Bowling leagues, strip clubs, and first dates are interesting places to explore versions of masculinity, but its not as if these can hold the truth about what it means To Be a Man across time and space and within different cultures.
There's your premise in a nutshell: assertive, opinionated Vincent, best known as a contrarian columnist for The Los Angeles Times, goes undercover as a man to learn how the fellas think and act when them pesky broads ain't around.Norah Vincent is a conservative lesbian journalist who for a year and a half, dressed as a man and to explore gender identity.I do know women who are like that, but I have to say, they are NOT representative of my experience or of my self.With wary exceptions, Ned is welcomed with warmth (or ultimate hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy mobi men's version of warmth trust (or men's version of trust) and a willingness to share confidences - or what pass for confidences between men, which Vincent perceives as often going unsaid.For Ned's glimpse into the trussed male psyche causes the author profound sorrow on men's account.Written in a very accessible and witty manner, Self Made Man is a fascinating, if problematic, read.
I recently reread the entire book and was surprised by how much my thoughts on book had evolved since those days in my first Anthro class.
Norah passed so impeccably as Ned that towards the end of her impersonation she didn't bother with the stubble.
How lucky for the author!But the very fact that no one paid her any mind was a small revelation.I'm really a woman!" I find it amazing that nobody she deceived was hurt to the core - or beat her.Self-Made Man: My Year Disguised as a Man by Norah Vincent, atlantic.99, pp304, not many women could get away with successfully impersonating a man over a long period, but then, not many men have the balls Norah Vincent has.And so Norah transforms herself into Ned.and to penetrate exclusively masculine social arenas in order to discover, among other things, what the guys say about us women behind our backs.Her project to experience life as a man turns into a personal nightmare.She shoves aside the way it intersects with race, class, and other axises of identity.The author comes up with nothing anybody with half a brain didn't already know: "masculinity" is just as much of a potentially crippling construct as "femininity".One night a few years ago, she explains in the first chapter, a "drag king" friend of hers dared her to dress as a man and go for a walk in New York's East Village.