s, an era of massive layoffs, "Angry White Male" politics, and Million Man marches. As much as the culture wants to proclaim that men are made miserable--or brutal or violent or irresponsible--by their inner nature and their hormones, Faludi finds that even in the world they supposedly own and run, men are at the mercy of cultural forces that disfigure their lives and destroy their chance at happiness. As traditional masculinity continues to collapse, the once-valued male attributes of craft, loyalty, and social utility are no longer honored, much less rewarded.

Faludi''s journey through the modern masculine landscape takes her into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. Stiffed brings us into the world of industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, militiamen, astronauts, and troubled "bad" boys--whose sense that they''ve lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and a secure future is only one symptom of a larger and historic betrayal.With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what''s making women miserable isn''t something they''re doing to themselves in the name of independence. It''s something our society is doing to women. The book was nothing less than a landmark.

Now in Stiffed, the author turns her attention to the masculinity crisis plaguing our culture at the end of the ''90s, an era of massive layoffs, "Angry White Male" politics, and Million Man marches. As much as the culture wants to proclaim that men are made miserable--or brutal or violent or irresponsible--by their inner nature and their hormones, Faludi finds that even in the world they supposedly own and run, men are at the mercy of cultural forces that disfigure their lives and destroy their chance at happiness. As traditional masculinity continues to collapse, the once-valued male attributes of craft, loyalty, and social utility are no longer honored, much less rewarded.

Faludi''s journey through the modern masculine landscape takes her into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. Stiffed brings us into the world of industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, militiamen, astronauts, and troubled "bad" boys--whose sense that they''ve lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and a secure future is only one symptom of a larger and historic betrayal.


Author Notes

Susan Faludi is an American journalist and author, was born in 1959. She graduated from Harvard University. In 1991, she won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism. Her work can be read in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, and The Nation. She is the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women and the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America, and In the Darkroom, which won the 2016 Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

If proof were needed that a journalist's most important skill is listening, Faludi's new book would provide it. A good feminist, she began her research at meetings of a domestic-violence group, still assuming that "the male crisis in America was caused by something men were doing." But there, and in conversations with workers and sports fans, Promisekeepers and porn stars, combat veterans and ex-cons, movie stars and media executives, she heard a more complicated story. Postwar fathers and the media (Henry Luce's "American Century") promised young men a mission to manhood, but the "frontier, the enemy, the institutions of brotherhood, the women in need of protection--all the elements of the old formula for attaining manhood had vanished." Worse yet, "we have changed fundamentally from a society that produced a culture to a culture rooted in no real society at all. . . , sweeping away institutions in which men felt some sense of belonging and replacing them with visual spectacles that they can only watch." Loss of economic authority, devaluation of loyalty, their fathers' silence, and the elevation of the ornamental as the standard of personal worth lie at the heart of men's discontent, and men have not rebelled because no simple enemy is responsible. But that, for Faludi, offers hope: "Blaming a cabal of men has taken feminism about as far as it can go," she urges, so perhaps it's time for men and women together "to create a new paradigm for human progress that will open doors for both sexes." --Mary Carroll


Publisher's Weekly Review

While it offers nothing like the eloquent argument she made in Backlash, Faludi's examination of what she dubs the "masculinity crisis" does present a series of thoughtful interviews and fly-on-the wall journalistic excursions into the company of men. Faludi finds that American men are looking for metaphorical Viagra to cure an impotence beyond the literal kind. And sometimes, she argues, they are looking in the wrong places, becoming the proverbial "angry white males." Laid-off aerospace and naval shipyard workers, magazine editors and football fans, patriots and Promise Keepers are struggling to define manhood. Faludi aims wide in targeting the sources of the masculine malaise, citing everything from "the remote-control methods of a military-industrial economy" to "the feminization of an onrushing celebrity culture." Boomers and postboomers, deprived of the heroic status of their WWII veteran dads and having had their sense of virtue eroded by the chastisements of feminism, are trying to find "a route to manhood through the looking glass." As Faludi exhaustively documents the struggles of incredible shrinking men with the "post-cold-war restructuring of the economy," she suggests that the core of the problem is that men have lost "a useful role in public life, a way of earning a decent and reliable living, appreciation in the home, respectful treatment in the culture." Faludi concludes by exhorting men to stop thinking of masculinity as a quality detached from their humanity: "their task is not, in the end, to figure out how to be masculineÄrather, their masculinity lies in figuring out how to be human." This admonitionÄbe a mensch!Äis a sensible way to close a book that proceeds less by well-shaped argument than by the accumulation of anecdotes and Faludi's intelligent, interpretive forays into the lives of men. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In her much-anticipated second book, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Faludi follows her remarkable study of the cultural response to the women's movement in Backlash with a good hard look at American men. Long cast as perpetrators of patriarchy, men, Faludi argues, are actually suffering under the thumb of a cultural oppression similar to the one that inspired feminism's second wave. Victims of our "ornamental culture" that values (and rewards) style over substance, men are increasingly disaffected, emasculated, and frustrated. Through a number of compassionate, objective portraits of menÄfrom displaced workers in a shipyard to disappointed Promise Keepers to porn stars who struggle to get hard-ons, and moreÄFaludi traces the American male's fall from potent contributor to insecure narcissist. These portraits unite to present a frank picture of just how difficult it can be to be a man in America today. At the "bitter heart" of this crisis, she finds an overwhelming sense of paternal abandonment. Although her conclusion that men and women have an opportunity to move beyond an adversarial relationship to create change together won't surprise anyone who has considered the limits of the gender wars, it cannot be stressed enough. This important book is sure to spark dialog, and all libraries should have it on hand.ÄRebecca Miller, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Faludi uses her reporting and analytic skills to explore the problems of men and comes up with a revolutionary diagnosis. Stating that men's problems are not the product of biology or of such trumped-up enemies as feminism and affirmative action, but rather, they are a modern social tragedy, Faludi chronicles the struggles of a spectrum of men including industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, media executives, movie stars, porn actors, militiamen, and astronauts. All sense that they have lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and secure futures. By listening to men's stories in their own voices, by taking them on their own terms, Faludi uncovers a buried history--the untold story of how American society made a glittering set of promises to the men of the baby boom generation and broke every one of them. This betrayal of the American man has many fronts, from the boardroom to the football stadium, from the army recruitment center to the suburban living room. Faludi takes readers on a journey through a contemporary masculine landscape littered with broken promises and into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. All levels. M. Klatte; Eastern Kentucky University


Table of Contents

Part 1 Departures
1 The Son, the Moon, and the Stars: The Promise of Postwar Manhoodp. 3
Part 2 Utility Men
2 Nothing But Big Work: From Shipyards to Space, the Closing of the American Jobp. 51
3 Girls Have All the Power: What's Troubling Troubled Boysp. 102
4 A Good Dawg Will Always Remain Loyal: The Cleveland Browns Skip Townp. 153
5 Where am I in the Kingdom? A Christian Quest for Manhoodp. 224
Part 3 Evil Empires
6 Gone to Soldiers, Every One: The Vietnam War That No One Dodgedp. 291
7 The Creature in the Mirror: The Fantasy Cavalry to the Rescuep. 359
8 Burning Down the House: The Fire Last Time in Waco, Texasp. 407
Part 4 Hood Ornaments
9 Man in a Can: Moon Walkers, Ghetto Stars, and Cross-Dressers in a Gilded Agep. 451
10 Waiting for Wood: A Death on the New Frontierp. 530
Part 5 Destinations
11 Parting Shots: The Fighter Still Remainsp. 577
12 Rebels in the Kingdomp. 594
Acknowledgmentsp. 609
Notesp. 611
Indexp. 651