Summary of Barbara Ehrenreich’s “What I’ve Learned from Men”

Last Updated: 12 Mar 2023
Essay type: Summary
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In “What I’ve Learned from Men” (215), Barbara Ehrenreich describes the things that women should try to learn from men. Through her serious and sarcastic notes, she explains that women should get tough and be able to take credit as men do. The author stresses that gender battles and arguments affect women’s desire to become tough. Women are willing to refuse being ladylike (216) putting themselves in front of men. Ehrenreich argues that women are discriminated as they viewed mentally weaker than men.

During the course of Ehrenreich’s writing, she argues that some women used to view men as unclassy and selfish human beings who require the ability to give respect to women and to acknowledge the fact that women are able to take care of themselves and of others without their assistance. Thus, the stereotype of ladylikeness is something that should be broken. Ehrenreich continues her writing offering practical recommendations for women who are willing to become tough.

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She writes (217) that small acts of deference must be cut back, and programs to perform ladylike must be re-shaped. Further, women must be encouraged not to take responsibility of every human interaction they are engaged with. However, men will view such deference as deliberate act of hostility (217). Finally, the author recommends learning from men how to deal with anger. She argues that the key difference is that men get mad, whereas women get irritated.

Women are recommended to express justified anger clearly and colorfully. Ehrenreich arrives at her definitive conclusion with, “I stand up and announce coolly, ‘I’ve had enough of this crap’, then I walk out – slowly, deliberately, confidently. Just like men” (218). Works Cited Ehrenreich, Barbara. “What I’ve Learned from Men”. The Longman Reader. 8th Edition. Eds. Judith Nadell, John Langan, and Eliza A. Comodromos. Longman, 2007, pp. 215-218. .

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Summary of Barbara Ehrenreich’s “What I’ve Learned from Men”. (2016, Jul 17). Retrieved from

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