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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

To All The Men I've Ever Loved

"Internalized oppression" is a term sociologists use to describe how members of a group can - given enough repetition - unconsciously accept stereotypes about their group. In simple terms, think of it as believing one's own bad press.

Fully cognizant of how insidious internalized oppression can be, when a new friend suggested men's resistance to fiction is mostly about hubris, it felt less like stereotyping than it did truth. Do your own informal survey. Ask every man you know who reads regularly what his fiction to non-fiction ratio is. I'm confident asserting you will find less than 20% of men - I'm being generous - with anything approaching parity in their reading diet. After gathering those results - and please contradict me if your findings are at odds with my own informal research - move to the next part.

Ask your same group of hunting-gathering readers why non-fiction takes precedence. I'm equally confident their answer will approximate something I heard my beloved Father say many times: "I read for information." Now carefully analyze that statement. What is not being said?

I submit the pride of many men blocks them from acknowledging a simple fact: Each of us can learn - i.e. get information - from a well constructed novel of ideas. It's true the information isn't always delivered in a linear fashion. But insights about relationships or the human condition, and deeper truths about life don't necessarily lend themselves to a "just the facts" linear approach. Hang in there, my brothers, and put that hubris on hold. Perhaps you'll find you understand the women in your life a little better.       

1 comment:

  1. Internalized misogyny too.