Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men

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Oxford University Press, Aug 12, 2010 - Social Science - 320 pages
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Have men really been engaged in a centuries-old conspiracy to exploit and oppress women? Have the essential differences between men and women really been erased? Have men now become unnecessary? Are they good for anything at all? In Is There Anything Good About Men?, Roy Baumeister offers provocative answers to these and many other questions about the current state of manhood in America. Baumeister argues that relations between men and women are now and have always been more cooperative than antagonistic, that men and women are different in basic ways, and that successful cultures capitalize on these differences to outperform rival cultures. Amongst our ancestors---as with many other species--only the alpha males were able to reproduce, leading them to take more risks and to exhibit more aggressive and protective behaviors than women, whose evolutionary strategies required a different set of behaviors. Whereas women favor and excel at one-to-one intimate relationships, men compete with one another and build larger organizations and social networks from which culture grows. But cultures in turn exploit men by insisting that their role is to achieve and produce, to provide for others, and if necessary to sacrifice themselves. Baumeister shows that while men have greatly benefited from the culture they have created, they have also suffered because of it. Men may dominate the upper echelons of business and politics, but far more men than women die in work-related accidents, are incarcerated, or are killed in battle--facts nearly always left out of current gender debates. Engagingly written, brilliantly argued, and based on evidence from a wide range of disciplines, Is There Anything Good About Men? offers a new and far more balanced view of gender relations.

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Sociologist Roy F. Baumeister just might convince ardent feminists with his fascinating, well-researched and deftly written book about the bum rap men receive simply for doing what their culture wants and needs them to do. Baumeister relies on research and his own theories to describe how men created the culture that sustains and advances society. He makes an intriguing argument, filled with examples that support his hypothesis, which might make it go down a little easier for women, particularly when they learn that men are expendable. Still, many women – and maybe some men – likely will bristle at his thesis that females have contributed little to creating culture through the ages. Baumeister boldly states his opinion without taking himself, and feminists, too seriously. getAbstract suggests this book to managers interested in understanding gender inequities and differences. Just be prepared for some fallout around the office if you start using this as your guidebook.
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Chapter 1 An Odd Unseasonal Question
Chapter 2 Are Women Better than Men or Vice Versa?
Chapter 3 Cant or Wont? Where the Real Differences Are Found
Chapter 4 The Most Underappreciated Fact About Men
Chapter 5 Are Women More Social?
Chapter 6 How Culture Works
The Roots of Inequality
Chapter 8 Expendable Beings Disposable Lives
Chapter 9 Earning Manhood and the Male Ego
Chapter 10 Exploiting Men Through Marriage and Sex
Chapter 11 What Else What Next?
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About the author (2010)

Roy F. Baumeister is the Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology and head of the social psychology graduate program at Florida State University. The Institute for Scientific Information lists him among the handful of most cited (most influential) psychologists in the world. He is the co-editor, with John Baer and James Kaufman, of Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will and The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life.

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