Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man

by Susan Faludi

Hardcover, 1999




William Morrow (1999), Edition: First Edition, 672 pages


This 20th-anniversary edition of the extraordinary New York Times bestseller features a new introduction from the author! "Stiffed is a brilliant, important book.. Faludi's reportorial and literary skills unfold with breathtaking confidence and beauty... She goes a long way toward eliminating the black and white, good and evil, male and female polarities that have riven the sexes in the past three decades..." -Time In 1991, internationally renowned feminist journalist Susan Faludi ignited a revival of the women's movement with her revelatory investigative reportage: Backlash was nothing less than a landmark, uncovering an "undeclared war" against women's equality in the media, advertising, Hollywood, the workplace, and government--a war that is still being fought today. Stiffed may be even more essential than Backlash to understanding the cultural riptides that led to Trumpian America. Here, Faludi turns her attention to the so-called "Angry Male" politics plaguing the nation. Through deeply researched, nuanced, and empathetic character studies of distressed industrial workers, laid-off aerospace engineers, combat veterans, football fans, evangelical husbands, suburban and inner-city teenage boys, and Hollywood and porn actors, Stiffed goes beyond the easy explanations of male misbehavior--that it's driven by chromosomes or hormones--to lay bare the powerful social and economic forces that have shattered the postwar compact defining American manhood.  Faludi's vivid storytelling illuminates the historic and traumatic paradigm shift from a "utilitarian" manliness, grounded in civic and communal service, to an "ornamental" masculinity shaped by entertainment, marketing, and performance values. Read in the light of Trumpian politics and the #MeToo movement, Faludi's analysis speaks acutely to our present crisis, and to a foreboding future. Stiffed delivers a searing portrait of modern-day male America, and traces the provenance of a gender war that continues to rage, unabated.… (more)


½ (77 ratings; 3.6)

User reviews

LibraryThing member melmore
Following very much in the path broken by Barbara Ehrenreich's Hearts of Men, Susan Faludi’s massive and moving chronicle of American masculinity, Stiffed, draws on the experiences of a wide variety of men: aerospace industry engineers, dockyard workers, professional football coaches, Viet Nam
Show More
vets, astronauts and convicts, porn stars and (a surprising sympathetic) Sylvester Stallone. The overarching trajectory of Faludi’s analysis is that postwar America made, and then broke, a series of implicit promises to men of all races and all classes: that they would be active participants in society, that they would have work which provided them not just a livelihood but self-worth and dignity, that they would be able to achieve a stable and coherent manhood. What they got instead, Faludi details in scores of interviews, is the profound disappointment of inhabiting a superficial culture in which status has replaced substance and consumption has replaced achievement. All of the men in Stiffed are haunted, to varying degrees, by this sense of loss, and though all look around them for those responsible (feminists, the New World Order) none places the blame where it lies, on a culture interested more in finding new ways to sell products than in offering its inhabitants meaningful roles. Again, though, as Ehrenreich before her, Faludi takes solace in the notion that out of crisis will emerge progressive change in men’s sense of themselves and their relations with women: “Social responsibility is not the special province of masculinity; it’s the lifelong work of all citizens in a community where people are knit together by meaningful and mutual concerns. But if husbanding a society is not the exclusive calling of ‘husbands,’ so much the better for men’s future. Because as men struggle to free themselves from their crisis, their task is not, in the end, figuring out how to be masculine – rather, their masculinity lies in figuring out how to be human” (607).
Show Less
LibraryThing member jenniferkesler
An excellent dissection of how an unequal society that privileges men can end up screwing them over along with women. Also, a great book to share with someone who thinks feminism must, by improving things for women, make things worse for men.
LibraryThing member abirdman
A deep and powerful insight is flogged, thrashed, and beaten to death. Susan Faludi is incredibly smart, and just doesn't seem to know when she's won the argument. I admire her-- and I would never, ever, debate her!
LibraryThing member BraveKelso
Ms. Faludi tackles economics, culture, pychology and gender. She addresses the collapes of the American New Deal, the expectations of the Boomers, the shocks of overshoring and outsourcing manufacturing and the disappearance of the jobs that had supported a hope of affluance for the working and
Show More
middle classes. She assumes that the popular psychology of the late 20th century is right - that men lack hope and self-respect, and can blame society and absent fathers for their unhappiness but instead lash out against women and others. Her stories of the collapse of the aircraft building industries and shipyards of southern California are solid, and the manouevers of the fans millionaire owners of the NFL Cleveland Browsn, although I do not agree with the pop psychology that permeates her analysis. Whileshe writes fairly respectfully about working class men, she maintains they have a false consciousness (i.e. they are deluded to think that traditional male occupations - making things and fighing wars matters - what matters is making money). She writes well about some books, writers, movies, producers and actors famous or somewhat popular in the 80s and 90s.
Show Less


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

672 p.; 9.75 inches


068812299X / 9780688122997


Page: 0.839 seconds