The Manipulated Man

Esther Vilar

The Manipulated Man (German: ‘Der Dressierte Mann’) is a 1971 book by author Argentinian-German writer Esther Vilar, which argues that, contrary to common feminist and women’s rights rhetoric, women in industrialized cultures are not oppressed, but rather exploit a well-established system of manipulating men.

A third edition of the book was released in 2009. Vilar writes, ‘Men have been trained and conditioned by women, not unlike the way Pavlov conditioned his dogs, into becoming their slaves. As compensation for their labors men are given periodic use of a woman’s vagina.’ The book contends that young boys are encouraged to associate their masculinity with their ability to be sexually intimate with a woman, and that a woman can control a man by socially empowering herself to be the gate-keeper to his sense of masculinity.

The author says that social definitions and norms, such as the idea that women are weak, are constructed by women with their needs in mind, and that praise is only given to a man when a woman’s needs are met in some way. Vilar claims that women can control their emotional reactions whereas men cannot, and that women create overly-dramatized emotional reactions to attempt to control men and get their way.

She says that women ‘blackmail’ men and use sex as a tool. The book argues that women use traditions and concepts of love and romance, which are seen more positively than sex, to control men’s sexual lives. Vilar writes that men gain nothing from marriage and that women, who are out to get men’s money, coerce them into marriage under the pretense that it is romantic.

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