Farrell, Warren (Thomas) 1943-
FARRELL, Warren (Thomas) 1943-
PERSONAL: Born June 26, 1943, in New York, NY; son of Thomas Edward (an accountant) and Muriel Lee (a librarian; maiden name, Levy) Farrell; married Ursie Otte Fairbairn (senior vice president, Union Pacific), June 19, 1966 (divorced, 1977). Education: Montclair State College, B.A., 1965; University of California at Los Angeles, M.A., 1966; New York University, Ph.D., 1974. Politics: Independent. Religion: "Spiritual—no affiliation." Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, running, reading, films—"I love discussing and reviewing films."
ADDRESSES: Home—103 North Highway 101, Box 220, Encinitas, CA 92024. Agent—Ellen Levine, Ellen Levine Literary Agency, 15 East 26th St., No. 1801, New York, NY 10010. E-mail—[email protected] and [email protected].
CAREER: Author, lecturer, and consultant on gender, male-female relationships and men's issues. Television appearances include Oprah, Donahue, The Today Show, Larry King Live, ABC World News with Peter Jennings, 20/20, and Crossfire; consulting clients include U.S. Department of Education, Bonneville Power, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, IBM, Revlon, Toyota, AT&T, and Bell Atlantic. Lecturer, Fordham University, 1970; instructor, New Jersey State College, 1970, Rutgers University, 1971-73, American University, 1973-74, and Georgetown University, 1973-75; professor, California School of Professional Psychology, 1978-79, and San Diego State University, 1979-80; adjunct assistant professor, University of California, San Diego, 1986-88, and City University of New York (CUNY).
MEMBER: National Congress for Men and Children (board of directors, 1992—), National Coalition of Free Men (advisory board, 1996—), National Organization for Women (board of directors, New York City chapter, 1970-73), American Board of Sexology, American Coalition of Fathers and Children (board of directors, 1996-98), Children's Rights Council (advisory board, 1985—); Coastal Community Foundation, Fathers' Rights & Equality Exchange.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Book Award, National Coalition of Free Men, 1986, for Why Men Are the Way They Are; Men's Rights award, 1986, for Why Men Are the Way They Are, and 1993, for The Myth of Male Power; Outstanding Contribution award, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 1988; Best Book Award, National Congress for Men and Children, 1993, for The Myth of Male Power; Family Hero Award, Pennsylvania Family Rights Coalition, 1994. Honorary doctorate of humane letters, Professional School of Psychology, 1985.
The Liberated Man, Random House (New York, NY), 1975.
Why Men Are the Way They Are, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1986.
The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex—Fated for War, Programmed for Work, Divorced from Emotion, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993, new edition, with an updated introduction by the author, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2001.
(Contributor, with Alan Garner) Marnie Winston-Macauley, The Ultimate Answering Machine Message Book, Andrews & McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1997.
Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say: Destroying Myths, Creating Love, Jeremy Tarcher (New York, NY), 1999.
Father and Child Reunion: How to Bring the Dads We Need to the Children We Love, Jeremy Tarcher (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor of articles to professional journals.
ADAPTATIONS: An abridged version of The Myth of Male Power was adapted for audiocassette and read by the author, Simon & Schuster Audio, 1993; selections from Why Men Are the Way They Are were updated, adapted for audiocassette, and read by the author, Audio Partners Publishing, 1993; an abridged version of Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say was adapted for audiocassette and read by the author, Audio Renaissance, 1999.
SIDELIGHTS: Working as consultant, speaker, college instructor, and author, Warren Farrell has focused on male-female relationships and men's issues in his career. Once counting himself among active feminists—during the early 1970s he was a leader in the National Organization of Women (NOW), his advocacy for the rights of women generated media attention and numerous invitations to speaking engagements and university posts. However, in the mid-1970s his thinking shifted and he began to see the movement he once championed as hurtfully flawed, advancing women's rights at the expense of men's rights. Farrell then set out to advance equality for both sexes, primarily taking the role as an outspoken advocate for the rights of men and often highlighting how society, the media, and traditional feminist thinking unfairly characterize and restrict men.
Farrell was called the "Gloria Steinem of Men's Liberation" by Washington Post reviewer Don Oldenburg. Generally, critics agree that Farrell's writings deal with "gender liberation." A founding member of the National Organization for Changing Men and the National Congress for Men and Children, Farrell has served on numerous boards, including the National Coalition of Free Men and the American Coalition of Fathers and Children. Oldenburg noted that Farrell's writing reframes "'the balance of sexual power and politics in the contemporary world' in his  book Why Men Are the Way They Are." Farrell told the Washington Post: "I'm asking women and men, before they blame the other sex, to listen to the other sex's experience of the world—both their power experiences and powerless experiences. Too often people are arguing from their own self-interests."
Perhaps Farrell's most controversial observations in the gender discussion are captured in The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex—Fated for War, Programmed for Work, Divorced from Emotion, a 1993 release. Washington Post Book World contributor Camille Paglia (herself a prominent figure in gender studies) called The Myth of Male Power "a bombshell....It attacks the unexamined assumptions of feminist discourse with shocking candor and forces us to see our everyday world from a fresh perspective.... The Myth of Male Power is the kind of original, abrasive, heretical text that is desperately needed to restore fairness and balance the present ideology-sodden curriculum of women's studies courses."
All men have a common bond in their "wound of disposability," according to Farrell. Business Week reviewer Bruce Nussbaum noted that Farrell examines the paradox of male aggression: "Farrell demonstrates male powerlessness by pointing to the violence done to males in school sports (which he terms male child abuse), the selling of men's time and bodies to support wife and family (prostitution of males), and the draft (enslaving men in the military). Farrell concludes that 'the wound that unifies all men is the wound of their disposability . . . as soldiers, workers, dads.'" While Farrell's discourse on rights of men and the inequalities they face initially earned him less support, attention, and invitation than he enjoyed as an avowed feminist, his more male-focused thoughts have not gone unnoticed. The Myth of Male Power became "a men's movement bible," observed Cathy Young, in a Reason review of its successor, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say: Destroying Myths, Creating Love.
Published in 1999, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say discusses issues of miscommunication between genders and presents ideas on how to improve the situation, while giving great weight to fleshing out instances of male-bashing spurred on by the women's movement. As Peter Kocan observed in Quadrant, "Farrell constantly exposes the Heads-I-Win-Tails-You-Lose mode of argument which is the hallmark of radical feminism." One assertion in Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say is that men have been continually forced into the role of a "human doing" especially prized for bread-winning capabilities, rather than a "human being" praised for attending to their emotional side. Though an advocate for men, Farrell believes the best goal is help further a "a gender transition movement" in which blaming the opposite gender gives way to a more collaborative, win-win thought process.
While several reviewers found his statements intriguing and his theories convincingly supported, other critics noted that Farrell sometimes exhibited the same traits he criticized in extreme activists. Young, for example, unfavorably noted some platitudes and exaggerations in Farrell's writing, and stated, "Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say makes a persuasive case [documenting various] male disadvantages....Unfortunately, like many feminists, Farrell can't resist overstating his case.... Farrell's description of anti-male biases in the media and culture while mostly on-target, also includes some dubious assertions." Flaws aside, concluded Young, in his book Farrell offers "a fairly specified (and mostly positive) agenda" to further "a gender transition movement."
One of Farrell's propositions in furthering the "gender transition movement" is to give more recognition to fathers' rights. This is his focus in his 2001 book, Father and Child Reunion: How to Bring the Dads We Need to the Children We Love. Farrell reports in this book that research findings indicate that children raised primarily by only one parent are better off if they are in the custody of their father and not their mother. He explores the research, examines the differing behaviors of mothers and fathers, and impacts of stepparents and the separation from the natural parent. In addition, Father and Child Reunion examines social actions that can foster greater equality and opportunity for men in their role as fathers. Library Journal contributor Douglas C. Lord felt that Farrell wrote in an "overly dramatic" manner and his "intensely pro-male tone" fostered a win-lose relationship which detracted from his "though-provoking comments."
Farrell once told CA: "Perhaps my writing career unconsciously began at about age twelve—during the McCarthy era—with being labeled 'Pinko' for refusing to divide the world into Americans good/Communists bad. Fortunately, when I was fourteen and fifteen, my family moved to Europe, and I discovered that the questions that generated ostracism in the U.S. generated respect in Europe. It was an impressionable age at which to have my questioning process rewarded.
"When the civil rights, gay movements, and women's movements surfaced, I was again astonished at the inability of people to hear the best intent of the aggrieved groups. I got deeply enough involved in the women's movement to become the only man in the United States ever elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. This led to my writing my first book, The Liberated Man, in which I tried to articulate to men the value of independent women.
"Slowly, though, I began seeing the feminist leadership dividing the world into 'women good/men bad.' This led to Why Men Are the Way They Are, which was an attempt to take the most common questions women asked about men (e.g., 'Why are men such jerks?') and answer these from men's perspective. Men had become, in essence, the latest misunderstood group.
"As it became a definition of 'liberal' to care more about saving whales than saving males, I began to see the legal system becoming a substitute husband—doing more, for example, to protect women in the work place from dirty jokes than to protect men in the work place from faulty rafters. This led to my asking myself whether men really had the power if they felt the obligation to earn more money that someone else spent while they died earlier. Questions like these led to six years of research, fifty pages of footnotes, and The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex—Fated for War, Programmed for Work, Divorced from Emotion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2000, Nancy Spillman, review of Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say: Destroying Myths, Creating Love (audiobook), p. 1483.
Business Week, September 13, 1993, Bruce Nussbaum, review of The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex—Fated for War, Programmed for Work, Divorced from Emotion, pp. 14-15.
Independent, Jojo Moyes, March 4, 1996, "Give a Guy a Break," p. S23.
Library Journal, November 1, 1999, Elizabeth Goeters, review of Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, p. 111; March 1, 2001, Douglas C. Lord, review of Father and Child Reunion: How to Bring the Dads We Need to the Children We Love, p. 118.
Maclean's, February 1, 1988, p. 58.
New Statesman and Society, March 4, 1994, p. 38.
People, June 15, 1987, p. 49.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1999, review of Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, p. 55.
Quadrant, June, 2000, Peter Kocan, review of Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, p. 83.
Reason, March, 2000, Cathy Young, "The Man Question," p. 64.
Time, March 7, 1994, p. 6.
Washington Post, October 17, 1986, Don Oldenburg, review of Why Men Are the Way They Are.
Washington Post Book World, July 25, 1993, Camille Paglia, review of The Myth of Male Power, p. 1.
Salon,http://www.salon.com/ (February 6, 2001), Amy Benfer, "Save the Males!."
Warren Farrell Home Page,http://www.warrenfarrell.com/ (April 13, 2001).*