Monday, January 21, 2008

Self-Made Man


Misty Irons over at More Musings on Christianity, Homosexuality, and the Bible has posted a fascinating review of a former L.A. Times columnist's new book Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back Again. In the book, Norah Vincent describes an 18-month experiment she conducted by "going undercover" and dressing as and living like a man.
For a period of eighteen months as "Ned" she joined a bowling league, dated women, went to strip clubs, worked in sales, and even lived in a monastery for her research.
Norah was interested in investigating whether it is true that it is easier to be a man in American culture. What she found surprised her.
Instead of living large once she was freed from the social expectations of femaleness, as a male she felt she encountered only a different type of repression, a different set of problems. She learned that the only socially acceptable emotion Ned was allowed to express was anger ("As a guy you get about a three-note emotional range"). She found that women were immediately hostile to Ned on the first date ("'Pass my test and then we'll see if you're worthy of me' was the implicit message coming across the table at me. And this from women who had demonstrably little to offer"). Among men Ned was always on guard against doing anything that might get him labeled a "fag."
...

The entire book, in fact, could be summed up as a politically incorrect critique of radical, anti-male feminism. And no one is in a better position to pull it off with greater credibility than this free-thinking lesbian intellectual.

Norah Vincent's message to women is: Men aren't what you think.

Her message to men is: You have it harder than people know.
Interesting. I'd love to read this book someday.

1 comment:

TweetyJill said...

I want to read this book too.

My favourite quote from the article was:

"She found that women were immediately hostile to Ned on the first date ("'Pass my test and then we'll see if you're worthy of me' was the implicit message coming across the table at me. And this from women who had demonstrably little to offer")"

This statement made me laugh.

I have found that as a self labelled feminist, I have had to be careful about how I treat issues of equality. I find that in generalizing about men being chauvinist dogs(I don't belive this), I am in a sense doing the same thing I accuse them off, in the reverse.

I will admit that I have had to reteach myself and unlearn some not so respectful to men ideas and opinions I learnt from my women's college days. Not to say here that women's colleges are a bad thing in itself but there are generally a disproportionate number of women who have a axe to grind with the other sex.