Academic superstars Andrew Ross, Edward Said, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. Bad boy filmmakers Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, and Brian de Palma. What do these influential contemporary figures have in common? In Cool Men and the Second Sex, Susan Fraiman identifies them all with "cool masculinity" and boldly unpacks the gender politics of their work.
According to Fraiman, "cool men" rebel against a mainstream defined as maternal. Bad boys resist the authority of women and banish mothers to the realm of the uncool. As a result, despite their hipnessor because of itthese men too often feel free to ignore the insights of feminist thinkers. Through subtle close readings, Fraiman shows that even Gates, champion of black women's writing, and even queer theorists bent on undoing gender binaries, at times end up devaluing women in favor of men and masculinity.
A wide-ranging and fair-minded analysis, Cool Men acknowledges the invaluable contributions of its subjects while also deciphering the gender codes and baring the contradictions implicit in their work. Affirming the legacy of second-wave feminist scholars and drawing as well on the intersectional work of third-wavers, Cool Men helps to reinvent feminist critique for the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Susan Fraiman is professor of English at the University of Virginia. Her Columbia University Press publications include Extreme Domesticity: A View from the Margins (2017) and Unbecoming Women: British Women Writers and the Novel of Development (1994).
Table of Contents
1. Quentin Tarantino: Anatomy of Cool
2. Spike Lee and Brian De Palma: Scenarios of Race and Rape
3. Edward Said: Gender, Culture, and Imperialism
4. Andrew Ross: The Romance of the Bad Boy
5. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Figures in Black Masculinity
6. Queer Theory and the Second Sex
Postscript: Doing the Right Thing
What People are Saying About This
A smart, lively, provocative work.... The chapters on Tarantino and Gates are absolutely brilliant: the writing is dazzling, the analysis powerful and completely persuasive. There were moments... that I felt like applauding.
Bad girls will cackle; good girls may cringe: a must-read for both! Susan Fraiman rounds up not the usual suspects, but some of the most influential stars on the cinematic and academic circuit for a rousing feminist critique.
With wit, guts, and the kind of critical crankiness that can give left critique what it really needs, Susan Fraiman dissects the celebrity culture of academic masculine cool. Required reading for anyone unafraid of being abad girl!
Addressing recent key offerings in contemporary cinema as well as in critical race and sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, and cultural studies, Susan Fraiman carefully demonstrates how women and femininity are implicitly derogated even in the most consciously progressive cultural work. Motivated by a time-honored ethic of left self-critique rather than simple iconoclasm, Fraiman engages emblematic figures in various fields in order to suggest that sexism continues to implicate us all, and that we all must accordingly recommit ourselves to combating sexism.