A compelling approach to gender inequality that empowers both men and women to be part of the solution instead of just part of the problem
The Gender Knot
Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy
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Allan G. Johnson
The Gender Knot, Allan Johnson's response to the pain and confusion that men and women experience by living with gender inequality, explains what patriarchy is and is not, how it works, and what gets in the way of understanding and doing something about it. Johnson's simple yet powerful approach avoids the paralyzing trap of guilt, blame, anger, and defensive denial that often results from conversations about gender.
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"The Gender Knot is a book that never leaves my side, intellectually at least. Since I was first introduced to Allan Johnson’s work, this text has served as a faithful companion to my personal and professional growth. Johnson lays out how patriarchy, as a social system, interacts with all of us, in one of the most accessibly written books on the topic. He proficiently explains how this damaging system hurts people of all genders and gently guides us away from reactionary feelings of guilt and toward those of social responsibility. The Gender Knot is an invaluable and timeless resource for everyone who cares about gender equality."
"Johnson’s book is beautifully written, thoughtful, and provides compelling analyses of patriarchy and the powerful ideology that supports it and inhibits change. It is a guidebook for a life-changing adventure."
"Allan Johnson has written one of the best, most readable, and most comprehensive accounts of patriarchy that is available in print."
"This is a brilliant accounting of patriarchy . . . a long, hard and unflinchingly honest look at how patriarchy works."
"As any knitter will tell you, the way to untangle a knot is not to pull hard on one end, but to gently shake the entire skein until all the threads are loosened. In this book, Allan Johnson gently and patiently shakes the patriarchal knot until each of the constituent threads becomes analytically clear."
"A good introduction for women as well as men, but most importantly, it is from a man who can clearly explain to men what’s happening and what they can do to change it."
"The Gender Knot is a unique book that fills a void in the literature on gender. Highly accessible and a pleasure to read, Johnson[’s account] never oversimplifies complex issues. His engaging style will appeal to a wide audience."
"An excellent gift for anyone who ‘just doesn’t get it’ about feminism."
"This book can be especially recommended to male students as an exemplary model of plainspoken and conscientious writing about male supremacy that is neither naive nor navel-gazing and that takes feminist theory and analysis absolutely seriously. This honorable book promises to be around a long time. The Gender Knot belongs on the reading list of every course in sexual politics that encourages students to engage patriarchy meaningfully."
"Johnson takes patriarchy to task, critically examining its dynamics to reveal an underlying, pervasive domination-and-control mentality that is destructive to both females and males."
"This book is well written, well argued, and nails all the key issues right on the head. It’s the best I’ve seen in this genre."
"Johnson argues that patriarchy is responsible for the oppression of women and that its core quality—male-identified control—generates a dynamic that promotes competition, oppression, violence, and fear and is as harmful to men as to women.... Clearly written and thought provoking.... Summing Up: Highly Recommended."
"Johnson shows with specific examples how patriarchy, as a social system, can be considered the root of all other social evils such as racism, homophobia, and classism.... [He] tackles these exceptionally thorny, complex issues by presenting them in manageable prose using accessible examples, in effect, opening up the feminist critique of patriarchy to a comparatively larger readership."
"Johnson is a nationally recognized sociologist best known for his work on issues of privilege and oppression, especially in relation to gender and race.... In The Gender Knot, Johnson’s goal is to make readers believe in and want to change the patriarchy.... Johnson’s opinions are well constructed and explained.... Reading this book will open some eyes and challenge us to be agents of change."
Part I: What Is This Thing Called Patriarchy?
Part II: Sustaining Illusions, Barriers to Change
Part III: Unraveling the Patriarchal Legacy
Appendix: Resources for Unraveling the Knot
Allan G. Johnson is a nationally recognized sociologist, nonfiction author, novelist, and public speaker best known for his work on issues of privilege and oppression, especially in relation to gender and race. He is the author of numerous books, including The Forest and the Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise (Temple) and Privilege, Power, and Difference. His work has been translated into several languages and excerpted in numerous anthologies. Visit him online at www.agjohnson.us and follow his blog at http://agjohnson.wordpress.com.