Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Manipulated Man Part 1


(This introduction in 1998)

Over twenty-five years have passed since the publication of my book “The Manipulated Man – a pamphlet written in great anger against the women’s movement’s worldwide monopoly of opinion. The determination with which those women portrayed us as victims of men only seemed humiliating but also unrealistic. If someone should wand to change the destiny of our sex – a wish I had than as I have today – then that someone should attempt to do so with more honesty. And possibly also with a little humor.

I would like to take the opportunity presented by the reissue of my book to answer two questions which I am asked again and again in this context.

People often ask me if I would write this book again. Well, I find it right and proper to have done so. But seen from today’s perspective my courage in those days may only be attributable to a lack of imagination. Despite all I wrote, I could not really imagine the power I was up against. It only seemed that one is only allowed to criticize women on the quiet – especially as a woman – and could only expect agreement behind closed doors. As we women have, thanks to our relatively stress-free life, a higher life expectancy than men and consequently make up the majority of voters in Western industrial nations, no politician could afford to offend us. And the media is not interested in discussing the issues involved either. Their products are financed through the advertising of consumer goods, and should we women decide to stop reading certain newspaper or magazine as its editorial policy displeases us, then the advertisements targeted at us will also disappear. After all, it is well established that women make the majority of purchasing decisions.

However, I had also underestimated men’s fear of reevaluating their position. Yet the more sovereignty they are losing in their professional lives – the more automatic their work, the more controlled by computers they became, the more that increasing unemployment forces them to adopt obsequious behavior toward customers and superiors – then the more they have to be afraid of a recognition of their predicament. And the more essential it becomes to maintain their illusion that it is not they who are the slaves, but those on whose behalf they subject themselves to such an existence.

As absurd as it may sound, today’s men need feminists much more than their wives do. Feminists are the last ones who still describe men the way they like to see themselves: as egocentric, power-obsessed, ruthless and without inhibitions when it comes to satisfying their animalistic instincts. Therefore the most aggressive Women’s Libbers find themselves in the strange predicament of doing more to maintain status quo than anyone else. Without their arrogant accusations, the macho men would no longer exist, except perhaps in the movies. If the press didn’t stylize men as rapacious wolves, the actual sacrificial lambs of this “men’s society”, men themselves, would no longer flock to the factories so obediently.

So I hadn’t imagined broadly enough the isolation I would find myself in after writing this book. Nor had I envisaged the consequences which it would have for my subsequent writing and even for my private life – violent threats have not ceased to this date. A woman who defended the arch-enemy – who didn’t equate domestic life with solitary confinement and who described the company of young children as a pleasure, not a burden – necessarily had to become a “misogynist”, even a “reactionary” and determined once and for all that someone who did not want to take part in the canonization of her own sex is also opposed to equal wages and equal opportunities?

In other words, if I had known then what I know today, I probably wouldn’t have written this book. And that is precisely the reason why I am so glad to have written it. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the handful of people who have stood up for me and my work. Typically, most of them were women.