Writing a gender textbook

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Writing a gender textbook can be a very depressing thing. It can be so depressing that you would rather spend your time writing a blog entry about how depressing writing a gender textbook is than you would actually writing the gender textbook. First, there’s the fact that you are, in fact, writing a gender textbook, in the middle of the summer when it’s very easy to imagine all the other exciting things that you could be doing. It’s easy to imagine things that are not so exciting that you would still rather be doing. Baking zucchini bread. Pulling weeds. Vacuuming. All of these seem more exciting when you’re writing a gender textbook.

If that’s not depressing enough, there’s the fact that much of what there is to know about gender is really kind of a downer, especially if you happen to be in possession of a vagina, and not a penis. I teach gender and I think about gender, so I know these things. But when you write a textbook, you’re expanding by vast distances the amount of what you know about these things, and that just sucks sometimes. I think the worse chapter by far has been about body image, which is a whole mess of depressing. But even the media and popular culture, which you think, hey, that should be fun, right? Television and movies. What could get better than that? But then you read about things like the gradual masculinization of screenwriting as an occupation as it became more prestigious and better paid, and you just have to sigh a little sigh, which I did. And then you back to the whole writing a textbook thing.

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