Critique of What I’ve Learned from Men

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In her article What I’ve Learned from Men,” Barbara Ehrenreich argues that women can learn important lessons from men. She suggests that some of the traditional feminine traits can hinder women’s progress and that women need to toughen up to succeed in life. The article is persuasive because of its humorous and sarcastic tone, logical evidence, and well-structured arguments. Ehrenreich provides examples of how women’s niceness can be detrimental to their success and how sexual harassment is a common problem for women. The article is easy to follow and ends with a call to action for women to take control of their lives and stand up for themselves. Overall, Ehrenreich’s article highlights the importance of gender equality and the need for women to assert themselves in a male-dominated world.”

Table of Content

In Barbara Ehrenreich’s article “What I’ve Learned from Men” she discusses that women can learn a lot from men. How the lack of toughness in a woman’s personality can negatively affect their progression and position in life. The author also discusses how some of the “ladylike” qualities can prove to be hindering to progress. Barbara’s article is persuasive because the writing style was appealing, the evidence was logical, and the article was well structured and easy to follow.

The article’s extreme sarcastic and humorous tone helps transmits the wanted concept, unlike most feminist articles which consists of redundant repetition of needed freedoms, mistakes and needs. A great example of this humorous approach is how the writer avoided falling into the “ladylike” category by saying, “We’re still too ladylike. Let me try this again- We’re still too damn ladylike” (Ehrenreich, 2005, p.308), using a swear word (damn) to break the existing female stereotype. The sarcasms was emphasized in the introduction, where countless differences between the genders have been listed, such a light hearted start give a sense of acceptance of what is to come.

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On a more serious note, the article discusses, with evidence, important issues. How women think it is their responsibility to “niceness” attitude in a conversation, and how this alleged responsibility negatively affected the author first hand. Another issue is sexual harassment; the writer speaks from personal experience as she explains the story of the professor that sexually harassed her over the course of a 20 minute conversation; where she did not react as she was maintaining “nice” environment (Ehrenreich, 2005, p.308). Such a story appeals to logic, one may wonder, “How can highly educated prestigious professor react in such an unethical manner?” Examples like this indicate that change must take place to avoid these predicaments. This short example also appeals to the emotional side of thinks, as one can sympathize with her position.

Finally, the essay was well structured and easy to follow, which made the transmission of the writer’s ideas simple. The writer hooks the reader and establishes her agenda in the first couple of paragraphs (through both humorous and direct language). The author then lists her evidence, and also stats her recommendations of “cutting back on the small acts of deference that…” (Ehrenreich, 2005, p.308). Lastly, the writer was able to formulate a successful conclusion; she put her recommendation to action by reliving the scenario that took place with the “prestigious” professor, stating what she would have done differently, how she would take control from the very start by moving her chair away from the professor, reacting negatively to his hollowness and ending it with a confident exit.

It is an essential to think about why women are usually sexually harassed. Maybe the answer is for women to toughen up, and step forward to take praise as the writer Barbara suggested. Imagine a male dominated world where sexual harassment is extremely common. Would you like to raise a daughter in such a world?

Ehrenreich, B. (2005). What I’ve learned from men. In A. Abusalim, N. Bilikozen, T. Ismail, & S. Sayed (Eds.), Where I stand: The center and the periphery (1st ed.) (pp. 307-311). United Arab Emirates: Oriental Press.

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Critique of What I’ve Learned from Men. (2016, Jul 17). Retrieved from

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