I’ve just finished a book which, to my surprise, I recommend highly.
Norah Vincent, 52, is an American lesbian feminist. She wrote four books, the most famous being Self-Made Man: My Year Disguised as a Man (2006). In the book she relates the story of her 18-month experiment in which she lived disguised as a man, “Ned”. She dated women, joined an all-male bowling club, joined a men’s therapy group, went to a strip club, and used her knowledge as a lapsed Catholic to visit monks in a cloister.
The book is very well written, and it’s a revelation to read how men’s lives look, viewed through a woman’s eyes. Her discoveries about the reality of men’s lives, and consequent admiration for them – with possibly predictable reservations – make for compelling reading. Only very occasionally does she let her ideology trump her intelligence, as with one mention of “men suffer from patriarchy, too”, but such lines are few and far between, and may have been included as a nod to the sisterhood. You can buy the paperback in “very good” condition from £3.47, delivered, the hardback for a little more.
Suffering from depression after 18 months living disguised as a man, Vincent felt she was a danger to herself. On the advice of her psychologist she committed herself to a mental institution, and was later to spend time in two more. She related the story of those experiences in Voluntary Madness (2008). I look forward to reading that soon (the hardback was £3.48, delivered, in “very good” condition and was as good as new). Gotta love Amazon…
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