We Made Our Bed and Now We Have to Sleep in It – The Unmade Bed Book Review

When I was growing up, I loved Mary Kate and Ashley movies. This comes as no surprise to those who knew me as a teenager but my favorite one was Holiday in the Sun (just cued up that soundtrack to help me write this post). In the movie, Mary Kate and Ashley frequently use metaphors and then question what the hell it means. “You know what your problem is? You want to have your cake and eat it too.”

Why am I telling you this? One of their metaphors was “We made our bed, and now we have to sleep in it.” One of them says it, the other one looks her at like what are you talking about? and they discuss the relevance to their current boy drama situation. When I started The Unmade Bed I thought that it would be about two working adults with children who pass like ships in the morning, and neither of them has time to make the bed. Once I got in to the book, I thought he was going to alude to the Mary Kate and Ashley quote – suggesting that our current culture should catch up to the feminism that is already present. Instead, making a bed isn’t actually mentioned until page 188 and it relates to neither of those ideas.

When a man and woman fall into bed together, they might have each other, when one of them makes the bed, they have a relationship.

Having considered all three options, I think Mary Kate and Ashley were the closest to guessing the meaning behind the title.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

With a refreshing and honest voice, Stephen Marche delivers his vision for what true equality between men and women really means and what it could look like. As he does, he discovers not only commonalities, but contradictions, and that for the first time ever, women and men are truly coming to know each other. Marche has found a compelling way to draw upon the latest research about gender relationships while providing his own commentary and synthesis in a successful combination of academic/scientific research and personal experience that is highlighted by his wife’s annotations.

unmade bed


To be honest, I picked up this book because I saw it on Instagram when I was traveling in early March. It was touted to be both well researched and deeply personal. I was intrigued. It also vaguely reminded me of the book The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis that I’m still mad I didn’t pick up over the Christmas holiday when it was huge (adding to TBR…). I thought I may learn a lot and have a new book to share with friends and family.

End Result: I won’t be recommending the book to friends and family but I did LEARN A TON! I would highly suggest going to see Stephen Marche if he is doing a book tour or a TED talk or anything like that. He has a lot of ideas that are so far from mainstream, and not because they’re wrong, but because most people haven’t even seen the side of feminism he’s focusing on. (An interview I found that may sum up a lot of this book)

I’ll give you a quick teaser of the ideas I want to incorporate in to my everyday philosophy and share with friends:

  1. Feminism is HERE

We live in a “post-feminist” world as he calls it. In today’s world, to keep women down, it costs countries huge amounts of money. More women are graduating from college than men and this trend will only continue. At first, when Marche makes the claim that “we don’t need more marches”, I felt offended, but I actually think he’s right. We live in a post-feminist world and now the men need to catch up and let us live it.

Modernity is irrevocably feminist. Insofar as a country prospers, it pospers by way of women. In 2006, an OECD study demonstrated what common sense tells us: The countries where women flourish are the most stable, the most technologially advanced, the most peaceful, the richest, the most powerful. They are the countries that people in the rest of the world want to move to. Patriarchy is damn expensive. That’s why its doomed.

2. We can give women all the benefits they deserve, but until we start giving them to men,  women can not benefit. 

I  think the following quote sums it up pretty well – but it makes sense. A woman may be less invested in at work because it is expected that she will leave soon to have babies. What if that wasn’t the case and men were going to leave too, or neither of them had to take the burden fully?

The fact is, men can’t have it all, for the same reason women can’t: whether or not the load is being shared fifty-fifty if the load is unbearable. It will not become bareable when women lean in, or once the consciousness is raised, or once men are full partners, always, in domestic life. It will become bearable when decidedly more quotidian things become commonplace, like paid parental  leave and affordable, quality day care.

3. We need to treat boys like the men we want them to become

Men’s friendships suffer from the “bro” culture and boys in school aren’t succeeding because not much is expected from them. They are taught to be crude and this leads directly in to something called “the masculine overcompensation thesis” which has  been tested at UC Berkeley.  This says that when men were told they were showing feminine traits, they increased “their support for war, homophobia, male dominance, and ‘purchasing an SUV'”. I found this to be a really interesting side of things and it is something I keep thinking about since reading the book.

Donald Trump, as a political phenomenon, is the purest possible expression of masculine overcompensation in the history of the Republic.

Some Crazy Facts (because this book was FULL of them)

On the Importance of Fathers

Fatherlessness as a condition has been linked with virtually every social ill you can name: young men who grew up without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail. 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes, as are 71 percent of high school dropouts, 85 percent of children diagnosed with behavioral disorders, and 70 percent of all juvenile detainees,

Honestly, it keeps going, but if you want to read more – grab a copy of the book!

Male Suicide Rates are Crazy High

Economic pressures are the most compelling reason; for example, after the 2008 crash the number of suicides increased globally by 3.3 percent. More substantial, the more complicated and disturbing answer is cultural. Suicide is not connected to religious values or traditional family structure. It is directly related to loneliness, to social isolation. And not only are American men more likely do be lonely, but they are more likely to deny their loneliness.


I could definitely keep going with more fun facts and interesting (to me) discussion, but I don’t wnat to spoil the book!

As you can see,  I learned a lot and the book was thought provoking, but I found it repetitive and the tone a bit intense. Overall – 3 stars, would recommend a TED talk for consumption of idea 🙂


Did you read it? Let me know what you thought!

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