Esther Vilar, the author of The Manipulated Man, once called herself a feminine feminist. This put her in opposition to the bulk of the mainstream feminist movement, which she calls masculine feminism. Reading her book The Manipulated Man will make one question why she even calls herself feminist at all, unless one's mind has broken free of the ideological restraints imposed by modern political correctness.
It's core message is that, contrary to feminism's assertions that men oppress women, the opposite is true, except that men are happy to be slaves to women - to work for them sacrificially as husbands who spend their money, labor and time on their wives, despite being themselves more intelligent, stronger, etc. Women sustain their power through a variety of manipulation tools including judicious issuance of praise, controlled supply of sex, and other society level mind games including upbringing and socialization that most men lack the self awareness to spot. She says the living standards of a wife are always better than her husband's within the same marriage.
This book will annoy almost all women who read any of it. It shines an unwelcome spotlight on the inner workings of a woman's mind pertaining to man, stripping away any veneer of justification or benefit of doubt in the process. So merciless is Esther Vilar in depicting the woman as shallow, deceptive, frivolous, bland, unintelligent, and yet cold and calculating, that one wonders how she, a woman, could have written so vitriolic a work. Indeed she does not exempt herself from the things she says.
A few faults come to light when one considers the book was written in 1970 and therefore social dynamics have shifted: more women work today than then therefore the housewife character is rarer. Also the logical stream towards the end of the book throws one off severally, or perhaps I was getting sleepy.
However vast swathes of the text ring true and read uncomfortably for victims and perpetrators alike. Read this book for a nonconformist's inner view of what really happens in most relationships.
Rumor has it a bunch of women beat Esther Vilar up for writing it, and she receives death threats to this day. It didn't stop her from writing a sequel, The Polygamous Sex (she's unflappable!), which I plan to review someday. Watch this space.