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Book Review: Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith

Book Review: Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith

A real eye-opener about the feminist cultural demonization and trivialization of men, and the consequences.

A few years ago, I rejected donating to a breast cancer charity in favor of one focused on prostate cancer.

I recognized that there was a vast disparity between the funding amounts and promotion levels for the two cancers — despite the nearly equal number of deaths from each of these illnesses. Knowing men would never organize to complain, I decided to “rebel against the matriarchy” for them.

Little did I realize I was engaging in “men’s rights” activism, as outlined in Dr. Helen Smith’s new book, Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters.

Men on Strike Cover

Long-time readers of Legal Insurrection recognize that when I write about “feminism”, my goal is to ensure women empower themselves by getting the full story on any matter and then making fully informed decisions. While I was aware the rate of marriage in this country was going down and the number of single-parent households was going up, I never connected it to men making their own set of informed decisions.

Therefore, Dr. Helen’s book was a real eye-opener.

As an unabashed capitalist, I recognize that rewarding desired behaviors and punishing unfavored ones is a successful strategy. The book clearly outlines how modern feminism demonizes men as “potential perverts”, punishes them with fiscally punitive court decisions in divorce and custody cases, and trivializes the needs of males in educational and college settings. The result is a decline in traditional and positive male behaviors.

In fact, Dr. Helen often references The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. I read the book shortly after having my son, and it inspires me to be pro-active in his education and ensure he has alpha-male role models.  It also influenced my incipient activism.

Dr. Helen (the wife of Professor Glenn Reynolds) uses much information gleaned from her Pajamas Media website.She offers the testimony from her comments section to discuss the reasons our men are opting out of college, marriage, and fatherhood. Part of the reason is that today’s society has empowered women’s sexuality while controlling men’s via the legal system (e.g., being sued for childcare for children not their own). One 23-year-old offered the following perspective:

“I think girls a long time ago, maybe forty or fifty years ago, were doing less cheating and were more trustworthy. Now girls are like guys used to be. I would say that eight out of ten girls are ‘sketchy’ and about six or seven guys out of ten are those girls can trust”.

Dr. Helen notes that middle management is now comprised predominately of women, and many of them favor women in hiring and promotions. Over 90% of the genetics counselors are women, who do not feel the need to inform male partners of the results of DNA tests. Women dominate in higher education at every degree level.

Society has evolved into a “girl’s club”.

What is the ultimate impact? Dr. Helen cites the Costa Concordia tragedy, which made it seem like chivalry is dead because men saved themselves as their boat sank.  Interestingly, at the time, I had an online discussion about “What Became of Real Men” with a paid expert on masculinity about the event.

Dr. Helen rightly points out that when you reward the “Uncle Tims” at the expense of the “White Knights”, and decry masculinity as evil, then self-serving behavior will be the result. She notes, “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

True, that.

I hope to keep up the battle for “men’s rights” in my own way: Inspiring women to make healthy choices and respect the wonderful differences of masculinity. Here is one of my many rewards — being surrounded by a group of dashing warriors, who treat me like a queen and make very special memories for my son.

Leslie Eastman with San Diego's Lanciari, costumes by Ovidia 550 AD

Leslie Eastman with San Diego’s Lanciari, costumes by Ovidia 550 AD


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BannedbytheGuardian | May 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Apples vs Apples .

Breast cancers & reproductive system cancers in women in their childbearing & nurturing years = testicular cancers in men + the aggressive prostrate cancers episodes in men under 55.

Testicular cancers has had tremendous success prior to breast cancer advances.

Oranges vs Oranges .

These would be breast cancer & prostrate cancers that are evident but not terminal I older men & women.

There are some new drugs that are very effective in extending the terminal stage in both breast & prostate cancers. They are expensive. Those nations that have NHS give a value on where the $$ are best spent & these are directed to the younger members male & female.

[…] Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection reviews Men on Strike: […]

BannedbytheGuardian | May 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Leslie – If you really valued maleness you would change your name to Lesley. It is pretty offensive to name a son Leslie & have some purdy little thing in drapes rolling up with the same spelling.

But the Leslies of the world have tolerated it. Even for you it is all take take take from the males . You can’t even let them,eep a name male.

Famous Lesley’s – Lesley Gore , Lesley Ann Warren .

    Traditionally male names have migrated into female names, but never the reverse. “Morgan” is another name.

    Walter Lord, in Midway mentions that one of the Devastator dive bomber squadrons was led by a Leslie. Those Naval Aviators were truly brave men.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Milwaukee. | May 29, 2013 at 1:07 am

      Except for a boy named Sue.

      But this giving girls boys names is an American thing . Most languages make a pretty definite distinction . However I did know a stubborn Croat who named his daughter Daniel but she added the le as soon as she could write. An Argentinian who insisted on keeping the e in Augustine rather than drop in on emigrating making him look effeminate.

      I am for letting boys have their own names. It is the least we can do in a difficult sexed up sexless world.

    My mom selected the name based on her admiration for the work of Leslie Caron — who is quite feminine. My dad, being the proto-hippie that he was, wanted to go with Quintana Roo.

    Still grateful that my mom one this battle. 😉

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Leslie Eastman. | May 28, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      In that case you can claim cultural x over confusion & or blame the French.

      Caron’s mother was an American dancer in Paris in the 1920s . Quite possibly she could not spell or her application to the French naming authorities was rejected & they demanded a French feminine ‘ie’. They wilfully excluded or tortured English names.

      Quinn is currently popular for girls. I had a male dog called (the mighty ) Quinn. My daughter wanted to call her son Quinn – not that there is one yet – bit now it is out. I would have approved it after that fine dog but not after girls got to it. 🙁

      To Milwaukee – Morgana is the traditional British girls name & currently Morgane is popular in France. Morgan is pretty blunt.

I was young when the feminism movement took the country by storm. Not having read the book I hesitate to comment here but I would like to add that there were many men who used it as an excuse to be less than ‘real’ men.

It might have shown itself as a simple snide remark when a woman stood aside to have a man open a door for her: ‘What’s the matter lady? Can’t you open it for yourself?’….or ‘I hear you’re all liberated now so don’t expect me to always be the one to take out the trash’….but as the years progressed a lot of men grew bolder and used the movement as an excuse to break up their families when they learned that getting a divorce was not, in the news at least, ‘shameful’ anymore.

While I understand that now there is a new form of feminism it’s my feeling that many of this newer generation were raised by not true feminists but rather women who became angry and frustrated when they experienced the loss of masculinity in their own lives so I’d say a lot of the blame goes both ways.

    J. W. in reply to Joy. | May 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    “but as the years progressed a lot of men grew bolder and used the movement as an excuse to break up their families when they learned that getting a divorce was not, in the news at least, ‘shameful’ anymore.”

    In contemporary America, wives are far more likely to initiate a divorce. They understand that they’re more likely to get the kids as well as a piece of the (former) husband’s pay check.

    Bull in reply to Joy. | May 29, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Indeed. Opening a door is a small act of valor. Men are also wired for respect, and what you’re describing is a bunch of women disrespecting men in the name of advancing themselves. Now they are looking for love from those same men, and aren’t finding it, so they blame (and disrespect) them more. And they still aren’t getting what they want.

Great review, Leslie. Thanks.

A fine review, but I would point out that your remark, “As an unabashed capitalist, I recognize that rewarding desired behaviors and punishing unfavored ones is a successful strategy.”, does not favor capitalism, but rather a system wherein determining what is a “desired” behavior and what is an “unfavored” behavior is accomplished by someone in authority. Hardly the kind of society which is likely to maintain anything resembling a capitalist society and one much like the one that got us into the mess we’re in now. We need a different outlook, one that doesn’t include someone rewarding or punishing behaviors – apart from criminal ones.

    Milwaukee in reply to Ike. | May 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    It seems liberals and progressives are more inclined to grab controls to control others. If a conservative doesn’t like guns, they don’t own one. If a liberal doesn’t like guns they don’t want you to own one. In the same way feminist push their agenda that men can’t. Women are being wonderfully progressive and enlightened, while men are being sexist pigs.

    I observed a few years ago that Catholic diocesan schools have this feminist bug. If a the leader of the dioceses schools was a man, about half of his underlings were men and the other half women. If a woman was in charge all or almost all of her underlings were women. The same seems to happen in public schools. Get a female superintendent and soon all or almost all of the ranking men disappear.

    In the Wisconsin town I once in habited there was both a YMCA, for men, and a YWCA for women. The women had trouble with finances and eventually closed. The YMCA opened their doors, offering co-ed programming. Now the only man on the board of directors is in charge of custodial work and routine maintenance.

About 20 years ago the feminist noticed there weren’t a lot of books about for children with female heroes. Perceiving the damage done to young women by not having female role models, they set out to write books with female main characters. The problem is that girls will read books with either a male or female protagonist, but most boys prefer to read books about boys. Girls already do better than boys at reading, so they produce new books that boys won’t want to read. War on boys.

MomInLatteland | May 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I have not read the book, but I will definitely buy it. As the mother of a 23 year old son who can’t see the value of marriage – based on his own perceptions that I would say fall into line with this premise – this topic is of keen interest to me. Where, he wonders, are the intelligent women of high moral character and a more conservative mindset, who value the same in a man?

    snopercod in reply to MomInLatteland. | May 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I always thought that traditional marriage (I’m embarrassed that I even have to qualify the term) was a natural division of labor between a man an a woman. Since the woman is biologically the one who carries, gives birth to, and nurtures the children, it makes sense for her to stay at home while the husband works to provide the material things the family needs. It follows that since the woman is the partner at home, she would naturally be the one to do the cleaning and cooking. Somehow the left has managed to twist this natural division of labor into something “demeaning” for women and just look at results. Today’s young women can’t cook, hate to clean, never learned how to sew, knit, or fix anything – they just want to be taken care of; They have nothing to offer a man except for free sex. The old saying “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is truer now than it ever was.

Henry Hawkins | May 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm

This article basically says that no matter where or what men are, they’re there because of how women, or society, or women in society, treat them.

“Dr. Helen rightly points out that when you reward the “Uncle Tims” at the expense of the “White Knights”, and decry masculinity as evil, then self-serving behavior will be the result. She notes, “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

It’s like they’re talking about raising cattle.

Men are what women make them! Who knew!

I love that this topic is hitting Legal Insurrection. It is at the heart of why I got into politics.

The truth is much uglier than any reader here fathoms. For the past decade I have been at the center of this movement in Washington State and I learned in about my second year how lost the battle really is- but I go on fighting it.

Go down the rabbit hole of false accusations of Domestic Violence… and you will see the horror you cannot imagine unless you or someone close to you has lived it.

I am thankful I only learned of this while lobbying for better custody laws for dads. The men I’ve worked with unfortunately have lived it and it has destroyed their lives.

The few brave ones get involved in hounding their state legislatures for better laws (shared parenting) and fight the DV industry and crooked judges at every turn.

The power the left wing groups have in this area is beyond anything I’ve seen anywhere in terms of control over government- often thick skulled GOP legislators get onboard too for lack of understanding.

The world is upside down. Good is bad and bad is good. Right is wrong and wrong is right.

Interesting review.

Henry Hawkins | May 29, 2013 at 10:51 am

When you see lines with conclusions like this:

“The book clearly outlines how modern feminism demonizes men as “potential perverts”, punishes them with fiscally punitive court decisions in divorce and custody cases, and trivializes the needs of males in educational and college settings. The result is a decline in traditional and positive male behaviors.”

… you are seeing a major cause & effect error – Demonization by some feminists on some men on some issues is extrapolated out and declared the cause of a decline in traditional and positive behaviors in all men, not just those specifically targeted with accusations and alimony.

Whenever you see this sort of reductionism and dubious cause & effect assertion, you are almost always looking at a pseudoscientific claim, one that even misses the immense import of its own premise, that the behaviors of half the US population are controlled by how feminists treat them. Other clues involve the use of anecdotal data (commenters on just one blog) and references to other books that support the premise while ignoring all sources which do not, aka the fields of sociology.

A feminist writes book declaring how powerful feminism is: Feminists = Pavlov, Men = Dogs. It’s a crock no matter who pitches it, and in this case another example of identity politics masquerading as quite something else. Whether one sees its effects as positive, negative, or some mix in between, modern feminism isn’t 1% as powerful as it thinks it is.

    Modern feminism is bigotry and there is no justification acceptable. At some point those who continually proclaim they have to discriminate to make up for past victimization are just practicing revenge. This is no different than the race baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, they’re bigots. If you want equality be equal, treat others as equal otherwise you are the problem.

    Dress it up anyway possible, the demand for preferences is a demand for special privilege or dispensation, all privilege comes at the expense of another’s rights of equal opportunity. This is where the equal outcome argument foisted by liberals falls flat, because to force an outcome is to give privilege to those who would normally fail at the expense of those who would normally succeed. The goal is supposed to be success not the guarantee of increasing failure.

    Voluble in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I think you have missed the point entirely Henry. People respond to incentives. The incentives in our society are wrong. They demonize men as potential child molesters so it is more difficult for men to get jobs in fields dealing with children or to advance in those fields. The laws penalize men in divorce so men avoid marriage. It really isn’t all that difficult to understand. If I put a big, mohunkin’ tax on cigars people will not smoke them so often and will migrate to other means of getting what they need. We have effectively put a social tax upon the manly virtues.

    Today the role of a man in a family has been supplanted by the state. If the state is the provider then what is a man? He is a sperm donor at most. Men didn’t just change for shits and giggles. They responded rationally to a new reality and opted out of marriage for instance. They also avoid college because who wants to be lied to and told they are responsible for all of societies ills and be cast as a demon just for being a male… and especially a white male? Colleges are VERY aggressive in making it known that you are not their kind and not part of the privileged class.

    I think where Helen may go a little wrong is in casting this so much as a men vs. women issue when it is really just another manifestation of leftism and statism. Leftist women are just as foolish and easily manipulated as their men are.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Voluble. | May 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Yours is a load of hogwash. You say as your basic premise that:

      “People respond to incentives. The incentives in our society are wrong.”

      And I’m saying the response to incentives among men is voluntary, not coerced, not automatic – we are not Pavlov’s dogs and we have free will. For every example one might hold up in favor of your premise, there exist a thousand others who do not. Data selection, confirmation bias – you believe this tripe because it fits what you believed before you read it and you extrapolate it out to everyone, thereby obviating the need for, oh, actual research and serious thought. It’s intellectual laziness, pop sociology intended not for the science lab, but for the paperback shelf and the TV interview couch.

      The overwhelming majority of people continue to make good, decent, self-motivated free choices and see right through 95% of what a few folks believe controls them.

Thank you for this article Leslie.

I am lucky in that I have married a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent conservative woman.

Prior to this, I had gone through a childless divorce. The experience taught me parenthood, for men, is punished. I had “escaped” destruction by not having kids.

The divorce was both our faults, but ultimately her decision, in which I had no say. Financially and emotionally it was a damaging experience, but if I had children, it would have ruined me. I would never have recovered to meet and marry my wonderful wife.

Culture and the courts have adopted a view of men in which we are seen as oppressors who impose our will upon helpless, victimized women through the barbaric institution of slavery, oops,… marriage. That is the real point here.

There is an another important point. I briefly dated in 2008 prior to meeting my wonderful wife. The women I met were atrocious. It cannot be overstated how rapidly womanhood is deteriorating. I would say most young women are, to put it kindly, misguided.

On the bright side for traditional women, you stand out like diamonds in the rough. Which made my decision simple upon meeting my wife. Fortunately, she said yes.