The Paris Review

Staff Picks: Hooks, Twizzles, and Symphonies

bell hooks.

In a compelling and widely read editorial published Thursday, “,” Michael Ian Black argues that the blame for our society’s gun-violence epidemic lies, at least in part, with our broken standards of masculinity. While feminism has expanded the definition of womanhood, he writes, no commensurate movement has helped boys to reimagine what it might mean to become men: “I think we [men] would benefit from the same conversations girls and women have been having for these past 50 years.” Black is correct that masculinity has failed to evolve, but conversations about that failure have in fact been happening for some time. One person who has consistently tried to break the silence is bell hooks. In her 2004 book , hooks, like Black, criticizes what she interprets as an intellectual and cultural silence on the subject of men. “Feminist theory has offered us brilliant critiques of patriarchy,” she writes, “and very few insightful ideas about alternative masculinity, especially in relation to boys.” In personal, approachable prose, she examines how both women and men perpetuate a patriarchal model of masculinity—albeit to disparate reward—and explores “what the alternative to patriarchal masculinity, it strikes me that the continued paucity of such alternatives stems less from a lack of answers than from an unwillingness to ask the question. —

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review6 min read
Poetry Rx: Then the Letting Go
In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This column has run weekly for over a year, and now, our dear and
The Paris Review12 min read
Taking on Edward Abbey: An Interview with Amy Irvine
Amy Irvine (Courtesy Torrey House Press) Amy Irvine is a writer and a mother, a competitive rock climber, an activist, a caregiver, and a truth teller. (She is also a friend.) Her latest book, Desert Cabal, is a fiercely tender and provocative respon
The Paris Review4 min read
Something Always Remains
Some people collect rocks. Others collect stamps. Peter Merlin, a former NASA archivist who’s become a leading expert on military aircraft and Area 51, collects the physical remnants of government secrets. As he explains in the artist Trevor Paglen’s