Warren Farrell

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Warren Farrell
Warren Farrell photo.jpg
Warren Farrell in 2011
Born Warren Thomas Farrell
(1943-06-26) June 26, 1943 (age 74)
Queens, New York
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Citizenship U.S.
Alma mater NYU, UCLA, Montclair State University
Period Contemporary
Genre Psychological
Subject Men's, Women's, fathers' issues, gender; couples' communication; child custody; boy crisis.
Literary movement Women's movement
men's movement
fathers' movement
Notable works 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 awards
  • 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[citation needed]

Ursula Farrell (divorced)

Liz Dowling (2002 to present)
Children two stepdaughters

Warren Thomas Farrell (born June 26, 1943) is an American educator, activist and author of seven books on men's and women's issues.

Farrell initially came to prominence in the 1970s as a champion the cause of second wave feminism, and serving on the New York City Board of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Although today he is generally considered "the father of the men’s movement", he advocates that “there should be neither a women’s movement blaming men, nor a men’s movement blaming women, but a gender liberation movement freeing both sexes from the rigid roles of the past toward more flexible roles for their future.”[1]

His books cover History, Law, Sociology and Politics (The Myth of Male Power); couples' communication (Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, and Father and Child Reunion); 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 men’s and women’s studies, with a forthcoming 2018 publication called The Boy Crisis.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Farrell was born in 1943. He is the eldest of 3, of an accountant father and housewife mother.[3] He grew up in New Jersey.[3] Farrell attended high school at the American School of The Hague in his Freshman and Sophomore years,[citation needed] then graduated from Midland Park High School in New Jersey in 1961,[4] where he was student body president. He was chosen by the American Legion as his town's (Waldwick's) selection for New Jersey Boys' State.[citation needed]

Warren Farrell received a B.A. from Montclair State University in social sciences in 1965.[5] As a college student, Farrell 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.[6]

In 1966 he received an M.A. from UCLA in political science[5] and in 1974 a Ph.D. in the same discipline from New York University.[5] While completing his Ph.D. at NYU, he served as an assistant to the president of New York University.[7]

University teaching[edit]

Farrell has taught university level courses 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.[8]

Feminist Foundation[edit]

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).[9] 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.[9] They subsequently divorced.[10]

Dr. Warren Farrell conducting a "men's beauty contest" on the Mike Douglas Show with Alan Alda, Billy Davis, Jr., and Marilyn McCoo, circa 1976.

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.[9] 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."[11]

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."[12] 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."[13]

Integrating men's issues into gender issues[edit]

In a 1997 interview, Farrell stated:

“Everything went well until the mid-seventies when NOW came out against the presumption of joint custody. I couldn't believe the people I thought were pioneers in equality were saying that women should have the first option to have children or not to have children — that children should not have equal rights to their dad.” [14]

Before writing further about men's issues and empowerment, Farrell spent years researching incest, including the ways people who commit incest justify their actions and (controversially) the potentially positive impact on family life. In a 2015 article in Mother Jones magazine, Mariah Blake summed up his findings and quoted him on the topic: "In a 1977 interview with Penthouse, Farrell explained that some saw incest as 'part of the family's open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection.' The magazine also quoted him as saying that 'genitally caressing' children was 'part of a caring, loving expression' that helped them develop healthy sexuality." These ideas threatened his reputation; as Blake reported, "Farrell maintains that he said "generally caressing" and that the magazine conflated his ideas with those of his subjects. "'The question is, how does a man or a woman justify having incestuous relations?' he told me. 'I was reporting how people justified it. In most cases the article made that clear, but in some cases what the people I interviewed had said got mixed up with what I said.'" In the face of reputation-damaging public reaction, Farrell ended up not publishing the book.[15]

Why Men Are The Way They Are[edit]

Farrell's books each contain personal introductions that describe his perspective on how aspects of public consciousness and his own personal development led to the 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 also learn about men's feelings of being misrepresented.[16] He wrote Why Men Are The Way They Are[17] to answer women's questions about men in a way he hoped rang true for the men.

He distinguished between what he believed to be each sex's primary fantasies and primary needs, stating 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."[18][19] He asserts that 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." Similarly he asserts that 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."[20] Due partially to Oprah Winfrey's support, Why Men Are the Way They Are became his best-selling book.[citation needed]

The Myth of Male Power[edit]

In 1993, Farrell wrote The Myth of Male Power, in which he argued that the widespread perception of men having inordinate social and economic power is false, and that men are systematically disadvantaged in many ways.

The Myth of Male Power was 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 that money is one form of power. However, Farrell also 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.

In the men's rights movement, The Myth of Male Power is sometimes referred to as "The Bible" and the "red pill", but critics of the book accused it of promoting misogyny.[15] Susan Faludi argued that Farrell had effectively recanted his original position as part of a generalized backlash against feminism.[22]

Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say and Father and Child Reunion[edit]

The increase in divorces in the 1980s and 1990s turned Farrell's writing toward two issues: the poverty of couples' communication[23] and children's loss of their father in child custody cases.[24]

In Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say,[25] 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.[26][27]

To address children's loss of their father in child custody cases, Farrell wrote Father and Child Reunion,[28] 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.[29] 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[edit]

By the start of the 21st century, Farrell felt he had re-examined every substantial adult male-female issue except the pay gap (i.e., that men as a group tend to earn more money than women as a group).[30] In Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap—and What Women Can Do About It,[31] he documents 25 differences in men and women's work-life choices which, he argues, account for most or all of the pay gap more accurately than did claims of widespread discrimination against women. Common to each of men's choices was earning more money, while each of women's choices prioritized having a more-balanced life.[citation needed] These 25 differences allowed Farrell to offer women 25 ways to higher pay—and accompany each with their possible trade-offs.[32] The trade-offs include working more hours and for more years; taking technical or more-hazardous jobs; relocating overseas or traveling overnight.[33] This led to considerable praise for Why Men Earn More as a career book for women.[34]

Some of Farrell's findings in Why Men Earn More include his analysis of census bureau data that never-married women without children earn 13% more than their male counterparts, and that the gender pay gap is largely about married men with children who earn more due to their assuming more workplace obligations. 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.[35]

Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?[edit]

Farrell's most recent book, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? (ISBN 978-0195312836), 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.[36] Farrell and Sterba debated 13 topics, from children's and fathers' rights, to the "Boy Crisis."

Critical reception[edit]

Early critiques in the New York Times Book Review by Larry McMurtry and John Leonard included disdain for Farrell's use of gender neutral language in The Liberated Man.[37] More recently, conservative and antifeminist Phyllis Schlafly labels Farrell a "feminist apologist," though praises his research for Father and Child Reunion.[38]

Praise of Warren Farrell include Kate Zernike of The Boston Globe ranking him as "the sage of the men's movement,"[39] and the description of him as the "Gloria Steinem of men's liberation"[40] by Carol Kleiman of the Chicago Tribune. Esquire ranked Farrell, Thomas Aquinas, and John Stuart Mill as three of history's leading male feminists.[41]

Farrell's recent collaborations with Ken Wilber,[42][43] John Gray,[44] and Richard Bolles,[45] have introduced his messages to more diverse and receptive audiences.

Personal life[edit]

Farrell with Robert Redford, Bylle Szaggars, and Liz Dowling

Farrell married Ursula (Ursie), a mathematician and IBM executive, in the sixties. After 10 years of marriage, in 1976, he and Ursie separated and subsequently divorced.[10][46][47][48] After what Farrell described as "twenty years of adventuresome single-hood", he married Liz Dowling in August 2002.[4] He has two step-daughters.[4] They live in Mill Valley, California.[49]

Farrell backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election.[50]

Other activities[edit]

Farrell addressing world conference of spiritual leaders, 2010
Dr. Warren Farrell speaking on the boy crisis at the University of Toronto, November 16, 2012

During the California gubernatorial recall election, Farrell ran as a Democratic candidate,[5] on a platform of father's rights,[51] and received 626 votes.[52] Farrell's current foci are conducting communication workshops,[53] being an expert witness[54] in child custody cases[53] and researching a forthcoming book (working title The Boy Crisis), 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),[55] addressing the evolution of love. He was then invited by the Center on World Spirituality to be one of their world leaders.[56] Dr. Farrell speaks frequently on boys, men’s and gender issues, including doing a keynote in 2016 for UK Male Psychology Conference.[57]

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.[58] In April 2015 the coalition went to Iowa to discuss their position with 2016 U.S. presidential candidates.[59]



  1. ^ “Men, Power, Money, and Sex,” Psychology Today, July 17, 2014. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-do-life/201407/men-power-money-and-sex
  2. ^ The Boy Crisis is scheduled for publication in January, 2018 by BenBella press. His other books on men’s and women’s studies are The Myth of Male Power (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1993); Women 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. ^ a b Deutsch, Claudia H. (February 27, 2005). "At Lunch With Warren Farrell: Are Women Responsible for Their Own Low Pay?". The New York Times. New York: NYTC. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Farrell, Warren. "Warren Farrell". Midland Park High School Class of 1961 website. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "In the Running for California Governor". Los Angeles Times. 10 August 2003. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ "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
  7. ^ Warren Farrell, The Liberated Man, (N.Y.:Random House, 1974), the Personal Introduction
  8. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.:Putnam/Penguin, 2001), Biography
  9. ^ a b c Warren Farrell, The Liberated Man, (N.Y.: Random House, 1974), the Personal Introduction
  10. ^ a b Warrick, Pamela (1993-08-09). "A New Role for Men: Victim : Former feminist Warren Farrell says he's sick and tired of guys getting bashed. 'Male power,' he proclaims, is just a myth.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  11. ^ The "success object" parallel is featured on the back cover of The Liberated Man (N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1975) in paperback.
  12. ^ Janet Cooke, Men Taking Turn in Beauty Contest Get Insights Into Woman's Role, Toledo Blade, November 19, 1979
  13. ^ Mimi Avins, "Men's Advocate in a Woman's World," Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2000.
  14. ^ J. Steven Svoboda (1997). “Interview with Warren Farrell” MenWeb.com, accessed 28 November 2012
  15. ^ a b Blake, Mariah (January–February 2015). "Mad Men: Inside the men's rights movement—and the army of misogynists and trolls it spawned". Mother Jones. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  16. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Are the Way they Are, (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1986), Personal Introduction.
  17. ^ See http://www.warrenfarrell.us
  18. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Are the Way They Are, (N.Y.:McGraw-Hill, 1986), Chp. 5
  19. ^ Farrell, Warren, Ph.D. "15 Intriguing Thoughts About Men, Women and Relationships (for / Midland Park High School’s 50th Reunion / September 10, 2011)" (PDF). Archived from the original on August 7, 2017. Both sexes are biologically programmed to fall in love with the members of the opposite sex who are the least capable of loving. Men fall in love with women who are young and therefore less mature in their relationship skills, and beautiful, which usually means men compete to take care of them; women fall in love with men who are successful without realizing that many of the qualities it takes to be successful at work are inversely related to what it takes to be successful in love. 
  20. ^ Warren Farrell, Why Men Are the Way They Are, (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1986)
  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. ^ Faludi, Susan. "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women," Crown Publishers, NY: 1991. pp. 300-304.
  23. ^ Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, (N.Y.: Penguin/Putnam, 2000), Personal Introduction
  24. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin, 2001), the Personal Introduction
  25. ^ Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, (N.Y.:Penguin/Putnam, 1999)See http://www.warrenfarrell.info
  26. ^ Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, (N.Y.:Penguin/Putnam, 1999)
  27. ^ Esalen Institute: http://www.esalen.org/workshops/searchfiles/workshopdetail.lasso?RecordNum=8364&-session=Reservation_Session:1805754816b5123055MPR22567D8
  28. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin, 2001). See: http://www.warrenfarrell.biz
  29. ^ Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion, (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin, 2001).
  30. ^ 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
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ 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 https://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
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ Warren Farrell and James Sterba, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men, (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2008) Preface and Introduction.
  37. ^ John Leonard, "Gender Gap: The Last Word", The New York Times, Book Review, back page, Feb. 9, 1975 and Larry McMurtry, The New York Times Book Review, January 5, 1975
  38. ^ Phyllis Schlafly keynote, American Coalition for Fathers and Children's National Family Law Reform Conference, Washington, D.C., 2006.
  39. ^ Zernike, Kate. "Feminism Has Created Progress, But Man, Oh, Man, Look What Else." Chicago Tribune 21 June 1997. Web.
  40. ^ Kleiman, Carol. "400 men try to beat 'chauvinist pig' rap." The Montreal Gazette 29 December 1977, p.27. Print.
  41. ^ Esquire, July 1973. "THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT WOMEN.
  42. ^ deVos, Corey (2008-06-16). "Warren Farrell on Integral Naked - Redefining the Relationships Between Men and Women". KenWilber.com. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  43. ^ deVos, Corey (2008-07-17). "Warren Farrell - Beyond Feminism and Masculism". Holons. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  44. ^ "Authors John Gray and Warren Farrell on "Men, Women, Love & Chaos"". Goldstar. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  45. ^ "What Color is Your Parachute?: Earning versus Living". 2008-06-13. Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  46. ^ "Warren Farrell: the Bert Parks of men's liberation". The Telegraph-Herald. 3 October 1976. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  47. ^ MacPherson, Myra. "Warren Farrell:Men need women committed to Lib Movement". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The Washington Post. p. 6-E. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  48. ^ "Make way for male mystique". April 1, 1973. 
  49. ^ http://warrenfarrell.com/pages.php?id=51
  50. ^ Goodwin, Liz (May 18, 2016). "The ‘men’s rights’ pioneer who backs Hillary Clinton". Yahoo! News. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  51. ^ "California Recall- one of 135". CNN. 27 August 2003. 
  52. ^ "CA Secretary of State - Statewide Special - Candidates to succeed Gray Davis as Governor if he is recalled". vote2003.sos.ca.gov. November 5, 2003. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  53. ^ a b See http://www.warrenfarrell.com/pages.php?id-52
  54. ^ See http://warrenfarrell.biz/services
  55. ^ http://warrenfarrell.com/articles.php?id=81
  56. ^ "Center for World Spirituality founded by Marc Gafni, Mariana Caplan". Center for Integral Wisdom. 
  57. ^ http://mra-uk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Male-Psychology-Conference-2016.jpg
  58. ^ Kanani, Rahim (2011-09-05). "The Need to Create a White House Council on Boys to Men". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  59. ^ Alexander, Rachel (April 20, 2015). "Which Presidential Candidates Will Support a White House Council on Boys and Men?". Townhall.com. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 

External links[edit]