How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings (★★★★☆)

SARAH COOPER

Andrews McMeel

October 30, 2018

216 Pages

When I first started reading this book, it annoyed me. Yeah, yeah, okay: Better not wear this hairstyle because men find it threatening! And better not talk too loudly because men find that threatening, too! Etc., etc. It was all stuff I’d heard a million times before. Boring.

But as I kept reading, it really started to dawn on me that I do a lot of the “passive female” mannerisms shown in the book. That overly-fake-excited tone in emails? Yep, I do that. Letting men (and sometimes women) talk over me and even explain my own ideas to me? Yeah, I’ve done that, too. Allowing a man to make me feel physically uncomfortable but feeling powerless to do anything about it simply because he ended that douchey comment with a smiley emoticon or that suggestive touch with a “we’re cool, right!” smile? I have. I’ve allowed that.

Honestly, the more I read this book, the worse it made me feel. I consider myself pretty self-aware and progressive. I know how to be a strong woman. I’m woke, kids! But with every tongue-in-cheek cartoon, I couldn’t help but realize how many tiny grievances I let slip by. Not that I’m looking to become petty, overly-sensitive, hurtful, or rude toward other people. (I’ve worked hard to become a more confident advocate for myself, while still embracing the power of grace and forgiveness.) But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to communicate honestly every once in a while without fake smiles and the excessive use of exclamation points—all without worrying about who I’m offending in the process? Is that a world I ever get to live in?

Some of the examples in here are dated, and I would argue that many of the situations shown are no longer specifically “men vs. women.” (Shoot, I’ve learned that female bosses and coworkers can be brutal, too…) But there is still no denying the truth of what author Sarah Cooper writes.

Ultimately, this book isn’t going to be for everyone, but it’s definitely an interesting and eye-opening read. It sure made me think.


Big thank you to Andrews McMeel and Amazon Vine for the Advanced Reader Copy!

7 thoughts

  1. I was kind of hoping the title of this book was a wind up but unfortunately it sounds like it’s not. I think this would really wind me up so it’s probably a pass for me. I did really enjoy Feminist Fight Club which sounds like it has similar messages but with less concern for men’s feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a little funny, a little dated, relevant but maybe not as good as it could have been? One of those books you flip through at the library but ultimately put back… 🤷

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  2. When I started a new job in August, I decided I wasn’t going to do the same enthusiastic emails anymore. I’ve never liked them, especially when I would realize I’m really not friends with the person in emailing, even though the lack off formality would suggest I am. Guess what people say about me behind my back now. 🙄 It feels very no-win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ironically, when my boss doesn’t use exclamation points, I tend to assume she’s mad at me. It’s ridiculous, and I know it–and yet somehow I can’t help feeling…upset? Sigh, why do we expect women to be so chirpy all the time?

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