Book Review…. A Gender Handbook for Western Man
This book will polarise. No doubt.
You may read it and choke on your own anger at author Elder George’s points of view (as I did on occasion). Or you may agree with his strong, often radical views on why we in the Western World are imploding on ourselves. Our increased reliance on medications, depression ranking as the Western world’s number one illness and the sheer number of men locked in overcrowded prisons throughout America apparently have us hurtling towards our own imminent destruction. Whatever your thoughts on the world as we know it and our future this book will cause you to think, and certainly talk about what is happening in the world, OUR world, today.
Elder George states some astonishing facts. There are more divorces and absent fathers than ever before. We are a pill popping generation reliant on quick fixes, tablets, treatments, extreme diets, plastic surgery and regimes to keep us getting up in the morning and facing the world. Depression outranks any other disease in the Western world and particularly in women who are working harder than ever before and more often than not raising young on their own with the government, childcare centers and nannies as replacements for fathers, family and a nurturing, stable family environment for children.
These first few chapters I certainly bought into. Like many I have thought, why are we here? What’s it all about? Why is our social structure breaking down and ‘normal family dynamics fading and changing’?
These are questions that certainly need to be answered. What happens to all those babies born into broken and dysfunctional homes? What happens to our women who struggle to compete with men in the workplace? What happens to our men who seem to have lost their role in society? All questions that deserve a forum and deserve discussion. But, unfortunately the further I got into this book the further away I became from Elder George.
I am a woman in my mid thirties. I have been brought up in a very stable family home with a father, mother, brother and sister. Incessantly happy as a child I felt nothing but love, warmth and encouragement to go out into the world and become whatever I wanted to be. A wife, a mother, a CEO, a writer. Whatever my path was I knew they would support me. So imagine how hard it was for me to read statements such as ‘A woman is the car (feminine) and the Man (Masculine) is the driver. Without the driver the feminine car cannot move or go anywhere.
Or, my favorite two statements which were; ‘That women in business always fail’ and ‘That they should not vote.’ Yes, that’s right. Women should not vote. Take a deep breath ladies (and most men). I would like to point out that Elder George at the time of writing this book was 80 years old. I feel this is a really important fact as generationally Elder George and myself are decades apart. Different environment, different conditioning, completely different points of view.
There is no mention in this book about Gay partnerships and their role in family dynamics today. This is a wise move on Elder Georges part as I feel the very few valid points and worthwhile messages he does have in his book would be dismissed. But what of those families. Can a gay couple not love and nurture a baby?
Maybe this could be Elder Georges second book subject?
In summary this book was very very hard to read in places and certainly some of the essays listed in the second half of the book are extremely radical or wish to reverse time to the 1950’s when the women had only dreams of raising a family and caring for their husband when they came home after a hard days work. I think the message should be in today’s world that it is ok to be that housewife and mother with no shame in staying home to raise a family. I think if anything the game has changed so much, a woman is seen as less, particularly by other women if they choose not to reach for the heights of a professional career and to stay at home and raise a family.
Read this book. Not to enjoy necessarily, but to stimulate and spark heated discussion on both sides of the fence!