Aug 312008

One thing that fascinates me is the attraction between the various genders of our species. Gender identities are also very interesting to me. I just finished reading Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent. Norah Vincent pretends to be a man for about 18 months, and the interesting thing isn’t that she passed convincingly but her insights into the male gender. I highly recommend it as a fascinating and often entertaining read.

One thing she mentions that stood out for me is how any sign of effeminity is crushed out by the culture of men. One way to explain that is by suggesting that anyone who was gay would thus be forced to at least hide themselves. My theory, though, is that this process helps men behave like men, especially around women.

One theory of attraction says that women emphasize features that differentiate them from men, such as clear skin, pouty lips, smallness, vulnerbility, etc. In the same way, perhaps, by forcing men to act like men–that is aggressive and not like a “woman”–men might train other men to behave in a way that will help them differentiate themselves from women.

Hmm, I’m not quite sure this theory works out, but it’s an interesting thing to consider.

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