Cracking The Armour

Power, Pain and the Lives of Men

by Michael Kaufman

 

 

When I read this book, I knew I had to share it with feminists -- and wished I could have shared it with my husband, Ron. Insights within Kaufman's chapters would have helped Ron cope with his feelings of inadequacy and guilt that existed of which I was not totally aware.

While I worked, he cooked, cleaned, washed, repaired, and cared for our two youngest sons. He was slighted when found out for taking it easy, not being a man. Back in the seventies he had no clue that he was not alone in his pain and insecurity.

Embracing early feminism, he recognized that men's assumptions, about power and identity that are
based on the invention of patriarchy two thousand years ago,
were sadly in error.

 
     
 

In CRACKING THE ARMOUR, Kaufman points out that children at a very young age soak up norms, values, and assumptions of our patriarchal culture.

Boys catch on pretty soon that men have the power. In control are the policemen, doctors, school principals, sports heroes, cowboys, priests, and even God.

 
     
 

In an adult world those boys feel betrayed because others do not hand over what they believed to be their rightful power simply because they are grown up men.

The way society has defined male superiority over several thousand years certainly brought power and privilege to men but in the competition of the real world unfulfilled expectations result in hatred of other men as well as self-hate and insecurity.

 
     
 
Masculinity is not in our genes
It is in our imaginations
 
     
 

Although not in control of daily affairs, boys are encouraged to dream and wait. Because of taunts like: eat your broccoli so you can get big and strong like Superman, boys look upon adult power as strength.

And physical strength in a man frustrated with his own unfulfilled desires becomes the driving force behind physical abuse.

Frustrated men pick fights, rape, beat children and wives. Sometimes frustrated fathers encourage sons into the military hoping the experience will make them into "real men".

 
     
  Muscles are appreciated in men but the sensuality of the male body is not usually appreciated by heterosexual men or by our culture. Therefore, many men are unable to explore the full range of the desire and sensuality that can flow from every crevice of their bodies.  
     
  Kaufman points out that friendships between men and women carry many of the same dynamics and power relations as sexual relationships and men are surprised when feelings of love, jealousy, or desire occur in friendships.  
     
 

Other books bring out some of these problems
but not in the same context as this very personal rendition from a man's point of view.

Citing relevant publications, Kaufman emphases his theories about relationships between men and women.

 
     
 

To read CRACKING THE ARMOUR is to open a different dimension in relationships.

See for yourself
Read
CRACKING THE ARMOUR
by Michael Kaufman

 
     

 

Cracking the Armour
Michael Kaufman
Viking Penguin
Penguin Books USA Inc.
New York, New York
1993