Summer reading from the Clayman Institute: September picks

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Summer reading from the Clayman Institute: September picks

For September, we recommend “Covering,” "Radical Relations" and "The Social Sex"

by Gender News staff on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 12:57pm

fall leavesBefore school gets into full swing and the leaves begin to fall, read a great book—one that inspires discussion and debate. As in July and August, we’re recommending books that are relevant and poignant social commentaries. For September, we suggest Kenji Yoshino’s “Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights,” Daniel Rivers’ “Radical Relations” and Marilyn Yalom's "The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship."



CoCoveringvering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights

Kenji Yoshino

Everyone covers. To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream. Because all of us possess stigmatized attributes, we all encounter pressure to cover in our daily lives. Given its pervasiveness, we may experience this pressure to be a simple fact of social life. Against conventional understanding, Kenji Yoshino argues that the demand to cover can pose a hidden threat to our civil rights. Though we have come to some consensus against penalizing people for differences based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. In this remarkable and elegant work, acclaimed Yale Law School professor Kenji Yoshino fuses legal manifesto and poetic memoir to call for a redefinition of civil rights in our law and culture.



Radical relationsRadical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II

Daniel Rivers

In "Radical Relations," Daniel Winunwe Rivers offers a previously untold story of the American family: the first history of lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States. Beginning in the postwar era, a period marked by both intense repression and dynamic change for lesbians and gay men, Rivers argues that by forging new kinds of family and childrearing relations, gay and lesbian parents have successfully challenged legal and cultural definitions of family as heterosexual. These efforts have paved the way for the contemporary focus on family and domestic rights in lesbian and gay political movements. 





Social SexThe Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship

Marilyn Yalom

In today’s culture, the bonds of female friendship are taken as a given. Conventional wisdom tells us that women are more sociable, more empathetic and more “friendly” than men. But only a few centuries ago, the idea of female friendship was completely unacknowledged, even pooh-poohed. Dating back to the Greeks and the Romans, women were long considered “weaker” than men and constitutionally unsuited for friendship at the highest level. Only men, the reasoning went, had the emotional and intellectual depth to develop and sustain these meaningful relationships. In her newest book, “The Social Sex,” former Clayman Institute director Marilyn Yalom and her co-author Theresa Donovan Brown explore shifting attitudes toward friendship—female and male—from the Bible and the Romans to the Enlightenment to the women’s rights movements of the ‘60s up to “Sex and the City” and “Bridesmaids."