Warren Farrell

Warren Thomas Farrell

Warren Farrell in 2011
Born June 26, 1943 (1943-06-26)
Queens, New York
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Ethnicity Caucasian
Citizenship U.S.
Education Ph.D from NYU in Political Science, M.A. from UCLA in Political Science, B.A. from Montclair State University in Social Sciences
Alma mater NYU, UCLA, Montclair State University
Period Contemporary
Genres Psychological
Subjects Men's, Women's, fathers' issues, gender; couples' communication; child custody; boy crisis.
Literary movement Women's movement
men's movement
fathers' movement
Notable work(s) The Liberated Man (1974)
Why Men Are the Way They Are (1986)
The Myth of Male Power (1993)
Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say (1999)
Father and Child Reunion (2001)
Why Men Earn More (2005)
Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? (2008)
Notable award(s) • California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) Award for Outstanding Contribution to the field of psychology, Santa Barbara, CA, 1988
Financial Times: one of 100 top Thought Leaders world-wide
• Renaissance Weekend member
• Onstep Institute for Mental Research, “Pioneer in the Psychology of Fatherhood Award”, 2000
Honorary Doctorates:
• Professional School of Psychology, San Diego, 1985
• Montclair State University, 2011[1]
Spouse(s) Liz Dowling
Children Alex and Erin
Relative(s) Tom Farrell (father)
Muriel Farrell (mother)
Gail Farrell (sister)
Yvonne Waring (cousin)
Pat and Daisy Flavahan (cousins)


Warren Farrell (born June 26, 1943) is an American author of seven books on men's and women's issues. His books cover twelve fields: history, law, sociology and politics (The Myth of Male Power); couples’ communication (Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say); economic and career issues (Why Men Earn More); child psychology and child custody (Father and Child Reunion); and teenage to adult psychology and socialization (Why Men Are the Way they Are and The Liberated Man). All of his books are related to women and men’s studies; consistent to his books since the early 90's has been a call for a gender transition movement.[2]



Warren Farrell holds a Ph.D. from New York University, a M.A. from UCLA in political science and a B.A. from Montclair State University in the social sciences.

Warren graduated from Midland Park High School in New Jersey in 1961, where he was student body president. He was chosen by the VFW as his town's (Waldwick's) selection for New Jersey Boys' State. As a college student, Warren was a national vice-president of the Student-National Education Association, leading President Lyndon B. Johnson to invite him to the White House Conference on Education.[3] While completing his Ph.D. at NYU, he served as an assistant to the president of New York University.[4]

University teaching

Farrell has taught in five disciplines (psychology; women's studies; sociology; political science; gender and parenting issues). These were at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego; the California School of Professional Psychology; in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State; at Brooklyn College; Georgetown University; American University, and Rutgers.[5]

Feminist Foundation

When the second wave of the women’s movement evolved in the late 1960s, Farrell’s support of it led the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter to ask him to form a men’s group. The response to that group led to his ultimately forming some 300 additional men and women's groups and becoming the only man to be elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women in N.Y.C. (1971–74).[6] In 1974, Farrell left N.O.W. in N.Y.C. and his teaching at Rutgers when his wife became a White House Fellow and he moved with her to D.C.[6]

During his feminist period, Farrell wrote op-eds for the New York Times and appeared frequently on the Today show and Phil Donahue show, and was featured in People, Parade and the international media. This, and his women and men’s groups, one of which had been joined by John Lennon, inspired The Liberated Man.[6] The Liberated Man was written from a feminist perspective, introducing alternative family and work arrangements that could better accommodate working women and encourage care-giving men. The Liberated Man was the beginning of Farrell's development of parallels for men to the female experience: for example, to women's experience as "sex objects," Farrell labeled men's parallel experience as "success objects."[7]

As a speaker, Farrell was known for creating audience participation role-reversal experiences to get both sexes "to walk a mile in the other's moccasins." The most publicized were his "men's beauty contest" and "role-reversal date."[8] In the men's beauty contest, all the men are invited to experience "the beauty contest of everyday life that no woman can escape." In the "role-reversal date" every woman was encouraged to "risk a few of the 150 risks of rejection men typically experience between eye contact and intercourse."[9]

Integrating men's issues into gender issues

Why Men Are The Way They Are

Farrell's books each contain personal introductions that reveal how the public consciousness and his personal growth led to the current book. By the mid-1980s, Farrell was writing that both the role-reversal exercises and the women and men’s groups allowed him to hear women’s increasing anger toward men, and men’s feelings of being misrepresented.[10] He wrote Why Men Are The Way They Are[11] to answer women’s questions about men in a way he hoped rang true for the men. He distinguished between both sexes' primary fantasies and primary needs, observing that "both sexes fell in love with members of the other sex who are the least capable of loving: women with men who are successful; men with women who are young and beautiful."[12] Women feel disappointed because, "the qualities it takes to be successful at work are often in tension with the qualities it takes to be successful in love." Men feel disappointed because, "a young and beautiful woman ('genetic celebrity') often learns more about receiving, not giving, while older and less-attractive women often learn more about giving and doing for others, which is more compatible with love."[13] Due partially to Oprah Winfrey’s support, Why Men Are the Way They Are became his best-selling book.[14]

The Myth of Male Power

By the early 1990s, Farrell was writing that he felt the misunderstandings about men had deepened and become dangerous to the survival of families and love.[15] He had spent five years re-examining everything he thought he knew about the sexes. The result was The Myth of Male Power.[16]

In The Myth of Male Power, Farrell offered his first in-depth outline of the thesis he would weave through his subsequent books: that for men and women to make an evolutionary shift from a focus on survival to a focus on a balance between survival and fulfillment, that what was ultimately necessary was neither a women's movement nor a men's movement, but a "gender transition movement." He defined a gender transition movement as one that fosters a transition from the rigid roles of our past to more flexible roles for the future.[17]

As the book's title implied, The Myth of Male Power challenged the belief that men had the power—in part by challenging the definition of power. Farrell defined power as "control over one's life." He wrote that, "In the past, neither sex had power; both sexes has roles: women's role was raise children; men's role was raise money."[18]

Farrell documented how, cross-culturally, men's experience of powerlessness involved being socialized, even as boys, to become "the disposable sex."[19] He argued that virtually every society that survived did so by training a cadre of its sons to be disposable—in war, and in work. The paradox of masculinity, he proposed, is that the very training for traditional masculinity that created a healthy society created unhealthy boys and men.[20]

The Myth of Male Power is most ardently challenged by some academic feminists, whose critique is that men earn more money, and that money is power. Farrell concurs that men earn more money, and is one form of power, but adds that "men often feel obligated to earn money someone else spends while they die sooner--and feeling obligated is not power."[21] This perspective was to be more fully developed in Farrell's Why Men Earn More.

Farrell says heterosexual men learn to earn money to earn their way to female love. And that this in turn leads to psychological problems for both sexes: that "men's weakness is their facade of strength; women's strength is their facade of weakness."[22]

Perhaps Farrell's most controversial contribution to gender politics is The Myth of Male Power's confrontation of the belief that patriarchal societies make rules to benefit men at the expense of women. Farrell feels this misses many realities—such as the registration of only our 18-year-old boys for the draft, or men constituting 93% of workplace deaths.[23]

Analyses such as these led The Myth of Male Power to become both his most-praised and most-controversial book. In the discipline of men's studies, it is considered to be a classic.[24]

Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, and Father and Child Reunion

The increase in divorces in the 1980s and 1990s turned Farrell’s writing toward two issues: the poverty of couples’ communication;[25] and children’s loss of their father in child custody cases.[26]

In Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say,[27] Farrell asserts that couples often fail to use couples' communication outside of counseling if the person receiving criticism does not know how to make her or himself feel safe. Farrell develops a method called “Cinematic Immersion” to create that safety and overcome what he posits is humans' biological propensity to respond defensively to personal criticism.[28][29]

To address children’s loss of their father in child custody cases, Farrell wrote Father and Child Reunion,[30] a meta-analysis of research about what is the optimal family arrangement for children of divorce. Father and Child Reunion's findings include some 26 ways in which children of divorce do better when three conditions prevail: equally-shared parenting (or joint custody); close parental proximity; and no bad-mouthing.[31] His research for Father and Child Reunion provided the basis for his frequently appearing in the first decade of the 21st Century as an expert witness in child custody cases on the balance between mothers' and fathers' rights needed to create the optimal family arrangement for children of divorce.

Why Men Earn More

By the turn of the century, Farrell felt he had re-examined every adult male-female issue except the pay gap.[32] In Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap—and What Women Can Do About It,[33] he documents 25 differences in men and women’s work-life choices. Common to each of men’s choices was earning more money, while each of women’s choices prioritized having a more-balanced life.[34] These 25 differences allowed Farrell to offer women 25 ways to higher pay—and accompany each with their possible trade-offs.[35] The trade-offs include working more hours and for more years; taking technical or more-hazardous jobs; relocating overseas or traveling overnight.[36] This led to considerable praise for Why Men Earn More as a career book for women.[37]

Some of Farrell's findings in Why Men Earn More, such as his analysis of census bureau data that never-married women without children earn 13% more than their male counterparts; or that the gender pay gap is largely about married men with children who earn more due to their assuming more workplace obligations, led to Farrell receiving criticism by some feminists who challenged that the pay gap is more about gender discrimination.[38]

Themes woven throughout Why Men Earn More are the importance of assessing trade-offs; that "the road to high pay is a toll road;" the "Pay Paradox" (that "pay is about the power we forfeit to get the power of pay"); and, since men earn more, and women have more balanced lives, that men have more to learn from women than women do from men.[39]

Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?

Farrell’s most recent book, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?, published by Oxford University Press in 2008, is a debate book with feminist co-author James Sterba. Farrell felt gender studies in universities rarely incorporated the masculine gender except to demonize it. This book was Farrell’s attempt to test whether a positive perspective about men would be allowed to be incorporated into universities' gender studies curriculum even if there were a feminist rebuttal.[40] Farrell and Sterba debated 13 topics, from children's and fathers' rights, to the "Boy Crisis."


Farrell’s books, published in fifteen languages, tend to make both international news[41] and controversy. However, his recent collaborations with Ken Wilber,[42][43] John Gray,[44] and Richard Bolles,[45] have introduced his messages to more diverse and receptive audiences. Farrell's claims on gender relations have attracted the interest of English academic Rory Ridley-Duff, who has integrated Farrell's perspectives into curriculum materials, academic papers and a book[46][47] and developed Attraction Theory to capture the gendering dynamics implicit in Farrell's work.[48]

Current activities

Farrell addressing world conference of spiritual leaders, 2010

Farrell’s current foci are conducting communication workshops;,[49] being an expert witness[50] in child custody cases;[49] and researching a forthcoming book (Boys to Men), to be co-authored with John Gray. In 2010-11, he keynoted, along with Deepak Chopra, a world conference on spirituality (the Integral Spiritual Experience),[51] addressing the evolution of love. He was then invited by the Center on World Spirituality to be one of their world leaders.[52]

In 2009, a call from the White House requesting Dr. Farrell to be an advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls led to Dr. Farrell creating and chairing a commission to create a White House Council on Boys and Men. The multi-partisan commission consists of thirty-five authors and practitioners (e.g., John Gray, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Michael Gurian, Michael Thompson, Bill Pollack, Leonard Sax) of boys' and men's issues. They have completed a study that defines five components to a "boys' crisis," which has been submitted as a proposal for President Obama to create a White House Council on Boys and Men.[53]



  1. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kiSQuJs7Rw&feature=channel_video_title
  2. ^ His books since the early 90's with this theme are: The Myth of Male Power (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1993); Woman Can't Hear What Men Don't Say (N.Y.:Penguin/Putnam, 1999); Father and Child Reunion (N.Y.: Penguin/Putnam, 2001); Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap - and What Women Can Do About It (N.Y.: AMACON, 2005); Warren Farrell and James Sterba, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2008)
  3. ^ “Warren Farrell at the White House Conference on Education,” Bergen Record, (N.J.), July 27th, 1965, and Warren Farrell, “Commentary on the White House Conference on Education,” Bergen Record, (N.J.), July 27, 1965
  4. ^ Warren Farrell, The Liberated Man, (N.Y.:Random House, 1974), the Personal Introduction
  5. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.:Putnam/Penguin, 2001), Biography
  6. ^ a b c Warren Farrell, The Liberated Man, (N.Y.: Random House, 1974), the Personal Introduction
  7. ^ The "success object" parallel is featured on the back cover of The Liberated Man (N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1975) in paperback.
  8. ^ Janet Cooke, Men Taking Turn in Beauty Contest Get Insights Into Woman's Role, Toledo Blade, November 19, 1979
  9. ^ Mimi Avins, "Men's Advocate in a Woman's World," Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2000.
  10. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Are the Way they Are, (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1986), Personal Introduction.
  11. ^ See http://www.warrenfarrell.us
  12. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Are the Way They Are, (N.Y.:McGraw-Hill, 1986), Chp. 5
  13. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Are the Way They Are, (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1986)
  14. ^ Warren Farrell (2008). Intro to Dr. Warren Farrell - pt. 1 of 2 (Video). California: YouTube. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4530114402060996053&ei=_BPlSPeGOpzYqAOf3ISNCw&q=%22warren+farrell%22&vt=lf. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  15. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1993), Personal Introduction. See http://www.warrenfarrell.org
  16. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1993), Personal Introduction.
  17. ^ Myth of Male Power. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. 1993. p. 19. ISBN 0-671-79349-7. http://warrenfarrell.org. 
  18. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1993), Chp. 2
  19. ^ The subtitle of The Myth of Male Power is, Why Men Are the Disposable Sex. For cross-cultural documentation, see Chapter 3.
  20. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power (N.Y.:Simon and Schuster, 1993), Chp. 2
  21. ^ This critique of Farrell is part of feminist James Sterba's critique of The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Earn More in Oxford University Press' book, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), which is a debate of thirteen gender issues between James Sterba, representing feminist theory, and Warren Farrell, articulating gender transition theory.
  22. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1993), Chapter 2 & 3.
  23. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, (N.Y.:Simon & Schuster, 1993), Chp. 3
  24. ^ http://mensnewsdaily.com/2009/04/08/why-men-earn-more/; see also, http://glennsacks.com/blog/?p=1385; see also, http://www.trueequality.com/pre.php
  25. ^ Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, (N.Y.: Penguin/Putnam, 2000), Personal Introduction
  26. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin, 2001), the Personal Introduction
  27. ^ Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, (N.Y.:Penguin/Putnam, 1999)See http://www.warrenfarrell.info
  28. ^ Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, (N.Y.:Penguin/Putnam, 1999) See also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_counseling
  29. ^ Esalen Institute: http://www.esalen.org/workshops/searchfiles/workshopdetail.lasso?RecordNum=8364&-session=Reservation_Session:1805754816b5123055MPR22567D8
  30. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin, 2001). See: http://www.warrenfarrell.biz
  31. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin, 2001).
  32. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap-- and What Women Can Do About it, (N.Y.: AMACOM, 2005), Personal Introduction
  33. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap--and What Women Can Do About It, (N.Y.: AMACOM, 2005) See: http://www.warrenfarrell.net
  34. ^ Warren Farrell (2008). Introducing Dr. Warren Farrell (Video). California: YouTube. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6033912836207553518&ei=TRjlSLqYGZzYqAOf3ISNCw&q=%22warren+farrell%22. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  35. ^ Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap--and What Woman Can Do About It, (N.Y.:AMACOM, 2005), Introduction, Chp. 1-6, and Conclusion, pp. 216-233.
  36. ^ Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap--and What Woman Can Do About it, (N.Y.:AMACOM, 2005). Introduction; Chp. 1-6
  37. ^ Why Men Earn More was chosen by U.S. News and World Report as one of five "Great Career Books." See Marty Nemko, "Five Great Career Books to read in 2006," January 4, 2006 http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/career/careercoach/archive/060104/five_great_career_books_to_rea.htm. Also, in the 2010 edition of What Color is Your Parachute?, (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2010), p. 122, Bolles writes, "I would give this book to every female career-chooser or career-changer on the planet." ForeWord Magazine awarded Why Men Earn More its Silver Medal for 2005 Book of the Year Awards for Careers. http://www.forewordmagazine.net/botya/print2k5.aspx
  38. ^ See attacks on Farrell on 20/20: http://www.warrenfarrell.com/videos/2020video.html
  39. ^ Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap--and what Women Can Do About It, (N.Y.:AMACOM, 2005), Introduction, Chp. 1-6, and Conclusion, pp. 216-233.
  40. ^ Warren Farrell and James Sterba, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men, (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2008) Preface and Introduction.
  41. ^ "Google News Archive". http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=%22warren+farrell%22&num=10&scoring=n&ned=us&nav_num=100. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  42. ^ deVos, Corey (2008-06-16). "Warren Farrell on Integral Naked - Redefining the Relationships Between Men and Women". KenWilber.com. http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/453. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  43. ^ deVos, Corey (2008-07-17). "Warren Farrell - Beyond Feminism and Masculism". Holons. http://www.holons-news.com/node/251. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  44. ^ "Authors John Gray and Warren Farrell on "Men, Women, Love & Chaos"". Goldstar. 2007-03-21. http://www.goldstar.com/events/mill-valley-ca/gray-and-farrell-men-women-love-and-chaos.html. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  45. ^ "What Color is Your Parachute?: Earning versus Living". 2008-06-13. Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20080614023537/http://www.wisdomatworkaustin.org/Events.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  46. ^ Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2005) "Interpersonal Dynamics: A Communitarian Perspective", paper to the 1st ENROAC-MCA Conference 7th-9th April, Antwerp This peer-reviewed conference paper is available from the Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive.
  47. ^ Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2010) Emotion, Seduction and Intimacy: Alternative Perspectives on Human Behaviour (Third Edition), Seattle: Libertary Editions ISBN 978-1-935961-00-0
  48. ^ Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2008) "Gendering, Courtship and Pay Equity: Developing Attraction Theory to Understand Work-Life Balance and Entrepreneurial Behaviour", paper to the 31st ISBE Conference, 5th-7th November, Belfast This refereed paper is published in the ISBE conference proceedings (ISBN 978-1-900862-08-0) as well as the Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive.
  49. ^ a b See http://www.warrenfarrell.com/pages.php?id-52
  50. ^ See http://warrenfarrell.biz/services
  51. ^ http://warrenfarrell.com/articles.php?id=81
  52. ^ http://www.centerforworldspirituality.com/leadership-council/
  53. ^ http://www.forbes.com/sites/rahimkanani/2011/09/05/the-need-to-create-a-white-house-council-on-boys-to-men/

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