“Lesbian for a Year”? 5 books I’d rather read
September 22, 2014 § 2 Comments
So, another day, another writer plumps for the popular-yet-still-somehow-considered-edgy strategy of pretending to be something for a certain length of time and then writing about it. You know the drill – the Daily Mail certainly does. “What I learnt on my summer holidays” + “isn’t life harder for some people, oh dear” + “now I am a better person because of others’ suffering”.
If there are any publishers/editors/journalists reading this – does that formula actually still work? Are people buying this? Really? Because I wrote you some suggestions of books I’d rather read, and you can have them for free – so long as I never have to read about a clueless hack wearing a burqa ever again.
1. Straight cis woman realises that her understanding of her own self and desire for others has been horribly skewed by mass media, advertising and a general culture of misogyny and heterosexism. She immerses herself in alternative, queer writings and art – cultural studies, documentary, poetry, novels – and, after much thought, writes a book about social conditioning, internal authenticity and what we can learn from challenging ourselves. Never once does she use the phrase “dating women made me a better straight person”.
3. Homeless people speak directly to the reader through their own words – nobody pretends to be anything.
4. Bigendered person writes about being both a man and a woman (or, indeed, any two categories of gender) without resorting to shock and awe ‘deception’ tactics.
5. Person from a group underrepresented by the mainstream press writes a memoir. It is perfect.