Grayson Perry is always worth listening to. I loved his television series about identity and the exhibitions that have emerged. I also enjoyed his Reith lectures so I was keen to read about his views on modern masculinity. This book sets out his perspective on male behaviour. The list of negative factors is high and I can see some of these traits in myself but the answers are more elusive. The book is still enjoyable, though, even with some contradictory features: at one point he praises National Service as a rite of passage for young men while also decrying the violence that seems to be latent in all males. He sees gender equality as a good thing but National Service targeted only young men.
The illustrations are amusing, as you would expect and I was struck by the fact that one double page spread was more eloquent than the narrative on the pages that led up to it.
Obviously, he has a certain outsider perspective since he dresses as a young girl as part of his persona. He does not use this as a special platform from which to view manhood, rather he is clear about the masculine traits he sees in himself. However, as a transvestite he has developed an ability to observe men from a different angle.
The status quo for males is not healthy for men or women and this is an attempt to draw attention to it. I read it because Grayson Perry always has something worthwhile to say. At the end, I should have been more satisfied with clearer points for action. After all, recognising the need to win or to dominate every situation is only recognising the problem, not solving it.