The answer is that the differences between men and women transcend psychology and gender roles. While Vincent’s efforts taught what it’s like to be treated as a man, she’s still has no idea what it’s like to be a man.
For instance, her experiences gave her a new appreciation for fatherhood. What they couldn’t do was make her a father. All her preparation left her clueless about the most important part of what it means to be a man.
To her credit, Vincent senses that there’s something missing from her account. She wonders if there’s a “preprogrammed and possibly inescapable grammar of gender burned on our brains.”
Well, yes. What Vincent calls an “inescapable grammar” is what Christians call “male and female created He them.” Since our denial of this “grammar” lies behind many of the problems that Vincent documents, the solution begins with something more profound than makeup and a haircut: It’s understanding that, ultimately, men are created, not made.
Peg Tyre, “The Trouble with Boys,” Newsweek, 30 January 2006.
“Norah Vincent: The Woman behind ‘Self-Made Man’,” Talk of the Nation, NPR, 25 January 2006.
Read an excerpt of Self-Made Man from ABC News.
Roberto Rivera, “What Makes a Man?” Boundless, 2 February 2006.
Roberto Rivera, “Patriarchy,” BreakPoint Online, 7 July 2003.