A Frenchman's Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships

Vive La Difference

Non-Fiction - Relationships
169 Pages
Reviewed on 07/14/2020
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Author Biography

Guy Blaise moved from France to the US where he lives and works in the Biotech industry. He is the author of three books. Guy loves to travel and learn about different cultures. He enjoys martial arts and playing sports in his spare time.
J'adore l'Amerique et je vous salue tous!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

After moving to the United States from France over two decades ago, Guy Blaise was constantly faced with misogynistic attitudes towards women from American men. Having four daughters himself, he feared what future relationships they would experience. Why did French males value their spouses and the institution of marriage while American men followed the 'man-code' where mockery, degradation, and infidelity against their wives were normal practice? Using research, poll studies, personal stories, and his own observations, A Frenchman's Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships discovers the many different belief systems between the two nationalities. As French women have taken huge steps forward regarding pay equality and their demand for respect, what steps can their American counterparts take to ensure the next generation can experience life and a successful career on a more equal footing?

A Frenchman's Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships: Vive La Difference by Guy Blaise is an absolute must-read for any woman or indeed parents of daughters. The belief system of the 'man-code' was truly disturbing and although I was aware of the inequalities in the home and workplace, most of the attitudes held by men were deplorable. This is, however, not a book whose sole purpose is to dissect men's behavior; the author shares his optimistic views, very eloquently, on how this situation can be improved. I loved the chapter on the importance of finding shared values regarding children, finances, and domestic chores before marriage. His advice for women to empower themselves is quite insightful. Unlike French women who seem confident in their own abilities and have high self-worth, American women's attitudes are completely opposite. These attitudes definitely seem to hold the secret for change to begin. The interview sections of the book were very interesting and I especially enjoyed the female CEO outlining her experiences. All the information was backed up with poll results and research data. Although this book cannot be held as a blueprint for all American and French males, I feel it would make an excellent read for parents and students as a springboard for some important debates on the subject of equality. If parents can take the findings from this book and teach their children the importance of having high self-worth and respect for others, then the next generation may make some steps forward regarding gender equality.

Viga Boland

Why is it important for both American men and women to read A Frenchman’s Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships by Guy Blaise? Because it’s eye-opening and fascinating! What’s more, not only does it make me wish I lived in France, but the author’s motivation in writing this book was to help American women wake up to the fact that “they live in a society that only pays lip service to equal rights for women.” Well wake us up it does. And if American men really do care about the rights and well-being of their wives and partners, then they too must read this book. There is so much insight and wisdom in Guy Blaise’s conclusions. For instance, consider this: “To love is to give a person the power to destroy you. You’re handing over the remote control to your life. Your partner can either nurture that love or tear it down. There is nothing wrong with following your heart when selecting a partner but don’t exclude your brain from the process.”

Blaise touches on many aspects of male/female relationships. He examines the differences between the French and American approaches to love, sex, work, family, and friends. He questions the overly-heavy influence of organized religion and the Bible on our relationships. He reminds us that gender equality in all areas is still a long way from ideal, but the persistence and determination of French women are bringing about change a lot faster in France than in the US. Did you know, for instance, that in France’s private sector, women earn 93% of what men earn? In comparison, “More than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was adopted in the U.S., the pay structure still reflects an obsolete belief that men have a more important role in society.” Hence, American women, at best, are still only being paid 70-80% of what men earn for the same work.

There is so much I could say about this short but incredibly informative book. What a great book club selection this would be. The discussion would be lively and contentious but so worthwhile. The author presents his ideas in short, focussed chapters, often using powerful metaphors to illustrate his points. Blaise’s Chapter 8, titled “Eleven Tips from French women for their American counterparts” is priceless, but then, this entire book is priceless! Buy it; read it; discuss it. This is a keeper!

Maria Victoria Beltran

A Frenchman's Perspective On American Women, Love, Respect, And Relationships: Vive La Difference by Guy Blaise is a very enlightening book that is aimed at women, and I should say, men, from all over the world. Each chapter has a French sub-heading, complete with English translation such as: “Les meilleurs mariages se font entre pareils, ”meaning the best marriages are between equals. The book has twenty-five chapters and ends with a conclusion that is actually a call to action. Anecdotal and concise, the book is an easy read and is based on the author's personal experience. The author compares the French woman to her American counterpart on their views on love, respect, and relationships.

Frenchman Guy Blaise has lived for over two decades in the United States of America and this experience has given him a unique perspective on how French women differ from American women when it comes to their views specifically on relationships. His essays and letters, which are incorporated in his book, give it a very personal touch. Reading A Frenchman's Perspective On American Women, Love, Respect, And Relationships thus becomes like a conversation with somebody you somehow know. And in exposing the so-called American “man-code” and enlightening his readers on the stereotypes about Frenchmen, it is an interesting glimpse at two cultures. I especially like the inclusion of French proverbs and the call for action in conclusion. And as an Asian woman, I certainly hope that all the women in the world will heed his call.

Susan Sewell

Counseling women to stop waiting for Prince Charming, and prompting the fathers of daughters to recognize the battles their girls must fight, the eye-opening book, A Frenchman's Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships: Vive La Difference by Guy Blaise, encourages men and women to alter the outdated gender role delineations. Currently, we live in a male-dominated world, where women still bear the stigma of being incompetent and inferior. Sadly, this unhealthy attitude even finds its way into the intimacy of the bedroom. In our society, there are many challenges females confront in their efforts to be respected and valued as equals. The author urges women to stand up for themselves and expect respect from their counterparts. Supporting women in the fight for equal wages and respect is advantageous for everyone and is a step forward in erasing the adverse effects of sexism.

A Frenchman's Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships by Guy Blaise is a brilliant and compelling non-fiction book that explores the reality of sexism in America. Dispelling preconceived ideas of a fairytale life, and initiating a fresh view into self-empowerment, the far-reaching concepts bring clarity to a societal issue that is long overdue for a transformation. Though the theories may seem radical at first, the author explains his reasoning through interviews and experience. Seen from an outside point of view, it is a mind-blowing book that will inspire everyone looking for a fresh and insightful outlook on women's rights and equality.

Gobi Jane

A Frenchman’s Perspective on American Women, Love, Respect, and Relationships: Vive La Difference by Guy Blaise is a nonfiction book that discusses relationships from a unique angle. Having lived in the US for 23 years, the author, born in the southeast of France, shares his thoughts and observations on American women, sexuality, and relationships. While the book is slim, it covers a variety of topics, including the American “man-code” which describes the implicit understanding that questionable actions, however sexist and misogynistic, can be condoned as long as they are kept secret between men. He discusses what Frenchmen consider to be a good relationship, explores the differences in how French and American males treat women, and explores the popular concepts and beliefs when it comes to relationships, underlining the American concept of “Prince Charming” as opposed to the French idea of equality and romance, and a lot more.

Guy Blaise’s book challenges many things that are overlooked in relationships and identifies qualities that make good relationships. Written in a style that is simple and littered with the author’s personal experiences, encounters, and conversations with people, this book redefines relationships and the place of respect in human intercourse. His observant style pulled me in and I enjoyed the fact that he uses real-life examples and personal stories to drive the message home to readers. The author is someone whose curiosity about the American approach to relationships was stirred by witnessing a friend having sex with another woman the day before his wedding, accompanied by his friends. But that is just one of the shocking things he was to experience and this book is filled with similar stories, where the notion of respect is questionable in American relationships. While this book exposes the differences in the way people from two different cultures approach relationships, it is packed with relationship advice and the “savoir-vivre” that gives elegance to human interactions. It is filled with insight and wisdom.