Saturday, 6 June 2009

For Women Only

I have read a new book. Okay I've read a lot of books lately, but I have read another one that has been very profound. "For Women Only", by Shaunti Feldhahn. There are only a handful of books I have read that have really struck me like this, so few I can actually list them here: "The Parenting Breakthrough", "Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology", "Homeschooling for Excellence", and now "For Women Only". There, that's the entire list.

"For Women Only" is a book based on a massive amount of surveys and data collected that addressed the ways men think. Shaunti researched extensively to figure out what the differences were between men and women, how it affected relationships and communication, and how to help women understand how their man's brain works.

It was eye-opening. And I'm not one of the typical girly-girls, all emotion and shopping and tears and chick flicks and romance. I mean, I'm typically woman in many ways, but I have a bit more of an understanding edge to me from my tomboyish beginnings. But this book deals with some core elements of what makes a man different from a woman, and even I fell into every female notion they presented. I guess it would be impractical to say every man and every woman can be categorized as they said, but because Shaunti's research looks at the hormonal and physiological and instinctual reasons behind men's actions, I would venture to say her book would apply to 95% of the population.

The book talks about a man's need for respect even more than love: when asked to choose between feeling "alone and unloved" or "inadequate and disrespected", 75% of men said they would rather feel alone and unloved. This ties to the idea of "I don't need to call a repairman" and "I don't need to ask for directions." The comments in the book really highlight just how important respect is for a man.

In the same vein, it also talks about the man's need to be provider. Need, not just want. Again, the questions and responses revealed what lay behind this urge, and how it manifests itself.

Well, I could go on and on. It talks about how 70% of men worry about being "found out", that they feel as though they aren't totally sure of what they're having to do. It talks about the emotional depth of sex. It talks about the visual nature of a man's mind. It talks about the taboo truths men wish they could express but know it's not socially acceptable.

Really, it's worth the read. It's not a big read, and keeps you turning the pages. You could finish it in a few hours. Actually, Shaunti's husband wrote a companion book called "For Men Only" - you get the idea. I have it, James is aware of it, but hasn't quite gotten to it yet. I actually peaked at a few chapters, and found myself nodding along, agreeing with everything it said. "That's exactly what it's like!" I found myself saying. And when Shaunti had men read her drafts of "For Women Only", she heard the same comment over and over again. Funny enough, that comment was generally followed by: "You mean, you women really didn't know that about us men?" And it's true. It's a completely different way of looking at the differences between the sexes, and I think a must-read for anyone looking to deepen their relationship.

1 comment:

Kevin H. said...

Well it's no wonder our little correspondence has fallen by the wayside: your productivity over here has increased threefold!

I have one reservation about this book (or your description of it, anyway): if the bulk of the research is done in question-answer form, how can we be sure that it reveals psychological and/or physiological "truths" instead of just socio-cultural conditioning?

Choosing between "alone-and-unloved" and "inadequate-and-disrespected" -- two very abstract "conditions" that may or may not have been literally experienced by a given subject -- seems to have less to do with our instincts, per se, than with our perceptions of what those words mean in our everyday social surroundings. And since the implications of each phrase (even on its own! -- let alone in combination!) are absolutely massive to begin with (just what does it mean to be "alone and unloved"? -- or, one assumes, "loved and not alone" while also "inadequate and not respected"? -- how do you measure that?), I'm just not sure a choice of one or the other can reveal much of anything except for our preconditioned attitudes toward the words themselves (i.e., our socio-cultural conditioning).

But maybe a few more details can convince me otherwise, if you've got the time and the inclination. :)