I am equally concerned about the equal equality of women and men…. um equally. OK.
Now, I guess I used to be a feminist. I read “The Female Eunuch”, and “The Women’s Room”, and “The Beauty Myth”, and “Backlash”, and I tried to read “Women who run with the Wolves” (Sorry Clarissa Pinkola Estés, I couldn’t get on with it). And yes, I agreed with an awful lot of what they had to say.
I found myself one lunch time in my favourite book shop in Balmain (no I’m not a basket weaving lesbian, and no, I don’t live in Balmain). So, I’m in the book shop and I head for my usual spot, which is essentially the Mind, Body, and Soul section. Not even sure if we used that classification back then. It may have been “Self Help” or Lord knows what. Anyway you get the gist.
Something next to the section dealing with Feminist literature – Fem-lit if you will – caught my eye. It fairly jumped out at me. It shouted. It screamed and it yelled, and it said, “F**king look at me will you”, “You think you’ve got it all sorted out do you.” “You think you understand how things are”. “Well, read me, I’ll shake you up”.
Now, that was a challenge, ‘cos I really did. I really did think that all my Feminist text reading had given me a good picture of the “War of the Sexes” (and I hate that expression).
The book in question was Steve Biddulph’s ‘Manhood’.
At first I kind of thought, “Ha, Manhood, get it, like as in Penis”. “Ha, that’s funny.”, and I’m pretty confident that the double entendre was likewise titter-worth for Steve and his publishers !!
So, I bought the company (Thanks Victor Kiam). No, I mean, I bought the book.
I those days I almost always read at night. Before going to sleep. I read a lot more now, as it’s part of my job – YES, it is… if one is a writer, then one absolutely has to be a reader. Anyhow, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it like Clag. No idea why that was relevant, in fact it wasn’t, but hey, stream of consciousness and all that…
Later that evening, ready for bed. (No, I didn’t have a lover at the time, if I had then I sure as Libido wouldn’t have been reading !!).
I started reading ‘Manhood’ at around 10pm. I finished it at about 2am. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I know that expression is used a lot about books – quote unputdownable unquote, but, I truly could not stop reading it… I was so so tired, but I continued reading.
I cried within the first few pages. I cried when I read the statistics about men and depression, men and suicide, men and “one car accidents” AKA suicide; then read case studies about men and confusion, men and emotional pain. Cried my little eyes out.
This book totally opened my tear reddened eyes to the fact that a lot of men are in pain. Prior to that I was sure that they were fine and were simply happy CAUSING pain for women.
This is my Book Club style recommendation.
EVERYONE in the entire cosmos should read Steve Biddulph’s ‘Manhood’.
Next week my lovelies, Alone again, naturally.
Cheers Dreamstime.com.au for the shudder-worth image of the beefy cowboy protecting his… erm… masculinity !!