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Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  613 ratings  ·  61 reviews
One of the most talked-about books of recent years, in Stiffed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash explores the collapse of traditional masculinity that has left men feeling betrayed. With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her reader...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published September 19th 2000 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,369)
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Just freaking amazing. Has done more to inform and support my idea of being a man than any other single source. Amazing stories of normal men, and a pretty brutal deconstruction of how the expectation of men's behavior has changed in the last 40 years. Basically, manhood went from being centered around a functional role to a glamorous one; we went from gaining our self-respect and sense of meaning by working and being involved with something to looking good and sounding good. Pretty amazing stuf...more
Mar 27, 2013 ma'a added it

مع أني لم ابتدأ بقراءة الكتاب، فقد قرأت مقاطع قصيرة منه في ورقة.

Hurt So Good: Fight Club, Masculine Violence, and the Crisis of Capitalism - Lynn M. Ta

وكلا المصدرين يتحدثان عن تحول معنى الرجولة في المجتمع الأمريكي(التغيير يحصل في كثير من الدول الغربية المتمدنة أيضا)، حيث تركت الساحة لاعادة تعريف وتشكيل الأدوار الجندرية التقليدية في حقبة ما بعد النسوية.

نحن العرب الذين نعيش في المجتمعات الذكورية لا تزال أذهاننا حية بالصور التقليدية لما لما تعنيه الرجولة،...more
Jan 31, 2008 Todd rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jill, Karen, Summer
Recommended to Todd by: Juliet
This is an incredible book. I strongly advise reading it. Faludi, an award winner journalist and feminist, takes a compassionate and honest look into the condition of the American male.

This is a great book for any feminist or minority activist who is inclined to lay the entire burden of the countries problems on the so-called Angry White Male.

The book takes the long view on the problem and traces the roots of the problem back to the second World War and suggests that men are as shaped by socie...more
Dr. Marcia Chatelain
This is a beautifully written book about masculinity in America. I credit this book with sparking my interest in gender studies and American Studies. Faludi is able to weave seemingly disparate narratives into a compelling story of how industrialization, economic insecurity and little change in gender expectations have hurt both men and women.
I read this years ago, but just thought to add it to my shelves here. I really admire that Faludi didn't just pigeonhole herself in a shallow kind of feminist journalism, which it seems like she could have done in the wake of "Backlash," but instead explored broader implications of gender, power and class. The chapter of the book, "Waiting for Wood," exploring the troubling labor and identity realities of the pornography industry, is fabulous and still illuminating, even though it's about fiftee...more
Elana Sztokman
Susan Faludi is brilliant. She is without a doubt one of the most skilled, insightful and nuanced investigative journalists of our time. I would say that her work often crosses over between journalism and anthropology. She has an incredible knack for getting to the heart of the story, for getting people to open up to her and share what's really going on in their lives and cultures. She is the most thorough writer I have ever read -- I mean, she puts guys like Malcolm Gladwell to shame -- and tac...more
Cindy Breeding
Once upon a time...


After World War II, American soldiers returned home with a legacy and a dream to pass on to their sons.

Space exploration. Academia. Scientific research. Art.

The American sons built on that legacy. They were a great generation because the DID something. They BUILT something.

Fast forward to the late 20th Century. Men face a new world defined by mergers, acquisitions, stock market bravado that moved money and credit from shell to shell. And they started losing their jobs....more
Jan 29, 2012 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Men over the age of 45
Recommended to Ben by: Brad Hicks
For those who think all feminism is just an excuse for "man-hating", this book should be required reading. It is written by a prominent feminist author and focuses on the male experience in America without the demonizing that some men seem to believe is at the core of feminism. In fact the book could be accused of taking too charitable a view of men - what society expects from them, and how other changes in society have made those expectations difficult to achieve - in light of the domestic abus...more
Michael Robinson
Susan, a self-avowed feminist, spent 6 years researching in her words ' why men so vociferously resist women's struggles toward a fuller life. She spent an incredible amount of time and energy on her research, and it shows in the depth of detail in her writing. Sadly, I am left with a sense that her 600 page book should have been a 60 page essay.

The book slogs its way way through several overly detailed a examples of men and the life events afflicting them. While they are helpful to the books pu...more
Very well-written, very entertaining, however insulting it is intellectually.

The book is one long Bulverism, which goes something like this:

1. Men don't seem to buy feminism.
2. Feminism is obviously correct.
3. Something must be wrong with these men.

Having explained what is wrong with these men -- ta da! -- the premises are then validated.

No. Completely bass-ackwards.

And what a convenient explanation -- capitalism! A completely misunderstood version of it (the liberal version of it), but capital...more
I guess some people felt Faludi let men off the hook with this one (though not Bill O'Reilly, who came tantalizingly close to having a coronary event while "interviewing" the author), but to me, this represents an important attempt to understand the sociological underpinnings of some of the f-d up ways in which my gender behaves. Then again, I would say that, wouldn't I? Moohahaha!

Anyway, Faludi writes well, scored some great interviews, and offers important insights that still seem relevant alm...more
Perhaps one star is a bit harsh on this book, but the author was unfairly biased and couldn't put aside her dark glasses to see things from a different perspective. I read this book for a senior level journalism class in college, and I remember a heated debate where I refuted her misplaced claims by quoting Scripture. I think I was the only student who actually knew any of the Bible, so it was received with a lot of dumbfounded looks. In the same breath as "women, submit to your husbands" the Bi...more
This should be marketed as the must-read companion to Mad Men.

Susan Faludi interviews men, who either grew up in the 50s and 60s or who were the ones to return from WW2 to a new America. It shows the generational gap between men who rarely spoke to their children, and their sons who think fathers should take more part in their children's lives but are not sure how to do it; the men who worked all their life at a good job and provided for their family and their sons who are laid off because of t...more
This was a disappointment because I loved Backlash. I read half the book (it's huge)and gave up when I realized that most of the samples of men Ms. Faludi interviewed were not common men at all. Ms. Faludi made some great points and then wrote essays on some men with too much detail about their lives that didn't resonate with what the book implied it was going to be about. It would have been nice to read about how this "Betrayal" affected the common man also, not only the fringes of society that...more
Well written and researched, 'Stiffed' helps to explain why and how "conventional" (i.e. pre-WWII) masculinity has all but come to be extinct. The factors are many: new technologies, the rise in feminism, hyper-consumerism, world economies, mechanization, the high number of women in the workforce, changing gender roles. For Faludi, the American man has been abandoned by many of the organizations and groups that, prior to WWII, greatly helped to bestow and shape the definition and title of "manly...more

I don't know what to say, but this book is awesome. My professor handed it to me and told me to read it, and it's a dense 600 something pages, but it's just a wonderfully researched, searing indictment of the culture, the crisis of masculinity and the search for what it means to be a man. I don't truck with all those white men calling themselves the oppressed minority, like even a little, but this book offered a compelling counter-story to that narrative. The blame is not on women, but something...more
i don't read a lot of sociology books. i'll pick one up on a topic that i like to think about, and usually end up feeling suffocated by the author's opinions. i think i prefer to think in an opinion-vacuum, which is very difficult to do. 'stiffed' is a great book because it doesn't rely on conclusions too much; mostly it is a series of really fascinating and telling case studies in modern american masculinity. many of them are genuinely heartbreaking, the more so because the people are so normal...more
It's been quite some time since I've read this book. Having loved/debated Backlash in college, I remember being really excited for Faludi's take on how men have been changed by feminism. And the stories I remember most clearly are about men who have been shunted by modern society through various means -- downsizing; outdated work skills; union busting; etc. -- and not having any new ways of validating their lives as men. Instead, they often opt for vilifying another social group -- immigrants; g...more
I thought this was a very good book. However, I think in a lot of cases, she was way too thorough and in-depth. There were sections of this book that I felt could have been pared down substantially and the book could have easily been half this length and her central premise would have still worked. I did enjoy the section on Promise Keepers and (surprisingly) porn stars. Those were the two that I felt best got to the heart of the issue here. I could identify with some of the points she made but...more
Jul 06, 2008 Kathy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Intellectual/academic types interested in gender issues
Recommended to Kathy by: Goodness, I've forgotten how I came across this one
Loooong book taking an in-depth look at what it means to be male in America. Susan explores the huge Promise Keepers movement, the decline of industry, why men identify so strongly and are so loyal to sports organization and the impact on men when these organizations sell-out and move to other cities. She looks at gender relations and examines the shifts in roles and division of responsibilities and adresses domestic violence. She does all of this objectively and with and understanding of the un...more
Jeremy Adam
I am in awe of Faludi's reporting skills; she's a resourceful researcher, an insightful storyteller, and an exceptionally fluent, sharp writer. But the book is strangely light on analysis: Faludi concludes that men need liberating, but feminism, with its "male paradigm" of confrontation, is not a good model for them--instead, they must look inward and seek new passages to manhood. I don't disagree, and, in fact, I take her ending as a point of departure. Despite my reservations, this is one of t...more
Faludi is an excellent writer. I've heard her journalism criticized, but can't comment on it myself -- I felt this was well-researched. Faludi tracks American masculinity into the most unlikely places (porn filming sets, Promise Keepers rallies) and comes away with a startling conclusion: All over America, men are feeling bereft and rejected, denied the economic success they were promised, confused by women's increasing demands for power, and lashing out for more power in the face of what they p...more
The reason this book strikes me as important is because Faludi addresses how views of gender have changed since WWII, especially as mass media and celebrity have become more influential. She compares the modern American man to the fifties housewife. While the latter was expected to strive for "ultrafemininity," a modern man's "gym-bred display of his ultra-masculininity" is just as "ornamental." To buy her argument, you also have to buy the concept of performative gender, which I do, but your mi...more
Aug 31, 2008 Lianna rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people on deserted islands
Thoroughly-researched, thoroughly-boring 600 page book. I liked about half of the stories but they were too detailed, for example the 60 pages on Sylvester Stallone.

What was with every "feminist" wife in the book divorcing her husband the minute he could no longer afford to buy her things like a 3,000 sq ft house and homemaker lifestyle? I ain't saying she's a gold digger...

Plus one star for the author's mention of obscure hats like tam 'o shanter and shako.
Aug 14, 2008 Paige rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone, feminists especially
I had started this book a long time ago and kind of stalled part way through because seriously, Susan? 100 pages of Cleveland Browns stuff was not the strongest point of this book. I really don't need to know what kind of mask & costume every single "Dawg Pounder" wore, and I could've actually done with more Promise Keepers or Cal Jammer stuff. Anyway, I am really glad I decided to finish it, because after the Browns stuff it got really good.
So I haven't technically finished this book, but feel like the content and message in the book is something that has been seriously neglected in the discussion of gender issues and that Faludi does a really great job of working with her historical and gathered material, that it justifies me getting my current rating on it.

It is the non-fiction book currently in the vault of books I haven't finished that I most want to pick up again.
When seen with this book outskirted feminists were like "really?"
Some had a notion that this book is going to cut men a break, however, not the case.
This book puts the blame where it belongs while every man interviewed for it blames women. Read this if you have a chunk of time and an interest in understanding the sex that wants to control everything but cannot control themselves.
This was nearly as good as Backlash. She interviews a wide range of men in America - from Stallone to a group of men who dress as dogs to go to football matches. There is a description of a men's group that put me off the idea of going to a men's group for life. If there was ever a book to show that the feminist revolution is about the liberation of men too - this is it.
Hank Stuever
A long and deeply reported exploration at the cultural and actual aspects of American masculinity at the turn of the millennium. And, on a personal note, I wrote a feature story on Faludi for the Washington Post when this book was released in September 1999 -- my second assignment after I started the job. I really enjoyed following her around on a busy day in DC.
We read a few chapters of this for my ethics class on masculinity and ministry this semester. Absolutely intriguing stories. She traces a lot of male violence back to the root of shame and fear..... Rather than simply pointing her finger at bad men and telling them to get better, she traces the underlying issues with delicacy, grace, and wisdom.
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Susan C. Faludi (born April 18, 1959) is an American humanist, journalist and author. She won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1991, for a report on the leveraged buyout of Safeway Stores, Inc., a report that the Pulitzer Prize committee commended for depicting the "human costs of high finance".

Faludi was born to a Jewish family in Queens, New York in 1959 and grew up in Yorktown Hei...more
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