The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry
The Descent of Man
This is a book that should be made immediately available in every school. Its subject is toxic masculinity. The artist Grayson Perry brilliantly illuminates it through his own perspective as an aggressive male, abused son and cross-dresser.
Initially I felt a slight defensiveness as it feels like an indiscriminate all-out attack on the male gender role – throwing out the baby man with the bathwater: yes Grayson, football can be seen as an outlet for violence but it is also a platform for the male appreciation of beauty and a rare public expression of this.
But as Grayson tells his own, initially troubled story and brilliantly deconstructs the damage the male role can do to both male and female the book proves itself essential. There are many heartbreaking and chilling encounters, particularly with the young lads in gangs on English estates. Thankfully Grayson eventually provides some positive pointers forward. Here is a brilliantly empathetic and insightfully constructed argument. There are also hilarious drawings.