A Knight in Shining Armor: Understanding Men's Romantic Illusions

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9780688098438: A Knight in Shining Armor: Understanding Men's Romantic Illusions
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Interviews with more than one hundred men and women reveal a common self-defeating phenomenon named "the man-servant syndrome" experienced by men when they push too hard to become a good provider and expect too much from their mates

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Social psychologist Hornstein (Psychology/Columbia; Managerial Courage, 1986) looks at the inappropriate expectations that men suffering from the ``man-servant syndrome'' have of themselves and of women, and how these affect their relationships. Hornstein interviewed 150 men and women about their romantic relationships and observed a common illusion: Men are supposed to be dominant, forceful, and competitive, able to protect, provide for, and if need be, rescue women, who, in return, will reward them--make them feel like Prince Charming. The gap between this impossible dream and reality fills men with doubt and self-blame, making them feel like failures--ugly frogs rather than Prince Charmings. Hornstein categorizes three styles of ``man- servanting'' by men who are caught up in this illusion: ``ministers,'' who focus on providing for women, and who place them on pedestals and worship them; ``educators,'' who see women as incompetent creatures needing their guidance; and ``Lancelots,'' who want to protect women and dazzle them with their performance and demonstrations of power. Each of these man- servanting styles is analyzed and its inevitable failures revealed, often in the words of Hornstein's interviewees. Happily, the syndrome is not terminal: men can learn to recognize its danger signs as they appear and develop more satisfying ways of relating to women. To that end, Hornstein offers guidelines for breaking loose from its bonds. And, finally, he pleads for an end to the silent acceptance of an impossible ideal of what a ``real'' man should be. Let it be known: Prince Charming had problems too. An appeal for men's liberation that speaks to both sexes. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Thousands of men, in Hornstein's diagnosis, suffer from "man-servant syndrome," harboring a fantasy that women possess a magical bounty to make them feel like "princes." These would-be Prince Charmings forever chase after "male competency cluster" traits, striving to live up to the image of the strong, self-reliant "ultra-man" and sinking into rage, blame and disillusionment when women withhold the bliss-giving bounty they are presumed to possess. Man-servants also participate in society's "work genderification" that deems women ill-suited for the world of work. Director of Columbia University Teachers College's psychology division, Hornstein draws on interviews with 150 men and women in this predictable exercise in pop psychology. His analysis of this "syndrome" and of passive, dependent women's collusion in it is plausible but hardly new or surprising.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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