You may remember the embarrassing spectacle a couple of months back when Warren Farrell asked the readers of A Voice for Men to help him pick out a cover picture for a new ebook version of The Myth of Male Power, the 21-year-old crackpot bestseller that more or less provided the, er, intellectual foundation for today’s Men’s Rights movement.
It wasn’t just embarrassing because AVFM is a noxious hate site that regularly calls women c*nts and whores and helps to organize informal campaigns of harassment directed at individual women. It was also embarrassing because all three of the pictures were sexualized images focusing on specific female body parts. You can guess which three, and you’d be right: tits, ass, and vagina (the latter tastefully covered in a merkin made of moss).
Well, Farrell ended up rejecting all of these images in favor of … a different picture of a woman’s butt. Yep, the screenshot above features the actual cover of the recently released ebook version of The Myth of Male Power. (You can see it in its full sized-glory over on Amazon.)
The implicit message of the cover couldn’t be clearer: men may seem to run the world, but women can control and exploit them through the power of their sexuality. Male power is undercut by … butt power.
Am I reading too much into a cover image? Farrell doesn’t really believe this nonsense, does he?
Well, in the introduction to the ebook, Farrell writes:
In case you’re wondering, “genetic celebrity” is Farrell’s term of art for any attractive woman.
But golly, you say, the fact that a dude feels “powerless” because he can’t have sex with every woman with a nice butt that happens to wander across his field of vision doesn’t actually mean that men are powerless or that male power is a myth. Well, Farrell has an answer to this as well. And by “answer” I mean, well, whatever this is:
Got that? I’m not sure there’s anything there to get; it’s nothing more than hand-waving to distract attention from the nonsensical nature of his previous statements. In case any Men’s Rights activist ever brings Warren Farrell up as an example of a respectable, “academic” MRA, you may wish to point out that almost nothing Farrell writes ever actually makes any fucking sense.
In the book itself, Farrell repeatedly suggested that male power can be undone almost completely by the sexual power of women. In one oft-quoted passage, he wrote about the effect that a “secretary’s miniskirt power, cleavage power and flirtation power” allegedly has on their male bosses. (Myth of Male Power, p. 21)
While that statement has earned a certain notoriety for its sheer ridiculousness, Farrell went further elsewhere in the book, essentially arguing that men are as addicted to female “beauty” as drug addicts are to the drug of their choice — and as helpless.
“Sexually, of course, the sexes aren’t equal,” Farrell wrote. “[M]any men feel ‘under the influence the moment they see a beautiful woman.” (p. 320, emphasis in original.)
This sort of temporary “intoxication,” Farrell argued, leads men into shackling themselves to these temporarily sexy tyrants for the rest of their lives — thus agreeing to support them (he suggested implicitly) even after they get old and ugly. (p. 85.)
In Farrell’s original book, this “argument,” such as it is, was merely one of many that he thought undercut the alleged “myth of male power.” Now, with the butt on the cover, he’s put it front and center. Or, more precisely, rear and center.
Warren Farrell, you’re an ass, man.
Oh, awkward segue here, I just wanted to show off the cover to the new edition of my classic book, The Myth of Human Power.
It will soon be available for one million dollars in cash in unmarked bills, upon delivery of which I will sit down and write it for you. It will probably be pretty short and not very convincing.
Hey fellas! While we’re talking about the evils of the Friend Zone and possible legal sanctions against the women who so often and so maliciously put us there — and while the women are distracted by that picture of Scrooge McDuck above — I’d like to warn you of another kind of Friend Zone you need to be wary of: the “Repair Friend” Zone.
Men’s Rights elder Warren Farrell is fond of mentioning his academic past — he has taught at a number of colleges — and is not exactly shy about mentioning his Ph.D. (Check the covers of his books if you don’t believe me.) But the books he’s written are for the most part polemical “pop psychology” and “pop sociology” rather than academic works, and most don’t meet academic standards by a long shot.
How far they fall short of academic standards I didn’t fully realize until I started investigating a suspicious footnote in The Myth of Male Power.
MRA founding father Warren Farrell responds to questions about his incest research with evasive non-answers. And a smiley.
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And now back to our regularly scheduled post:
Warren Farrell, whose 1993 book The Myth of Male Power essentially set the agenda for the Men’s Rights movement we know (and don’t love) today, did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit yesterday.
Most of the questions he chose to answer were pretty much softballs, and his answers largely reiterated things he’s said before many times. But he was also asked some pointed questions about his views on incest which he chose to answer. Well, sort of. Instead of clearing up the issue, he dug his hole a little deeper.
[TRIGGER WARNING for incest/child abuse apologia.]