A True Story About What Makes A Man

Book - 2018
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"From an award-winning writer whose work bristles with "hard-won strength, insight, agility, and love" (Maggie Nelson), an exquisite and troubling narrative of masculinity, violence, and society. In this groundbreaking new book, the author, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence. Through his experience boxing--learning to get hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body--McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes, and the limitations of conventional masculinity. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in our society, Amateur is ultimately a story of hope, as McBee traces a new way forward, a new kind of masculinity, inside the ring and outside of it. In this graceful, stunning, and uncompromising exploration of living, fighting, and healing, we gain insight into the stereotypes and shifting realities of masculinity today through the eyes of a new man"--
Publisher: New York, NY :, Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.,, 2018.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781501168741
Branch Call Number: 155.332 MC
Characteristics: 204 pages ; 22 cm


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Oct 16, 2018

This memoir is about Thomas Page McBee, who is a transgender man exploring what it means to be a man. After transitioning, he finds himself in situations with other men where he is challenged to fight, which gives McBee, who is a journalist, the idea that he should examine the question of why men fight by becoming a boxer and fighting a charity fight at Madison Square Garden, which he is the first transgender man to do so. As McBee explores why men fight and what it means to be a man, he discusses problems with toxic masculinity and presents an alternative, one that is vulnerable, tender, willing to accept help from others, and isn’t afraid of being wrong or failing or showing emotion and pain. I appreciated how McBee reflected on his experiences in a way that was informed by theories about gender. He also insightfully discussed his own socialization into toxic masculinity, highlighting how pressures from others positioned him to respond in certain negative ways to his partner and others. This is a thought-provoking read that explores many problems with toxic masculinity and what an alternative to this version of being a man looks like.

KateHillier Oct 03, 2018

I originally picked this up because it was about boxing. I really enjoyed (and still talk about) a boxing class I took a few years ago and have cheerfully taken up kickboxing. Reading about McBee's time in a boxing gym, preparing for a charity boxing match, and considering aggression and masculinity through a trans man's eyes was more eye opening than I anticipated. The perspective, the learning, and the actual discussion of the sport of boxing, were all really eyeopening


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