Vince, September 30, 2008 (view all comments by Vince)
This book was excellent. I think Mara is the closed minded person here. The book stated what it stated because of the FACTS that the author found to be evident. Mara, are you pissed because the author's findings did not support your "closed minded" point of view? Your review is just weird in light of the author's experiences and how she approached the problem. Yes, the author states her opinion at the end of the book and it doesn't agree with yours. She had the experience. So, her experience doesn't agree with your view of the world. Therefore the book must be wrong?!?! What is even stranger is that the author was initially closer to Mara's point of view until SHE lived as a MAN. Did you even read the book, Mara?
It is a great book! I liked it and so did National Public Radio. There is an interview about the book and the authors experience on NPR. It is a great book. If you are not closed minded then it may open your eyes to how the sexes look at the world differently, just be sure not to tell Mara that there is a difference between the sexes.
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Mara, October 5, 2006 (view all comments by Mara)
When I first read a Salon.com article slamming Nora Vincent and her book Self Made Man, I thought it was a case of a close-minded reviewer defaming what sounded to be a groundbreaking book. Alas, this was not true at all. This book deserved the bad review it received. Vincent finds no middle ground in between biologically determined male and female identities. In fact, at the end of the book, she states openly the universe is built upon immutable male and female archetypes. She relies heavily on stereotypes of masculinity. As distressing is the classism evident in the book: much of her ?fieldwork? patronizes the working class male communities she infiltrates. For a book that is marketed aggressively to LGBT community as a compassionate look at gendered experience, it reinforces the binary gender system that so many of us deplore.
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SavvyMiss.com, August 11, 2006 (view all comments by SavvyMiss.com)
"Who expects a person?man or woman?to be someone other than his or herself? The struggle to be someone she is not is as central to the groundbreaking 'Self-Made Man' as Vincent?s initial goal: To discover what it is like to be a man in a man?s world and, in the process, to uncover the difference between men and women...'Self-Made Man' ultimately makes you happier than ever to be a woman. With that newfound appreciation comes a better understanding of why men are the way they are. But never will we ever truly understand, as Vincent suggests, what it?s like to be a man because we never can truly be one." - SavvyMiss.com
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"The disguise that former Los Angeles Times op-ed columnist Vincent employed to trick dozens of people into believing her a man was carefully thought out: a new, shorter haircut; a pair of rectangular eyeglasses; a fake five o'clock shadow; a prosthetic penis; some preppy clothes. It was more than she needed. '[A]s I became more confident in my disguise... the props I had used... became less and less important, until sometimes I didn't need them at all,' Vincent writes. Gender marking, she found, is more about attitude than appearance. Vincent's account of the year and a half she spent posing as a man is peppered with such predictable observations. To readers of gender studies literature, none of them will be especially illuminating, but Vincent's descriptions of how she learned, and tested, such chestnuts firsthand make them awfully fun to read. As 'Ned,' Vincent joined an all-male bowling league, dated women, worked for a door-to-door sales force, spent three weeks in a monastery, hung out in strip clubs and, most dangerous of all, went on a Robert Bly — style men's retreat. She creates rich portraits of the men she met in these places and the ways they behaved — as a lesbian, she's particularly good at separating the issues of sexuality from those of gender. But the most fascinating part of the story lies within Vincent herself — and the way that censoring her emotions to pass as a man provoked a psychological breakdown. For fans of Nickel and Dimed — style immersion reporting, this book is a sure bet." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Camille Paglia,
"Norah Vincent is a true freethinker and independent journalist in the European manner, challenging prevailing assumptions in academe, politics, and media."
by Bruce Bawer, author of A Place At the Table,
"An extraordinary human document, rich in empathy and insight."
by Christina Hoff Sommers,
"A fascinating, original and often hilarious long day's journey into the world of men."
by Chicago Sun-Times,
"Vincent's chapter on dating is the most fascinating in this otherwise unspectacular memoir....Self-Made Man is one of many books in which the hype exceeds the delivery."
"Writing from the perspective of a gay woman who had a view of the male world that women don't get to see, Vincent finds unexpected complexities in the men she meets and in herself as well."
by Library Journal,
"An often humorous, incisive, and fascinating account."
Narrated with exquisite insight, humor, and empathy, the author uses her firsthand experience--the 18 months she masqueraded as a man--to explore the many remarkable mysteries of gender identity.
A journalists provocative and spellbinding account of her eighteen months spent disguised as a man
Norah Vincent became an instant media sensation with the publication of Self-Made Man, her take on just how hard it is to be a man, even in a mans world. Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me), Norah spent a year and a half disguised as her male alter ego, Ned, exploring what men are like when women arent around. As Ned, she joins a bowling team, takes a high-octane sales job, goes on dates with women (and men), visits strip clubs, and even manages to infiltrate a monastery and a mens therapy group. At once thought- provoking and pure fun to read, Self-Made Man is a sympathetic and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism.
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