Synopsis: Whilst using a biological framework, Konner effectively argues that the end of male supremacy is near–and we’re right in the middle of it. To make his point, Konner allows us insight to many different subject areas, from animal biology, human genetics, gender socialization, to social media. He analyzes how different animal societies classify female and male, how human genetics are related to gender roles, and how we as a human society dictate who is what and why. Altogether, Konner uses these subjects to reach the conclusion that not only is the end of male supremacy near, but whether we really need males at all (however, as a male himself, he rather hopes that we do).
Review: I knew this book was a good book right from the first chapter. He begins discussing genes and genomes and other scientific things that I don’t know much about, and how in the womb, these turn into male, female, and intersex. The mere fact that he recognized intersex, was stunning to me. And, a few pages later, he mentions gender reaffirming surgery, and how that plays into his theory as well. Intersex and trans folks are being represented in what would normally be a male/female binary within the biological world? Sign me up.
I also figured this book would be right up my alley because of how blatantly feminist it is. I was a little worried, at first, that it would be bashing men (#notallmen), but once I started reading this book, I realized that Melvin Konner was a man (I didn’t look at the author until I got home from the library). And, I must say, Konner tackled this subject matter very well, and he did it in a way that was not at all confrontational, but actually extremely humorous–I ended up sending my old roommate quotes of his because I didn’t want to be the only one getting enjoyment out of this book.
All in all, I was very impressed. He started with a biological framework–a framework that I rarely see anymore in feminist nonfiction works–and discussed both humans and animals and insects and arachnids within that realm. He included intersex and trans folks. He discussed both ancient history and current history from many different cultures. He addressed current history, such as Daesh (called ISIS/ISIL in his book), #bringbackourgirls, and #yesallwomen. He discussed gendered socialization, and how socialization can vary from culture to culture, and how it can vary when you need boys to do girls’ work, and girls to do boys’ work. He finally ends on a note mentioning his children and grandchildren, and how he hopes that with the end of male supremacy, the world will become a better place to them. It is an ending note that is filled with authenticity and genuineness.