In Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women (Penguin Random House, 2021), Cornell philosopher Kate Manne offers a radical new framework for understanding misogyny. Ranging widely across the culture, from Harvey Weinstein and the Brett Kavanaugh hearings to “Cat Person” and the political misfortunes of Elizabeth Warren, Manne’s book shows how privileged men’s sense of entitlement—to sex, yes, but more insidiously to admiration, care, bodily autonomy, knowledge, and power—is a pervasive social problem with often devastating consequences.
In clear, lucid prose, Manne argues that male entitlement can explain a wide array of phenomena, from mansplaining and the undertreatment of women’s pain to mass shootings by incels and the seemingly intractable notion that women are “unelectable.” Moreover, Manne implicates each of us in toxic masculinity: It’s not just a product of a few bad actors; it’s something we all perpetuate, conditioned as we are by the social and cultural mores of our time. The only way to combat it, she says, is to expose the flaws in our default modes of thought while enabling women to take up space, say their piece, and muster resistance to the entitled attitudes of the men around them.
With wit and intellectual fierceness, Manne sheds new light on gender and power and offers a vision of a world in which women are just as entitled as men to our collective care and concern.
Allison Leigh is Assistant Professor of Art History and the SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Endowed Professor in Art & Architecture at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research explores masculinity in art and culture from the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries.