Author Archives

Kelli María Korducki

Checking in on the Masculinity Crisis

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Kelli María Korducki | Longreads | December 2019 | 14 minutes (3,786 words)


Not long ago, I noticed a woman reading Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life at my Manhattan yoga studio as we both waited for our Ashtanga class to begin. The sight took me aback. Despite the 2018 book’s many weeks as a nonfiction bestseller, I’d somehow never considered that the scope of Peterson’s audience might extend beyond sulky white men who like to outsource their thinking. That it might include women with the disposable income and leisure time to spend their Saturday afternoons doing sun salutations, whose lives probably look a lot like mine.

Peterson, a once-unassuming psychology professor at my Canadian alma mater (I’d never heard of him during the years we were both there), has emerged in the last few years as a puzzling figurehead among men’s rights aficionados and self-help enthusiasts alike. Wielding a trademark pastiche of literary references and cherry-picked sociological data points, his writing and, to a greater extent, public lectures broadcast via YouTube deliver what is, for many in this age of ‘toxic masculinity’ and #MeToo, a reassuring story: that men are natural rulers, white privilege is a farce, and if millennial men would just make their beds and assume their kingdoms, we’d all be better off.

Peterson speaks to a constellation of loosely connected concerns that have, in the last several years, dominated popular discourse on where boys and men fit into a society in which gender norms play less and less of a role in determining how people fit together. Conversations about rape culture and damaging gender constructs take place alongside global reports of female students outperforming their male classmates. We hear of a workforce that, at least in theory, rewards the “soft skills” women are purportedly socialized to possess. Meanwhile names like “Dylann Roof” and “Elliot Rodger” have become shorthand for an epidemic of male isolation and rage. A New York Times story that followed shortly after the deadly February 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, included the observation that “about the only thing” nearly all U.S. mass shooters have in common “is that they are men.” Read more…

Leaving a Good Man Is Hard To Do

Getty / Photo illustration by Katie Kosma

Kelli María Korducki | Excerpt adapted from Hard To Do: The Surprising, Feminist History of Breaking Up | May 2018 | 13 minutes (3,558 words)

Several years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the prolonged and heart-wrenching breakup that persisted in destroying my entire life over the course of many months, a friend sent me an essay she thought I should read. She was also in the middle of a breakup — a divorce — and we had met a few years earlier through the partners we were simultaneously losing. As one terrible summer faded into an even bleaker fall, we became Gchat pen pals in an ongoing correspondence of mutual despair.

I was officially single and deeply ashamed. To me, my breakup had constituted a karmic injustice that I could have stopped — against my wonderful former partner, against our respective families, and against the scores of women throughout history who’d been denied the love and respect of a Good Man. My friend told me she looked at this must-read piece from time to time, whenever she was feeling scared about the future. I still wasn’t sure that I might have one.

Go, even though you love him.
Go, even though he’s kind and faithful and dear to you.
Go, even though he’s your best friend and you’re his.
Go, even though you can’t imagine your life without him.
Go, even though he adores you and your leaving will devastate him.
Go, even though your friends will be disappointed or surprised or pissed off or all three.
Go, even though you once said you would stay. Go, even though you’re afraid of being alone.
Go, even though you’re sure no one will ever love you as well as he does.
Go, even though there is nowhere to go.
Go, even though you don’t know exactly why you can’t stay.
Go, because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.

Read more…