The End of Manhood: Parables on Sex and Selfhood

The End of Manhood: Parables on Sex and Selfhood

The End of Manhood: Parables on Sex and Selfhood

The End of Manhood: Parables on Sex and Selfhood

Synopsis

This book offers an alternative to the cult of masculinity and important insights into the behaviour of violent gangs and race-hate groups. Readers will find new perspectives on intimacy, identity, gender and violence.

Excerpt

Gender theory in the academy is sometimes like a private joke: You can “get it” if you are in on the jargon; but if you are not, you can't. Gender theory is rarely simply told. More often it is willfully obfuscated, propounded in sentences so packed with self-referential abstraction that they seem never to be about anything. Academic gender theory's relationship to people's real lives can seem as tenuous as its hold on recognizable human speech.

I do not believe this must be. I believe that a radical investigation of gender-a look at it by its roots-can be done with everyday language about everyday experience. This method not only makes more sense, it also more accurately reflects our social reality. We all first learned to find a suitable niche inside the gender system through narratives of real life: stories and dramas in which we were shown our part and how to play it. This learning was interactive, for as we played our part well or poorly, we were made ever more mindful of what bad things can happen to us if we do not do better. As we acted in accord with our own designated niche, so also we acted in our dealings with other people in accord with theirs. the prescripts of transactional conduct not only kept everyone who abided by them stationed somewhere in the gender system; these rules also gave the whole system its narrative meaning and force. To step outside the strictures of

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