Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream—and Why It Matters

Helen Smith, Author
Helen Smith. Encounter (Perseus, dist.), $23.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-59403-675-0
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When W.E.B. DuBois posed the question to black America—“How does it feel to be a problem?”—he probably never imagined that just a little more than a century later, someone would be asking the same of male America. But that’s precisely what Smith, a forensic psychologist and men’s-rights activist, wonders in this incendiary, if shaky, treatise on “the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century.” To explain why men are “going Galt” (as in John Galt, from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged), meaning intentionally opting out of institutions like marriage and higher education, Smith blames society: “Masculinity is frowned upon and belittled in every aspect of society,” the media depicts men as “goofballs and idiots” or sexual predators, and laws like Title IX and those governing child support equate to a “crackdown on... everyday college guys” and unwitting or wrongly fingered fathers. In the final pages, Smith outlines an action plan for men and their allies that includes further reading, legal advice, and information on organizations that fight for men’s rights. Some of Smith’s research is weak or anecdotal—she relies heavily on blog comments and random men she meets at bars and in the gym—but her stance is sure to incite lively debate. (June 18)
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