By John Stoltenberg
Given that its unique book in 1989, Refusing to be a Man has been acclaimed as a vintage and largely pointed out in gender reports literature. In thirteen eloquent essays, Stoltenberg articulates the 1st totally argued liberation conception for males that would additionally free up ladies. He argues that male sexual id is solely a political and moral building whose merits develop out of injustice. His thesis is, although, finally one among wish - that accurately simply because masculinity is so built, it truly is attainable to refuse it, to behave opposed to it and to alter. a brand new creation via the writer discusses the roots of his paintings within the American civil rights and radical feminist pursuits and distinguishes it from the anti-feminist philosophies underlying the hot tide of reactionary mens routine.
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Extra info for Refusing to be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice
Several years after she was gang-raped at the age of fourteen, for instance, a woman recalled: I felt like I’d brought out the worst in these men just by being an available female body on the road. 6 Also, she remembered: I forgave them immediately. I felt like it was all my fault that I’d been raped. I said, well, they’re men. They just can’t help themselves. 7 Implicit in this victim’s recollected feelings are the twin tenets of rapist ethics: It is right to rape; it is wrong to be raped. That translates more often than not into a precept even more appalling yet probably closer to the raw insides of malesupremacist eroticism: It is right to be male; it is wrong to be female.
It’s like buying Krugerrands as a vote of confidence for white supremacy in apartheid South Africa. And there’s one more thing: That kind of sex makes the lie indelible—burns it onto your retinas right adjacent to your brain —makes you remember it and makes your body respond to it and so it makes you believe that the lie is in fact true: You really are a real man. That slavish and submissive creature there spreading her legs is really not. You and that creature have nothing in common. That creature is an alien inanimate thing, but your penis is completely real and alive.
John Stoltenberg New York City November 1988 PART I THE ETHICS OF MALE SEXUAL IDENTITY RAPIST ETHICS Stories have beginnings, middles, and endings. Ideas do not. Stories can be told and understood in terms of who did what and what happened to whom, what happened next, and what happened after that. Ideas do not exist in time and space that way, yet it is only through our apprehension of certain ideas that historical reality makes any sense at all. We interpret all the data of our senses—including characters, actions, consequences, even our so-called selves—according to ideas, concepts, or mental structures, some of which we understand, some of which we just believe.
Refusing to be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice by John Stoltenberg