Quick, look at the pictures on this site. Does that…
…really look like a man to you?
That’s a picture of Norah Vincent, a female author who dressed up as a man for a year and a half to find out how the other half lives, I guess. (The book’s been getting a surprising amount of press – The New York Times, NPR, Conan O’Brien, among others.) Now, it’s hard to really judge from just a few pictures, but if that person was walking towards you, do you think you really wouldn’t be able to tell that it was a woman in drag? Even if you believed it was a man, wouldn’t it have a somewhat disconcerting femininity/androgyny? Apparently the author wanted especially to infiltrate the world of blue collar men, but I can’t imagine that many blue collar types would unquestioningly accept him/her as one of their own. And I can’t help but wonder how that would affect the author’s interpretations of her experiences. Not to mention that, in the interview on Conan I just saw, I got the impression that the author prescribed to a particular cliche of men – that we’re variations on the Tim “the Toolman” Taylor character. What do you think?
** Mods, it is a book, but because of the nature of the question I didn’t know if it should go here or Cafe Society.
I read the NY Times Book Review about this story, and if the reviewer is to be believed, she does not stereotype and is quite warm toward her subjects.
In the ‘male’ picture on her on the cover of that issue, I felt she could probably pass as a guy. The picture on the site looks lousy by contrast. She made a babyfaced, looks-younger-than-he-is type of guy, sure, but didn’t look so obviously female that I can say for sure I’d have picked her out on the street.
I think the inspiration was more from this. (Can you accept this as a black man?)
This is the cover of the book; I think (?) that’s the picture they used in the NY Times article. Even in that picture the effect is a bit off-putting. It’s the lips and the shape of the face, I guess.
I suppose I’d accept her as a male; every time you see a somewhat mannish woman or an effiminate man you don’t assume it’s a person in drag. But I would have a very hard time accepting her as the type of man she wanted to come across as.