Why Men Are the Way They Are
by Warren Farrell

Warren Farrell is a psychologist who specializes in the man vs. woman problem. Being a psychologist, he assumes that the source of the problem is social conditioning rather than brain and hormone differences between the sexes. Although he is wrong on this, he is very good at describing the problem. I have arranged the quotations into categories, which I think gives them more coherence. Farrell is a good writer, but he is not systematic enough.

The numbers are page references. If there is a page number but no quotation marks, then I am paraphrasing. If there is no page number and no quotation marks, and the letters are green, then these are my words.

What Men Want

The male primary fantasy is: Access to as many beautiful women as desired without risk of rejection. 20

"...the male approach tends to follow the old Irish saying: "Sex with love is the best thing possible. Sex without love is the second best thing possible." 250

"For example, 91 percent of American men do not feel love is necessary for good sex." 250

"There are no fairy tales of a princess on a white horse finding a male Sleeping Beauty and sweeping him off to a castle; no fairy tales glorifying a man who is not self-sufficient. When the going gets tough, he doesn't talk it through, he gets going." 299

"If he wants part of his primary fantasy (one beautiful woman), he must be at least a successful performer. If he wants his entire primary fantasy (access to many), it helps to be a hero." 22

"Why did he want a black Porsche? Because he never saw an ugly woman get out of one." 109

What Women Want

Women want what used to be called "devotion" and what is now called "commitment." And they want it from a man who is successful. Women do not complain about unsuccessful men who are afraid of commitment. They complain about men who committed their lives to becoming successful doctors or lawyers or Harvard M.B.A.s who are reluctant to give it all to a woman overnight. 156

Men have one criterion for wanting a woman: physical attraction. Women have up to 9 criteria. Most women look for attraction, respect, emotions, and intellect. Many women also require that a man be single and successful. And many women also require that the man must ask her out, he must pay, and he must risk rejection by initiating the first kiss. 13

"Not many a man ever expects an attractive and successful woman to whom he feels intellectually and emotionally connected to ask him out the first time, pay for him, and keep making advances until he responds. Many women expect these conditions, which are beyond the limits of men's fantasy lives... a woman's minimum requirements are greater than his wildest fantasy." 14

"The desire to be taken out and paid for is a childlike expectation." 271-272

Women would like men to be more sensitive--to enlist in the U.S Navel Gazers. 7

The Gap between the Fantasies

"Boys' primary fantasy--the exchange of physical intimacies--is free for both sexes. The female primary fantasy requires male payments--dinner out, an engagement ring, "better homes and gardens." 120

"A man experiences a dilemma when he finds that the most beautiful women have the least incentive to become well integrated in the other areas... So he is caught between giving up his first and only condition for sex (attractiveness) and getting the condition met at the price of sacrificing the other areas in the woman." 14

"...men, willing to start out by considering any woman who is attractive for a "one-night relationship," focus their binoculars initially on a much larger percentage of women..." 106

"...the more serious things get, the more likely he is to be the one to back off. He and she become selective at different points: she can be selective when he wants his primary fantasy--sex; he can be selective when she wants her primary fantasy--commitment." 107

"The gap between a woman's desire for the conditions she would like fulfilled--such as emotional connections--and the conditions she actually gets fulfilled is reflected in the compensatory mechanisms such as "women's magazines," romance novels, and soap operas, all of which hold out the fantasy of the integration of sex with the right conditions. The male gap is reflected in man's compensatory mechanisms like pornography and prostitution: pornography gives him attractive women vicariously for little money, prostitution directly for more money. Both help him avoid being rejected for not meeting the nine conditions." 14

"The number of women who read romance novels--25 million--is almost fifty times greater than the number of Ms. readers. Romance novel readers are the real women's movement." 58

Conflicting Messages Men Receive from Women

Women "want men to need them yet they feel neediness is unmanly." 358

"In the past two decades the aware man has consistently heard that monogamy is a male invention to control female sexuality and at the same time that men are the advocates of "smashing monogamy" as a way of exerting their male supremacy and emotionally abandoning women." 253

"I can remember in sixth grade, it took me all afternoon to work my hand from my side to around Joann's shoulder. By that time, my parents had come to pick me up. On my way out, Joann's dog rushed up to her and she gave it a big kiss." 125

Another message men get from women: "Take responsibility for turning nos into maybes and maybes into yeses. Discover afterwards whether you're right or a rapist." 128

"A woman is rarely motivated to be a doctor to minimize her rejection from men. Or to assure her of the money to support a man." 119

Do women really want men to open up and tell the truth? Suppose the truth is: "I would have preferred to ask Michelle out, but I was afraid of being rejected by her, so I asked you out." 347

By observing that girls throw themselves at rock stars, boys learn that, no matter what women may say about admiring gentleness, if he is a success he can get women, but if he develops gentleness but not success, he will probably be rejected. 65

"Alan Alda is not loved because he is sensitive, but because he's successful and sensitive." 137

"...84 percent of top male corporate executives are married to their first wives, compared to 53 percent for the total male population, even though the male executive is often emotionally cut off from his wife, his children, and his feelings." 136-137

In the experience of many military men, it is their rank rather than their personality that matters most to a woman. 137

The Evidence from Magazines

"If checkbook stubs reflect values, the traditional female values are the strongest. Romance novels comprise 40 percent of all paperback book sales. Six of the eleven top-selling magazines are traditional women's magazines (Better Homes and Gardens outsells Playboy and Penthouse combined). None of the eleven top-selling magazines are men's magazines. And none are the "new woman" or "working woman" variety of magazine. The more a magazine sells to women, the less it focuses on working." 21

Over 90 percent of the ads in women's magazines focus on glamour, fashion, and beauty. The articles are divided between glamour/beauty and men: how to get men, and what to do with them. Next to nothing on careers. 21

Magazines that focus on business are read almost exclusively by men. Forbes reports its readership is 95 percent male. 40

What women buy, which is accurately reflected in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Seventeen, has almost no overlap with the ads in men's magazines. 23

"There are more computers, financial services, and large office systems advertised in one issue of Esquire than in issues of all the top selling women's magazines combined--including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, and Ms. And if we substitute Forbes or Fortune for Esquire, the gap is even wider..." 23

"The gap between male and female realities can be seen by looking at other contrasts. There's Bride's Magazine; no Groom Magazine. No ad in Sports Illustrated touts a wedding as "The Most Important Day of Your Life," as Bride's does. In Fortune, Max Factor is an investment opportunity. In a woman's magazine it's a different type of investment opportunity." 23--24

The ads show beautiful women in beautiful surroundings. The implication is that if a woman is beautiful, she can be portrayed as having the wealthy surroundings without earning them herself. 32

Warren Farrell reviewed one issue of Self magazine (the best-selling female self-improvement magazine) and found that in the first 27 pages of full-page advertising, all 27 pages were devoted to female-beautifying products--not just beautiful women advertising other products. Only three men were pictured in these pages. Two of them were buying women something. None of the products in Self address the issue of women sharing responsibility for earning the income. The entire issue features no ads for computers, office equipment, or financial services. 33
"...advertising for beauty products and fashion occupy approximately 90% of the full-page ad space in at least a dozen of the best-selling women's magazines" 67

An article on flirting in Glamour magazine tells women, "You should think of flirting as you would a job interview." Of course. It is a job interview. 85

The only women's magazine that isn't dominated by beauty ads and that treats women as career-oriented adults is Savvy. And very few women buy it. It has a smaller circulation than Mother Earth News or Bassmaster magazine. 34

There is a Prince Charming and Cinderella quality to ads that deal with romance. "... his ads are for how to become successful enough to buy whatever she chooses; hers are to become beautiful enough to be able to make the choice of both the gift and the man to buy the gift." 36

When it comes to diamond rings--she decides, he pays. 30

The women who appear most frequently on the front covers of women's magazines are Princess Di, Jackie O, and, until her death, Princess Grace. Each married a prince or a president. "The fantasy is marrying in a minute what he earns in a lifetime." 38

"Men learn they cannot get love by exercising their inborn "magic power," or by spraying some on: they must earn love." 40

"Imagine Esquire printing an article, "I Lost 283 Pounds." Or The Wall Street Journal promising the ability to create fundamental personality changes--"Conquering Shyness"--no matter what the executive's age. Or Forbes telling men they can lose 10 pounds in 10 days without dieting. Or Fortune suggesting buzzwords as career readings. Such articles would not be subscription grabbers, but rather subscription stoppers." 57

Who Has Power?

Power is the ability to control one's own life. 9

"Powerlessness is returning with agent orange from a war that you were thought a fool or a murderer for fighting, having your government refuse to take responsibility for the agent orange contamination, passing it on to your daughter and looking at her deformed arm every day of her life, paying taxes to support the war, and then being told, "You make the rules."" 8

There can be no greater loss of power than loss of life. On average, women live 7.8 years longer than men. The gap has increased by almost 700% since 1920 when it was 1 year. 12

Jacque Foltyn "... measured square footage of department stores offering male versus female items in shopping malls and boutiques, on the assumption that if women's departments were not creating enough profit per square foot, they would be forced to give way to men's or general departments. Foltyn found seven times as much square footage was devoted to female personal items as to male personal items." 379

"A girl of thirteen sees male power, and thinks of it as her boyfriend's birthright. Her boyfriend sees male power and sees it as his birth obligation. In fact, it is not his birthright; it is his birth obligation." 359

"Cheerleading is the socially sanctioned female encouragement of male molestation. The message is that the molested survivor gets the female. It is organized practice for a girl to learn how she can get someone else to take life's risks--preparation for financial dependency." 118

"It is other men who have power, not him. He must compete to get power. A woman can then marry a survivor. Or get it herself." "Men make the rules to benefit men" means little to the eighteen-year-old boy who must register for the draft while his sister does not. (If registering for death is a benefit, he'd like to see the punishment.)" 360

"...only 13 percent of top male capitalists' wives work at all outside the home, the capitalist is also a male feeding a female." 106

"Almost all of America's one hundred wealthiest women made their personal fortunes on their husband's or father's death." 59

Women are 43 times more likely than men to take off from work for 6 months or longer for family reasons. 167

Often overlooked is "the difference between a woman's merely helping with the breadwinning--as opposed to her sharing lifetime responsibilities for earning a half million dollars per decade, no matter how unfulfilling it becomes." 168

"We could portray the woman as a slave master, assigning the role of tilling the field and earning the income to the man, who would then bring it back so she could spend it as she wished to run the plantation. In this version, like the slave or worker bee, the man brings his earnings to the queen bee. And like the worker bee, he dies off sooner in the process." 237

"Women are the only "minority" group to be born into the upper class as frequently as men. The only minority group whose "unpaid labor" enables them to buy fifty billion dollars' worth of cosmetics each year; whose members have time to read more romance novels and watch more television than men in every time category; whose members earn one-third what white men earn and outspend them for all personal items combined. Women are the only minority group to systematically grow up having a class of workers (called fathers) in the field working for them; they are the only minority group that is a majority." 237

"Rape is said to be an extension of male political power and economic power. If that is so, why do women report black men as rapists five times as often as they do white men? Do blacks suddenly have more political and economic power? Maybe rape does not derive from power, but rather from powerlessness." 259

"A man's consciousness of having to pay often makes him avoid the humanities in college and enter the higher-paying sciences; take hazardous construction, coal mining, or welding jobs, and the jobs in cold and isolated regions like Alaska." 124

Why Men and Women Cannot Live Happily Ever After

"It does not work to a man's advantage to have the primary fantasy of a variety of women and an ideal of marriage that excludes that fantasy. Nor does it work to his advantage that marriage fulfills a woman's primary fantasy and requires him to forfeit his. The fact that we create different fantasies for each sex and use marriage to fulfill one sex's fantasy but not the other's is the real double standard." 176

"Sow your wild oats," for a man, means "get your primary fantasy out of your system." 105

"So commitment often means that a woman achieves her primary fantasy, while a man gives his up." 153

"...male adaptation to jobs was also male adaptation to women (as in taking responsibility to provide 76 percent of the average family's income)." 364

"...his willingness to give up a lifetime's stimuli of beautiful women in every commercial to commit to sex with one woman exclusively, and less of it than he wants. This is perhaps the most unappreciated adaptation is all human behavior." 364

"The process it takes for men to earn their power is in conflict with getting in touch with their feelings." 108

"Just as watching football does not necessarily mean a man is good at it, so discussing relationship change does not necessarily mean a woman is good at it." 322

"...for many women security is the primary unfulfilled need, for most men it is intimacy or love since he expects himself to handle his security needs. This frees more men to commit for love only." 164

When a man asks a woman to marry him, it likely means that he loves her intensely. After all, he is offering to support her for the rest of her life. A woman, on the other hand can, and often does have other motives to get married--security and respectability. She also has the ability to fake her orgasms. When a marriage ends, the man cannot say with any credibility that he never loved her and that he was faking his orgasms. Women, however, often do say this, not only out of spite, but also because it may be true.
In group counseling sessions for men who are trying to recover from divorce, it is common to hear testimony like this: "Only when it was over did she tell me things she had hated about me all along--if I hated her half that much, I could never have lived with her." 183
Women have a motive to say spiteful things when going through a divorce. They want the man to feel bad so he will agree to pay more support money.
"Fay sensed that Greg loved her so deeply that his encouragement of her, no matter whether she chose to work part-time, full-time, or have children, would be backed up by his commitment to working however much she needed him to so she could choose among her options and either succeed or fail. Greg was like a nurturing parent who would provide the nurturance through which Fay could discover herself. But Fay paid a price--Greg wasn't available as much as she wanted for direct nurturance. So she thought of her women friends as being more nurturing than Greg because she did not appreciate the indirect nurturance she received from the "financial womb" he provided. She blamed Greg for it. Now they re divorced; Fay now provides her own financial support. Part of her now wishes she had understood the indirect nurturance provided by Greg's financial womb." 293

"A man's commitment to a woman can mean her shifting from working out of necessity to working for fulfillment, thereby postponing his ability to make the shift himself." 173

"If a career woman fails to get a promotion, she can turn to a woman friend or her husband for emotional support. A family man (someone whose career supports the family) can also turn to his wife, but his wife is the person second most devastated by his failure. So her support is almost always connected to pressure." 295

"He felt he was taking on more of the psychological responsibility of thinking about how to earn enough for the children's college education, the mortgage, and so on. Jia talked of working or not working. He did not. Since he could not articulate this, he just withdrew from certain parts of housework, waiting to be asked, acting as if he could do it or not do it. The way Jia did with work." 318

"...men have begun to tune into the likelihood that her income will decrease after marriage, her weight will increase, and eventually, devotion, intimacy, and sex will diminish. So why commit?" 154

Listening is easy when the person we're listening to is not complaining about us. 146

"The woman rehearses her complaints about him dozens of times in her mind's eye. By the time she verbalizes it directly she feels as if it's already been said. She feels that getting a man to talk is like pulling a thread on a sweater. She fears unraveling the whole thing for a small alteration. So her first attempt is often a "probing initiative"--slipping it in during an argument about something else. Since men tend to listen less than women to innuendos concerning relationship change, she feels hurt when he responds minimally or not at all." Frustrated, she airs her complaint with a woman friend. The tones of frustration, though, signal to her sensitive woman friend the need for support, nurturance, and empathy, which often come in the form of "You don't deserve that." (translation: "What's a beautiful person like you doing with an insensitive shit like that?") By the conversation's end, the woman is angry. Not just at the man, but at herself for staying with such an "insensitive" man." Back home, the man does not benefit from the energy his woman friend pours into retelling the story to other women friends. Especially if a woman friend wants her negative comments kept confidential. He has not absorbed the level of significance the change has for her. He experiences only her mood changes. Or her sexual withdrawal. And they confuse him. When she ultimately announces she's going to leave, he's astonished. Which reinforces her conviction that he's not only "in another world," but hopeless. She wonders why she didn't see this before." 324

The New Sexism

Because men and women are necessarily frustrated by each other, they harbor resentments toward each other. However, in our culture men are still too deferential, courteous, and protective of women to whine about them in public. Also, it is considered unmanly to whine. So we only hear the women's frustrations. This is the new sexism.
A man's sexual desires can be used to make him defensive in a world that treats sex as dirty. xxiii

Women cajole men to express their true feelings, but when we do, they call us sexist pigs. xxiv

Women enjoy talking about their feelings. When such hormone-induced yapping causes them to change their attitude toward relationships, they call it growth. And when they later change their minds again, they call that growth too. They make a virtue out of instability and emotional insecurity, and they hold it against men that we don't vacillate, and weep, and pratter about our feelings enough.
Two hundred males to one female are shown being killed on television or in the movies. This is popular entertainment. "We care more about the death of whales than the death of males." 362

"More empathy is directed toward widows who cannot find men than toward the men who have died." 12

"When women are at the height of their beauty power and exercise it, we call it marriage. When men are at the height of their success power and exercise it, we call it a midlife crisis." 105

"...a single woman who supports herself is called a career woman, while a single man who supports himself is called a playboy. He must pay for her play as well as his own--but he hasn't "grown up" until he pays for her life. Ironically, a woman who commits and becomes financially dependent is considered more mature than a man who does not commit but is financially independent." 157

"The career woman who also has full custody of her children, in a home her own earnings have built, and without child support or alimony, is the equivalent of a man in that position. We call her Superwoman. Interestingly, many men are now arguing for such a privilege of custody in a home their own earnings have built, without asking for child support or alimony. We do not call those men Supermen." 170

"In the past quarter century we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor." 196

More examples of the new sexism

"When women hold off from marrying men, we call it independence; when men hold off from marrying women, we call it fear of commitment." "A woman who supports a man for a lifetime is called crazy, while a man who supports a woman for a lifetime is called a breadwinner." "When men die at age nineteen in Lebanon, we call it power; when women live to the age of ninety in La Jolla, we call it powerlessness." "An unemployed mother is called a dedicated parent, and an unemployed father is called a bum." 235
In conclusion, I can see no way for a typical man and a typical woman to be completely happy together for long. Their ultimate fantasies are incompatible. One or the other, usually both, have to compromise and settle for a portion of their ultimate fantasy if they are to remain together as a couple for more than a few years.
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes--or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two--is gone.
Omar Khayyam

Quotations from Why Men Are the Way They Are

There can be no greater loss of power than loss of life. On average, women live 7.8 years longer than men. The gap has increased by almost 700% since 1920 when it was 1 year. 12

Jacque Foltyn "... measured square footage of department stores offering male versus female items in shopping malls and boutiques, on the assumption that if women's departments were not creating enough profit per square foot, they would be forced to give way to men's or general departments. Foltyn found seven times as much square footage was devoted to female personal items as to male personal items. 379

...only 13 percent of top male capitalists' wives work at all outside the home, the capitalist is also a male feeding a female. 106

Almost all of America's one hundred wealthiest women made their personal fortunes on their husband's or father's death. 59

Women are 43 times more likely than men to take off from work for 6 months or longer for family reasons. 167

Often overlooked is "the difference between a woman's merely helping with the breadwinning--as opposed to her sharing lifetime responsibilities for earning a half million dollars per decade, no matter how unfulfilling it becomes. 168

We could portray the woman as a slave master, assigning the role of tilling the field and earning the income to the man, who would then bring it back so she could spend it as she wished to run the plantation. In this version, like the slave or worker bee, the man brings his earnings to the queen bee. And like the worker bee, he dies off sooner in the process." 237

Women are the only "minority" group to be born into the upper class as frequently as men. The only minority group whose "unpaid labor" enables them to buy fifty billion dollars' worth of cosmetics each year; whose members have time to read more romance novels and watch more television than men in every time category; whose members earn one-third what white men earn and outspend them for all personal items combined. Women are the only minority group to systematically grow up having a class of workers (called fathers) in the field working for them; they are the only minority group that is a majority. 237

Rape is said to be an extension of male political power and economic power. If that is so, why do women report black men as rapists five times as often as they do white men? Do blacks suddenly have more political and economic power?` Maybe rape does not derive from power, but rather from powerlessness. 259

A man's consciousness of having to pay often makes him avoid the humanities in college and enter the higher-paying sciences; take hazardous construction, coal mining, or welding jobs, and the jobs in cold and isolated regions like Alaska. 124

...male adaptation to jobs was also male adaptation to women (as in taking responsibility to provide 76 percent of the average family's income). 364

A man's commitment to a woman can mean her shifting from working out of necessity to working for fulfillment, thereby postponing his ability to make the shift himself. 173

More empathy is directed toward widows who cannot find men than toward the men who have died. 12

When women are at the height of their beauty power and exercise it, we call it marriage. When men are at the height of their success power and exercise it, we call it a midlife crisis. 105

...a single woman who supports herself is called a career woman, while a single man who supports himself is called a playboy. He must pay for her play as well as his own--but he hasn't "grown up" until he pays for her life. Ironically, a woman who commits and becomes financially dependent is considered more mature than a man who does not commit but is financially independent. 157

The career woman who also has full custody of her children, in a home her own earnings have built, and without child support or alimony, is the equivalent of a man in that position. We call her Superwoman. Interestingly, many men are now arguing for such a privilege of custody in a home their own earnings have built, without asking for child support or alimony. We do not call those men Supermen. 170

In the past quarter century we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor. 196

Examples of the new sexism:

"When women use their power at age twenty it's called a wedding; when men use it at age forty it's called a mid-life crisis."

"When women hold off from marrying men, we call it independence; when men hold off from marrying women, we call it fear of commitment."

"A woman who supports a man for a lifetime is called crazy, while a man who supports a woman for a lifetime is called a breadwinner."

"When men die at age nineteen in Lebanon, we call it power; when women live to the age of ninety in La Jolla, we call it powerlessness."

"Why is it that we feel more sorry for widows than for their dead husbands?"

"An unemployed mother is called a dedicated parent, and an unemployed father is called a bum." 235

Year Read: 1992


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