Men. It’s difficult to easily summarize what it means to be a man as there are many, often conflicting, ideas that come to mind in describing what a man is and how he should behave. Grayson Perry’s The Descent of Man self-reflectively looks at masculinity.
A rather quick text of the current state of affairs of how men are perceived by themselves and by others, it does not mount an attack or turn whiny but instead approaches the concept of masculinity with an aim toward highlighting the role that society inevitably plays in forming an “acceptable” version of masculinity and how that can modify attitudes and behaviors relating to equality.
While there was research presented on the subject of various gendered topics, much of what was presented seemed more personal or anecdotal in nature, which helped to contextualize the points being made into more of a “here’s how this manifests and plays a role in your life,” but failed to progress a dialogue on the issues regarding masculinity that were initially raised. This was an enjoyable read but didn’t present much new material to foster more meaningful discussions to progress thoughts and actions on the subject; rather it offered readers a rehashing of things they likely already knew.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.