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Old 01-21-2006, 10:09 AM   #1
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Woman Goes Undercover To Experience Life As A Man

I saw this last night on 20/20, it was fascinating. She has written a book about her experience called Self Made Man

there is also a web cast on the 20/20 site

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Entertain...ory?id=1526982

Jan. 20, 2006 — Norah Vincent has lived as a man. She didn't undergo a sex change or radical hormone treatments. She simply went undercover. In an extraordinary feat of acting, disguise and guts, Vincent lived among men — as a man — for 18 months to see what life was like on the other side of the gender divide.

"This wasn't just a stunt. This was about learning. This is a human project. It was about finding something out about the human creature. … And I learned it the best possible way because I went through it," Vincent told "20/20's" JuJu Chang

...................Once again, some group members thought Ned was gay, but nobody suspected Ned was a woman. After eight sessions, the group went on a back-country weekend retreat, but Vincent's 18 months of being an imposter was closing in on her.

"The pressure of being someone that you're not and … the fear of discovery and the deceit that it involves piles up and piles up. So, by the time I got around to doing this men's group, it was really reaching critical mass," she said.

"I was out in the woods with a bunch of guys who had rage issues about women and I was in drag … and I thought, oh, God, you know, what am I doing," she added.

She continued her emotional descent, and a week later, checked in to a hospital with severe depression. Identity, she concluded, was not something to play around with.

"When you mess around with that, you really mess around with something that you need that helps you to function. And I found out that gender lives in your brain and is something much more than costume. And I really learned that the hard way," she said.

Vincent says she's healed now and glad to be rid of Ned. But her views about men have changed forever.

"Men are suffering. They have different problems than women have, but they don't have it better," she said. "They need our sympathy. They need our love, and maybe they need each other more than anything else. They need to be together."

Ironically, Vincent said, it took experiencing life as a man for her to appreciate being a woman. "I really like being a woman. … I like it more now because I think it's more of a privilege."
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:29 AM   #2
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That was an interesting take on her own psychological reaction to gender. Is she writing a book or anything that reveals more about what she learned in climbing over the gender wall?
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:33 AM   #3
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I wonder about those dates she went on with other women. Since she was lying about her own identity the whole time, those women probably picked up on that weirdness and decided they weren't into "Ned", so it might not have been about them rejecting "soft men". Who knows.

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Old 01-21-2006, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by foray
I wonder about those dates she went on with other women. Since she was lying about her own identity the whole time, those women probably picked up on that weirdness and decided they weren't into "Ned", so it might not have been about them rejecting "soft men". Who knows.

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That's a good point.
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:48 PM   #5
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If a man did that women would be outraged.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:02 AM   #6
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I can't imagine there are too many (non-transsexual) men who'd even be willing to consider living as a woman for 18 months.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:38 AM   #7
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It was an interesting read, but she's still viewing and experiencing the situation as a woman, because she is a woman, even if she's pretending not to be one. So some of the conclusions she draws might not be the ones drawn by a man.



Quote:
"At its core, it's a bodily function. It's a necessity. It's such a powerful drive and I think because we [women] don't have testosterone in our systems, we don't understand how hard it is," she said.
I also found it interesting to note she doesn't know that women produce testosterone. We do, just not at the same rate as men.
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:47 AM   #8
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This is the part that freaks me out the most, but honestly it didn't surprise me all that much. I shouldn't say that but it's true..

"Instead, Vincent said, the men talked about rage, often their rage toward women, and what they would do physically and violently toward women.

"A lot of this was blowing off steam. …They would talk about fantasizing about chopping up their wives or something. It's not that they would ever do that, but it was a way to get out the blackest thoughts," she said."


Is that true, do men talk about those kinds of fantasies? Not just at these retreat things but also with each other in a more everyday setting

Yes she has already written a book about it, I think I might read it
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by foray
I wonder about those dates she went on with other women. Since she was lying about her own identity the whole time, those women probably picked up on that weirdness and decided they weren't into "Ned", so it might not have been about them rejecting "soft men". Who knows.

foray
Even more confusingly: the women she dated were actually unknowingly dating a lesbian who was lying about her identity as she pretended to be a straight man. And, who knows whether or not she was able to emulate a straight man on a date with any degree of accuracy. I think that the vibes she must have been giving off had to be "off" and confusing at best. I think that's a manipulative and potentially cruel thing to do to the unsuspecting women that she dated -- and, in my mind, her need to satisfy her own curiosity doesn't mitigate that.
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:17 AM   #10
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As long as it stays in the realm of fantasy....OCCASIONAL fantasy...I've plotted murders with no intent or real desire to carry them out to blow off steam.

But the rage has to be dealt with. What is the cause of it and why is it directed at women? I think that rage should be of some concern to women, definitely because of the comparitive physical strength between men and women. I don't know that most women are inherently violent; however some are capable of a cruelty factor and that has to be addressed too. Some women treat men abominably. But where is the generic rage coming from?

I don't know that we'll really ever a meaningful dialogue between the sexes. I don't know how we will really deal with these issues.
I think there is a lot of anger out there, maybe both sides and maybe more than before. Perhaps it is just being heard more, but I think there is more anger now.

Sorry, you did mention the book in your original post. I missed it.
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:54 AM   #11
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Ick. I just read the whole article. The monastery, the therapy group, the hidden camera.....the deceits involved in this exploration make me cringe. Maybe she learned a bit about what makes men tick. Maybe she learned MORE about how people respond to someone who deliberately manipulates and exploits someone else's trust for her own curiosity and gain.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:04 AM   #12
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There is a point there. What we are talking about here is an invasion of privacy, for nothing illegal, and a betrayel of trust in a situation that the people involved should have expected confidentiality. That's one point.

But we still need to deal with the other too.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:45 AM   #13
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[
But we still need to deal with the other too. [/B][/QUOTE]

If by "the other", you mean the rage that Vincent talks about, I agree. It's just difficult to know what that means. At least in the short article, Vincent doesn't describe "generic" rage against women, as much as men describing violent fantasies about their wives. Vincent then concludes -- accurately or not -- "not that they would ever do that".
Maybe one problem is a generic, gender-directed rage. Maybe another is specific violent fantasies -- which might well serve the function of decreasing anger, and the probability of acting on that anger. Maybe another problem is how we, as a society, handle and act on feelings of anger and rage. Do we ignore rage or violent statements from women because we feel they're less likely to act on them, or less likely to be lethal if they do? Do we ignore or diminish violent statements from men because it seems normal? I don't know. I think that violence against women, and violence period -- are huge problems, particularly in America, which has a history of celebrating and rewarding at least some violent acts. I'm not sure where to start here, in either defining the problem(s) or in addressing them. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-22-2006, 01:30 PM   #14
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I think we are all capable of violent fantasies--men and women alike. We shouldn't ignore rage or violence statements for either. But statistically, it is more likely that a larger percentage (minority even though it is) will act out in violence than women will and I agree with DILETTANTE that certain types of violence are rewarded and even more accepted in society.

I think women are more afraid of men in charged situations certainly than men are of women. It was probably irresponsible to call it generic rage when the article did note it was toward wives although I would suspect in some men much of it is generic.

I think it is healthy for them discuss it under whatever circumstances they need to. But even under the circumstances described in the article, there is no clarify of what is the cause of the underlying rage. What are the causes and what is the wife doing? And I guess the point is that neither sex understands the other very well, the pressures each are under, the expectations each are supposed to fulfill, the personal humiliations or control each has suffered. And for all the talk about controlling men, I think you have an equal number of controlling, psychologically manipulating women whom I sure I would wish to do injury to. But the violence factor and the threat of serious physical injury (although going both ways) is still more dangerous to the average woman than the average man.

Sometimes I think that both sexes take all the accumulated rage they carry from outside the relationship into the relationship. And that is a lot of what we need to understand.

The more we know, the more it helps. This might not have been the way to go about doing it. And I agree with you, it's not an easy place to know where to start.
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Old 01-22-2006, 01:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
It was an interesting read, but she's still viewing and experiencing the situation as a woman, because she is a woman, even if she's pretending not to be one. So some of the conclusions she draws might not be the ones drawn by a man.
I agree with that. It reminds me of the book Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. In short, she is an upper class writer who took on blue collar jobs to try to make ends meet, experience what it's like to live without health insurance, etc. The bottom line is, she could never really experience what it feels like to be in that situation, because if something were to happen, she had her "real life" to fall back on.

I think this follows the same line. She is still a woman, and it seems to me, however hard she tried, there is no way she could truly experience what it would be like to live as a man.

I'd still be interested in reading her book, though.
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