Scanning the list – which is full of all the manliest books ever – lots of war books – only one book by an out gay man – I was reminded that though it’s hard to be a woman it’s harder in many ways to be a man – that gender that’s supposed to be incessantly defended and demonstrated through acts of manliness.
I looked at that list and all unbidden the thought arose – no wonder there are so many mass murders.
Which are the extreme expression of being a man when the job is framed this way – though happily many men have more graceful, empathic ways of being in the world.
The list made me think there should be another – with some of the same books – called 80 Books No Woman Should Read – though of course I believe everyone should read anything they want.
I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty.
Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware – that set of values that expands out into violence at home – in war and by economic means.
Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged – because any book Paul Ryan loves that much – bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.