What I'm Reading


  • Prince and David Bowie, showed there’s no one right way to be a man

    'Prince and Bowie were living arguments that there is no one way, and no correct way for a man to dress, to move, to decide what he values, to choose who he loves or where he stands in relation to that person.'

    'It’s true that in recent years, the Super Bowl halftime show has often been a showcase for women in the midst of a clash between men... Prince’s appearance on the Super Bowl stage in 2007 was an argument, at this particular worship service dedicated to traditional masculinity, for a vastly huger range of possible ways for a man to command the nation.'

    Mourning Prince and David Bowie, who showed there’s no one right way to be a man

  • 'The male ideal of chivalry had one cardinal stipulation: to defend the weak with courage and loyalty. The weakness of women was thus contained in a cultural system in which it was acknowledged and glorified because it transfigured male power and female frailty into lovable qualities… Women’s social inferiority could thus be traded for men’s absolute devotion in love, which in turn served as the very site of display and exercise of their masculinity, prowess, and honor. More: women’s dispossession of economic and political rights was accompanied (and presumably compensated) by the reassurance that in love they were not only protected by men but also superior to them. It is therefore unsurprising that love has been historically so powerfully seductive to women; it promised them the moral status and dignity they were otherwise denied in society and it glorified their social fate: taking care of and loving others, as mothers, wives, and lovers. Thus, historically, love was highly seductive precisely because it concealed as it beautified the deep inequalities at the heart of gender relationships.' https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/03/22/why-love-hurts-eva-illouz/

    Eva Illouz in 'Why Love Hurts'
  • Laura Kipnis - cultural critic and feminist thinker on her book

    "Women have become habituated (and I include myself in this) to playing the role of scold and moral corrective and standing on the mountaintop while at the same time, at least for heterosexual women, desiring men as partner, lovers, fathers... It's just very conflicting because we very much disapprove of men and want men to be different than they are and also want a man to be with."

  • We should all be feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | TEDxEuston

    "We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity becomes a small, hard cage and we put boys inside that cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear. We teach boys to be afraid of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves."

    "What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity with money?"

    "But by far the worst thing we do to males by making them feel that they have to be hard, is that we leave them with very fragile egos... And then we do a much greater disservice to girls because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of men. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, 'You can have , but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in the relationship with the man, you have to pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.'"

    "Why should a woman's success be a threat to a man?"

    "What if we simply decide to dispose of that word - emasculation."

    "A man who would be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in."

    "Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I'm expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important."

    "Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same."

    "A woman who hasn't married at a certain age, our society sees it as a deep personal failure. And a man of a certain age who is unmarried, we just think he hasn't come around to making his pick."

    "We teach females that in relationships, compromise is what women do. We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are."

    "We teach girls shame. 'Close your legs! Cover yourself!' We make girls feel as though by being born female they are already guilty of something. As so, girls grow up to be women who cannot see they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think...They grow up to be women who turn pretense into an art form."

    "The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are."

    "The first time I taught a writing class in graduate school I was worried. I wasn't worried about the material I would teach. I was worried about what to wear. I wanted to be taken seriously. I knew that because I was female I would automatically have to prove my worth and I was worried that if I looked too feminine I would not be taken seriously. I really wanted to wear my shiny lipgloss and my girly skirt, but I decided not to. Instead, I wore a very serious, very manly and very ugly suit. Because the sad truth is that when it comes to appearance we start of with men as the standard, as the norm. If a man is getting ready for a business meeting, he doesn't worry about looking too masculine, and therefore not being taken seriously. If a woman is getting ready for a business meeting, she has to worry about looking to feminine and what it says and whether or not she will be taken seriously."

    "Many men do not actively think about gender. That is part of the problem of gender. Many men say that everything is fine now. Many men do nothing to change it [the current inequalities]"

    "Gender and class are different forms of oppression. I actually learned a lot about systems of oppression and how they can be blind to one another by talking to black men. I was once talking to a black man about gender and he said, 'Why do you have to say "my experience as a woman"? Why can't it be "your experience as a human being"?' Now, this was the same man who would often talk about his experience as a black man."

    "Bottom power is not real power at all. Bottom power simply means that a woman has a good root to tap into from time to time - somebody else's power."