Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book #34: Multiple Guess: There is Really A Chapter Called....

Book #34 is a widely read often recommended book.

When I told students I was reading it, one student blurted out "My Mom gave me that! It's good!"

 I love Steve Harvey, so after I finished the book  instead of writing this review I read three more books and moved half the furniture in my house around.

He is a kind person, and I hope this comes out with kindness. His book is good, but it hit me in sore spots.

Let's start with the table of contents. Guess which is a real chapter title?
A) Three Things Every Man Needs: Love, Loyalty, the Cookie
B) Men Respect Standards. Get Some.
C) Strong, Independent -- and Lonely -- Women
D) How to Get the Ring
E) All of the Above
Guess the answer.

 No seriously. Without looking on instagram, where I posted the pictures.

Yes, E.

Sigh. Steve Harvey means well in his book "Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man" (wait, wait, shouldn't that be "gentleman"? Noo? Enough said?)  but the whole book is based on a few huge gaps.

First. The title implies that being a Man is a way of being, and being a Woman Lady is something women have to be taught, implying that when left on their own women do crazy things, unrespectable  UN*ladylike things.

Next, this book is completely hetero-centric.

I'm totally not sure if I made that word up, but I like it. This book assumes there is one way for the puzzle of love and life to come together. Enough said.

Third, the author states early in the book that men want achievement, power, to be able to protect and provide.

A man is someone who makes choices that take him on the road to more and more self-esteem.

If you read the Feminine Mystique (please? please?) and make it to the end, Betty Friedan points out the only way to be a complete self-respecting adult person (who could be an equal partner to another self-respecting person)  is to find something you love and spend your life growing that talent and use it for service.

Steve Harvey (unintentionally, I'm sure) perpetuates the idea that women are different than men with a different mindset (win the ring!)  and goals (win the ring!).

 Underneath this is the horrible myth that marriage is an actual goal a person can have, and should work towards as though it  was not a choice but a transformational achievement in life.

 I tell my students - male and female -  they are not allowed to get married until they have lived alone, had their own car, their own degree, their own job. After that, OK, you can freely choose.

But as long as you are looking for someone to protect you, support you, complete you then you must believe you are incomplete, so definitely don't get married.

 I digress. But I don't. If you skimmed that part, read it again.

Fine.  Let's continue to the part with the pineapple juice.

No wait, first, the rules. I'll skip a lot of the rules that Mr. Harvey lays out but not this one.

He tells women to never take out the trash.

That's a man's job, and doing that for him diminishes his manliess.

Alrighty. What man doesn't feel more manly coming home to a house with a full trash can?
Yay, that's a happy home. Enough said.

Now the part about the glass pineapple juice jar. Don't ask me why the pineapple juice is in a glass jar, I've never seen such exoticness.

  In a part of the book where Mr. Harvey tells aspiring Women "Ladies" to let men provide for them, he says that not all men can provide materially, so let him give what he can (take out the trash, eat the cookies) then tells women who DO earn money to not flaunt it in a man's face.

Mr. Harvey tells a story about a man who LOVED LOVED LOVED him some pineapple juice.

 He drank it, cooked with it, always had it with him.

One day he was at the grocery with his new Ms. Thing and he puts a jar of pineapple juice in her grocery cart and Ms. Thing - the Lonely Independent Woman - takes the pineapple juice out of the cart and drops it on the ground in front of everyone, smashing it to pieces (this is why you buy pineapple in cans, peoples) and says "YOU HAVE NO MONEY SO YOU CAN'T PUT ANYTHING IN THE CART."

The moral? The lesson? Women Ladies who have money,don't humiliate your men.


So no comment on what she did was abusive and humiliating and if she's acting like this in public what the heck is going on behind closed doors?

No comment on how this would ALSO not be ok for a man to do to a lady, right? Or would it be, since men are the providers? I'm confused.

All and all, I'm glad I read this book, that I can join the conversation with people who have read this book.

Books do that, you know. They connect us with invisible bridges, scars, tattoos. When people have read the same book they feel like they've been somewhere, seen something that only exists between the covers of THAT book.

Later I'll tell you about the students who have been sneaking into my office and begging to borrow books.  Now, I have three more books to review for you.

Act Like a Lady: Think Like a Man. Steve Harvey