The Guy’s Guide To Feminism

October 13, 2011 Michael Kaufman

What do the Pope, Republican Rick Perry, and Attila the Hun have in common?   It appears they’ve all written rave reviews for my new book The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

Co-written with Michael Kimmel, it’ll be in bookstores across Canada and the US by early November.

It’s an A-Z book, at times serious but full of far-fetched stories, interviews (well, sort of), recipes, riddles, and more.  In spite of the humor of many entries, we think it makes a serious contribution to issues that have been challenging we men for years.

Gloria Steinem writes:  “From sexist ads to honor killings, there are seventy-plus feminist issues explained in The Guy’s Guide to Feminism–a relevant, inclusive, funny, and straight-to-the-point explanation of how and why feminism improves life for the male half the the world, too.”

Hope you’ll check out the book website for reviews (and the find out what the Pope, Mr. Perry, and Mr. Hun had to say about it), to get easy links for ordering, and to read a weekly excerpt.

To get you started, here’s  the excerpt of the week.  There’ll be a new excerpt each week for the next few months.


A minister, a rabbi, and an imam were having coffee.

The imam said, “This sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.”

The minister said, “We’re all the children of Abraham.”

The rabbi said, “Yes, but which of his wives?”

The imam said, “Is that why feminists are so angry?”

The minister said, “What do you mean?”

The imam said, “They’re angry at us for several millennia of bad things that men have done.”

The minister said, “I like to tell my flock that women aren’t angry.  They’re just insistent.”

The rabbi said, “What’s so wrong about a little anger?  Imagine the world from their perspective.”

At that moment another friend, a Buddhist monk, arrived.  They told him what they were talking about.  The monk said, “See the world from women’s perspective?  Well, let me start:  How would you feel if every time you went out on a date, you worry you could join the one in four women who’d been sexually assaulted?”

The rabbi said, “Or what if there were people who wanted to make it illegal for you to have control over your own reproductive system?”

The imam said, “Or if you earned less for doing the same work as a man?”

The minister said, “If half the human race felt it was entitled to stare at your body or make comments about your breasts.

“And then, if you get angry, they accuse you of being a lesbian—”

“—as if that were a crime —”

“—or say how pretty you are when you’re angry.”

The four men thought about this for a moment.

“And it gets worse,” said the minister.  “Imagine that you start speaking out against these daily injustices and people start telling you to lighten up.  Stop taking things so seriously.  It’s only a joke.”

The rabbi said, “I wouldn’t just be angry.  I’d go ballistic.”

It was Friday, and the imam soon went off to Friday prayers.  “Anger,” he said to the worshippers, “is a rational response to injustice.  Anger can be a healthy emotion to feel, an expression that something is wrong.”

The next morning at Sabbath services, the rabbi said, “Anger can be a motivating force, an impulse to get up off your hiney and do something, to at least say this inequality is not okay.”

That afternoon, the monk said to those he had meditated with, “The problem isn’t anger, it’s finding appropriate ways to express it.  Perhaps only by expressing it, can we ever let it go.”

The next morning in his sermon, the minister told his congregants, “Anger can also be coupled with a desire to change things.  It can carry a belief that things can change for the better.  Resigned despair is what happens when you don’t think you can change things.  Anger can mean hope.”

On Monday, the four men got together again for coffee.  They were joined by another friend, a Hindu priest.

The priest said, “But you’re not saying that anger is the main thing that these feminists feel.”

Now, this coffee shop had a waiter who’d been serving perfect cups of coffee for years.  He’d heard the men talking the previous week and now heard this exchange.  He’d often had this very discussion about women’s anger with his girlfriend, so when the priest asked whether anger was the main thing feminists felt, he didn’t hesitate to jump in.

“Excuse me,” he said, “But when a woman feels angry, perhaps she is most angry that she has to feel anything but love and trust and how it feels to be an equal in the world.”

The minister, rabbi, imam, monk, and priest nodded sagely to each other.

And that is no joke.

7 Comments on “The Guy’s Guide To Feminism

  1. No, not necessarily. While I ablsoutely believe in equality between the sexes, I also personally have a strong leaning towards traditional gender roles, especially in the home. I have always felt very strongly that I have just as much entitlement to my preference without having someone interfere with it as they do to theirs. I have felt, tho, irritation at some discussions I have seen in the past basically stating the view that unless you tow a certain ‘feminist’ line, then you’re not really for equality between the sexes. I say poppycock to that! True equality is the ability to CHOOSE whether you want to live in a traditional gender role or not, rather than have it forced on you by means of economic oppression and dependence on a man for livelihood as in times past. If someone, even a ‘feminist’, tells me I must be a certain way to fit into what they consider ‘equal’, then we have yet someone else telling others what they MUST do instead of letting them decide what makes them happy as an individual and going for it.sarah

  2. The wage gap is fact, not fiction. Jobs primarily performed by men are generally better paid, and men are promoted to management positions more often than women. In our current economy, however, men have been more subject to layoffs than women precisely because they ARE paid more. The knife is sharpened on both sides, but women have been cut by it more often in the past and it will take while for the effects of that to fade.

  3. Bruce, Pvblivs: you’ll find more information on the analysis of pay difference at the Fawcett Society’s webpage (unless you refuse to because it’s a “Feminist” site). Similarly, you can find an introduction to the many issues of violence that women face at the excellent Reuter Foundations “Trustlaw Women” page.
    Guys (I trust you’re both men?), woman don’t ask to be raped or abused; most reports of abuse are not lies (why would they be when we can expect a public drubbing whenever we do) and many of us don’t speak up about the things that have happened to us, largely because within seconds there’s comments like yours proclaiming that “actually” we’re all lying b****es who deserve it all. I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt at the hands of women or if you blame a woman for not keeping you safe from a man’s violence in the past but you need to address those issues and step back to view the landscape in which all of that was possible. In peace.

  4. The wage gap is fictional. Seriously, the corporate “lords” do not see working class people as people at all, but only as tools to be used and discarded. They would jump at the chance of cheap labor if the wage gap really existed. They do jum at the chance of cheap labor overseas.

    I agree with Bruce. This is fiction. But then, the claims of feminism are (mostly) fictitious. The true goals of feminism are demonstrated by the fact that JD (above) criticized Bruce for daring to speak when he isn’t a woman.

  5. Women initiate dating violence at equal or higher rates than men. Fact.
    Women have more control over reproduction than men. Fact.
    Women earn equal pay with men. Fact.

    So basically, Mr. Kaufman, you’ve written a book of fiction?

    1. Since when are you a woman, Bruce? I am and it’s no fiction; he’s got it right. I have never been paid equally nor had equal opportunities. I HAVE raised three children and am caring for my aged mother, all unwaged. I have been poor most of my life because I chose to care for family rather than pursue an outside career, though for 12 years I did that too.

      You could say I’m angry — that society has refused to compensate women who carry a lot of the burden of family — and that I haven’t been able to find a partner who supports feminism. But I’m also happy when I find any male who seems to understand some of what a woman’s life is like because it means that I can have hope for the future.

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