Self-Made Man

In Self-Made Man: My Year Disguised as a Man, Norah Vincent disguises herself as man to experience what it is like living as the other agenda. Throughout the book she discusses her experiences, joining a bowling team, dating, having a job, going on a men’s retreat and even spending time in a monastery.

I would say that what she found was fairly predictable. However, I am aware that I probably think that because I am a man and thus have been in the male-culture she wanted to experience all my life. Of course, there is a degree of stereotype to what she finds, but there is probably a lot of truth that men are more emotionally distant from each other, and while women feel their rights and responsibilities are oppressed, men feel oppressed by the responsibilities of having those rights and responsibilities.

I struggled to fully identify with many of the characters in the book however. I do not think I have it has bad as those. If I have an emotional problem, I can talk about it with Elina, my parents or my friends. To an a limited extend perhaps, but a limit that far exceeds the emotionally-bottled-up characters that Norah’s alter ego Ned encounters during his research.

At the end of the book, Norah concludes that she is glad to be a woman. However, it is probably impossible to separate the strain of living in a man’s world from the strain of masking her own identity with that of Ned’s, so drawing much conclusion from that is difficult.

In the end, it comes down to what most sensible people know already. Both genders have problems. Both genders suffer inequality in different areas, some more than others. Working to reduce inequality across everyone will be mutually beneficial for everyone – fighting for women’s issues makes the world better for me, and fighting for men’s issues makes the world better for women. We can all win together.

Self-Made Man



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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 10:43 am and is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.