Feelings (and/or ramblings) on men and isolation
Because I have to use my Anthropology degree from a liberal arts college for something, right?
This doesn't have too much to do with the video, just some things that have been percolating for a while
It's interesting to me that isolation/solitude as a choice is generally seen as positive/fruitful when associated with men, but less so with women (when it is even associated with them at all). I have the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to blame Thoreau, but maybe that's just me.
Fun fact (or at least a thing said by a teacher, haven't verified) about Thoreau, by the way: during the writing of "Walden", that great treatise on solitude and doing things for oneself, Thoreau would go back to his mother's house, which was a few miles away, and she would do his laundry and cook for him once a week.
At the risk of using one of my least favorite words of the year, I think the recent "narrative" surrounding men and isolation comes from Thoreau / Salinger / countless other reclusive artsy types, who remove themselves as wholly as they can from some aspect of society to focus on their "work". Historically, of course, this has only been a real option for men, and the only stories we get of isolated females are either widows or spinsters, typically pitiable rather than sage (with the occasional queering of this through witches etc). Neither chosen nor positive isolation.
I don't know if my inability to think of a notable story of female isolation says more about my failings as a reader, or about the relative invisibility of these stories, but it points to something important either way.
It is too early and I am too uncaffeinated to finish this hot mess of a ramble, but at some point today there will be thoughts here about:
- The valuing of work / individual growth over social connection/emotional fulfillment for men
- flac searches for positive stories of female isolation, reports back
- bell hooks, "The Will to Change"
- Does this relate to Trump? more at 11.