Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Woman becomes man to see what it's like

Norah "Ned" Vincent; Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Is it harder being a man or a woman?
Norah Vincent is an American writer, lesbian cross-dresser, born 1968 in Michigan. She attended Williams College, graduated with a BA in philosophy in 1990, and was a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

She was also a quarterly columnist on politics and culture for the national gay and lesbian news magazine The Advocate and a columnist for The Village Voice and Salon.com. Her writing has also appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times, the New York Post, The Washington Post, and many more periodicals around the country.
One woman's journey to manhood and back
Her book Self-Made Man tells the story of an 18-month experiment: She disguised herself as a man in the tradition of undercover journalism such as Black Like Me. She was interviewed by Ju Ju Chang on the ABC News program 20/20 and talked about the experience in HARDtalk extra on BBC on in 2006.

She described her experiences in male-male and male-female interactions. She joined an all-male bowling club, a men's therapy group, went to a strip club, dated women who didn't know they were bisexuals, and used her knowledge as a lesbian lapsed Catholic to become a monk trainee in a cloistered monastery.

She writes about how the only time she has ever been considered excessively feminine was during her stint as a man: Her alter ego, Ned, was assumed to be effeminate and therefore gay on several occasions.

Norah Vincent became "Ned" then Norah.
Features which that as a woman had been seen as "butch" became oddly effeminate when seen in a man.

She asserts that, since the experiment, she has more fully realized the benefits of being female and the disadvantages of being male, stating: "I really like being a woman....I like it more now because I think it's more of a privilege."

She has also stated that she has gained more sympathy for and understanding of men and the male condition in the (patriarchal) Western world:
What have I done? This isn't me.
"Men are suffering. They have different problems than women have, but they don't have it better. They need our sympathy, they need our love, and they need each other more than anything else. They need to be together [not gay but more intimate and vulnerable]."
— Norah Vincent

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