The Myth of the Oppressed Japanese Women
David Thomas, in
Not Guilty In
Defence of the Modern Man, dispels the myth of the oppressed Japanese Women.
|...although [British] men have marginally more influence in six out of the
eleven categories, in none of them do they have the dominance enjoyed by women in their
most influential areas. The overall average works out at a marginal advantage for
the female partner by 51 to 49. It is also worth noting that the two strongest
areas for men motor and health insurance have to be considered in
the light of the fact that, for white-collar workers at least, both may well
be included as part of a man's professional remuneration. So the women's
lack of influence should not be taken to imply male power: it's just that he's
abandoned his wife's decision-making in favour of his boss's. Either way, he's the
| This phenomenon is by no means confined to British
society. In fact, it might even be true to say that the more that a society appears
to be financially biased in favour of men, the more the reverse is actually the
case. In Japan, for example, men still hold the vast majority of positions of
executive and political power; feminism has made nothing like the strides there that it
has in the West. Japanese wives are seen by their Occidental sisters as hapless
servants, waiting hand and foot on their male masters, like geisha girls ready to provide
everything that their man might require. The truth, however, appears to be rather
| As a Japanese salary man slaves away at the absurdly
long hours that can, as we have seen, induce premature death, or karoshi, his wife
is out enjoying the fruits of his labours. A Japanese woman has the same lock on the
family finances as her Western counterparts, a privilege that merely adds to the
traditional power that she enjoys as the matriarchal ruler of the family home. For
the purposes of public
This Working Life
|consumption, she may play the dutiful helpmeet. But in private,
she's the boss.
| The Japanese name for a domineering, dictatorial wife
is obatalian. So common is the species that in 1992 Fuji Television launched
a series called Obatalian Watching. In the words of Joanna Pitman, reporting
from Tokyo for The Times: 'A group of scowling harridans were unwittingly filmed on
one of their power-shopping sprees, swarming through sales like locusts, dolling
themselves up in Chanel suits and Italian shoes. The cameras then followed them onto
a crowded underground train where they were seen doing battle for seats armed with
designer handbags and umbrellas. The obatalian gets what she wants.
| 'The comedy of the series depends on the gap between
social pretension and reality. Everyone knows that if the cameras were to arrive at
her home, the obatalian would slip into her public role as the simpering wife who
selflessly tends to the needs of her husband.'
Social attitudes towards the family's supposed patriarch can be guessed
from the title of a popular Japanese comic book series (the Japanese consume manga,
or adult comic books, with a voracity and seriousness unknown in the West). It is
called Stupid Dad. Its hero if that is the right word is eerily
reminiscent of the hopelessly inadequate male to be found in so many British TV
commercials (and Japanese ones, come to that). After a hard day of ritual
humiliation at the workplace, he comes home for more of the same at the hands of his wife
and daughters: virulent shrews who would give Regan and Goneril a thoroughly good run for
their money. Bossed at work and bullied at home ... no wonder the poor old Japanese
male spends so much time getting drunk in karaoke bars....
Book details at amazon.com
The editorial review shown at amazon.com pertains correctly to David Thomas' book, but the book
description shown there has nothing to do with the book. Is
that another manifestation of the feminist plot to downplay and
diminish the importance of David Thomas' book? After all, the
feminists managed to make the book almost disappear.
Commentaries that do better justice to Not Guilty:
David Thomas, in his book "Not Guilty - In Defence of the
Modern Man" (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1993, p.63) writes:
"It is not often that a dominant class legislates its own
downfall with quite as much thoroughness as the parliaments of
the Western World, filled as they are with men passing equal
opportunities legislation in favour of women, have done."
In fact men have not only shot themselves in the foot but
blown their leg off as well, apparently without feeling a thing!
But men are suffering. They die earlier, form the bulk of the
unemployed and the homeless, often receive a raw deal in the
family court, are under-represented at our tertiary
institutions, yet barely a squeak from men. Hence the problem
with no name.
In contrast [to "the somewhat negative, repetitive,
even whingeing tone of the [The Myth of Male Power, by Warren
Farrell], there is David Thomas, author of Not Guilty.
Unlike the American basis of Farrell's book, Thomas adopts a
British-based, but much more holistic perspective - and where
Farrell's background in academia and politics involves speaking
to captive audiences who do not have the freedom to leave the
room, Thomas is a product of the competitive and slick world of
British glossy magazine journalism; (an industry which he notes,
is one of the few that is dominated by women). Unlike Farrell's
lacklustre style, here is someone who is used to having to
entertain as well as to inform, who is used to fighting to keep
an audience. Not Guilty is therefore a far superior
book, combining rhetorical style with statistical argument.
Thomas also uses personal anecdotes and interviews, thus adding
a strongly human dimension to his raw figures and studies. Far
from weakening the force of the book, this actually adds to the
argument, making it much easier for the audience to relate to
Several years ago David Thomas wrote an excellent book
[whose title is], "Not Guilty: In Defence of the Modern Man." One of
his chapters is called "The Myth of the Bad Man." Thomas shows
that today's intellectual elite is creating a myth that men
are violent and violence is male. A huge cottage industry has
grown up to demonstrate that within families, men are a bad
influence -- a necessary evil at best. "Meanwhile," asks
Thomas, "why won't anyone have the courage and the honesty to
confront and deal with abuse carried out by women?"
There is no balance, says Thomas, who writes of a "pattern of
prejudice" in social science itself. Thomas argues that
today's accepted orthodoxy holds "that all abusers are male.
..." This is especially true in the area of sexual harassment.
The organization of hatred along sexual lines is, in my view,
the most troubling intellectual trend in modern thought today.
The next time you hear somebody say that men are pigs -- or
some similar comment -- you might want to object....
Right! The cover of Not Guilty successfully sums up the
spirit of the book in an adaptation of Michel Angelo's Creation of
Men are okay! I found Not Guilty to be
considerably more positive and informative than Warren Farrell's
books, such as The Myth of Male Power. After all,
Warren Farrell is a
power-feminist that appears to want to empower women through
normalizing men down and through portraying men as victims of
neglect and vilification.
Posted 2000 05 23
2001 02 04 (format changes)
2004 01 11 (added link to book details and
commentaries about the book)