Years ago, my then-girlfriend urged me to read John Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. So I did. It was an interesting read. But it was really nothing I and any other red-blooded American male didn’t already know about the differences between men and women, and how the two – very differently-wired human sexual creatures – might better interact with one another. But it was in a neat little one-volume package that we males could refer to whenever we screwed up, which – according to our female counterparts – was and is often.
There have been a number of related-books written since – most of which are categorized in the self-help section of the local bookstore – but very few addressing the recent social and cultural degradation of all that used to be good and noble about being a man.
Fact is, for the past three-plus decades there has been a deliberate effort in some circles to make sure the proverbial wind has been taken out of the sails of manliness – I suppose in an attempt to create a more balanced playing field for women – but it has been done at the expense of manhood: Hence, strong, level-headed fatherly figures like Andy Griffith and Ward Cleaver, and far too many of our hard-riding cowboy heroes have been replaced with the likes of Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, and that bunch of milquetoast unmanly men on Friends (There are exceptions like 24’s Jack Bauer, but not without his multitudinous masculine flaws).
Enter author Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist who frequently champions both men and women, but never one-over-the-other because of gender. Parker appreciates the differences – subtle, obvious, and complimentary – between men and women; and her new book, Save the Males, explains “why men matter, and why women [and men] should care.”
As expected Parker has taken some heat from PC watchdogs whose backs have been bowed by Parker’s courage, cleverness, and the book’s ruthless honesty. After all, “Most men don’t know they need saving,” Parker writes. “Most women consider the idea absurd.”
According to Parker, men have been “screwed – and not in the way they prefer. For the past thirty years or so, males have been under siege by a culture that too often embraces the notion that men are to blame for all of life’s ills.” So in an attempt to create a more “female-friendly world,” a culture has emerged that is not only “hostile toward males,” she writes. But “contemptuous of masculinity, and cynical about the delightful differences that make men irresistible, especially when something goes bump in the night.”