The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy

The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy

The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy

The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy

Excerpt

The Gender Knot flows from many parts of my life. It is based on more than thirty years of work around issues of gender inequality, from reading and teaching and research to giving speeches at rallies to testifying before legislative committees to writing op-ed pieces to working in corporations and schools with men and women trying to understand what living in a patriarchal world is about.

It has been shaped by my experience growing up and living as a male in the United States. As a boy who liked literature more than football, for example, I often felt on the outside of the young-boy macho in-crowd, a vantage point that ultimately enabled me, I think, to see many things about gender more clearly and notice many other things that I would otherwise have missed. I've also had to come to terms with my mother and father and how their lives and our relationships were shaped by the choices they made within patriarchy as it shaped their generation. I've had to navigate the aggressive ritual of status competition among boys and men. I've had to move from avoiding men as dangerous and untrustworthy to, during five years in a weekly men's group, rediscovering what men can be beneath the distortions of patriarchal masculinity. I've had to resolve the massive contradictions between my need and love for women and the horrendous damage patriarchal culture does to gender relations and sexuality. I've had to learn to accept the social fact of male privilege and the damage it does . . .

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