“The Daddies” by Kimberly Dark— Masculinity and Patriarchy

Dark, Kimberly. “The Daddies”, Brill Publishing, 2018.

Masculinity and Patriarchy

Amos Lassen

Kimberly Dark takes us into a world where many of us have not visited before and it is quite an eye opener. She gives us a story about love, grief and change and the pain that we feel from these. She tells this story as we see ourselves in the pop culture of today and in doing so we see quite a dark look at masculinity. It takes place after two lovers break up and while this in itself is quite a story, Dark also presents us with a narrative about the need to break up the patriarchal system in which we live. What might be difficult to do is to keep our masculinity as we break down the system of the sense of male superiority. ’”The Daddies’ is about the pain of change”.

Dark begins by asking us how masculinity has found its way through everything that exists. She sees it as seductive and protective while also being destructive and volatile. What we need to do is “to embrace and re-imagine masculinity from the inside out and hold the embrace long enough to change the world.” In this world we have a system of patriarchy, desire and pain that affects femininity in all aspects. She does this by combining fiction, poetry, nonfiction

Dark’s work is a multi-layered hybrid of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, “autoethnography, biomythography, and collage to explore the concepts of ‘Daddy’ through a social critique of news and pop culture.” We thus see what gendered interactions are and what they tell us about erotic love and masculinity. In order to do this we must look at sexual abuse, gendered expectations, identity and desire in a world that is patriarchal.

Kimberly Dark basically presents us with a complex and genre-bending contribution to “queer feeling and to theorizing through storytelling.” We have an interrogation of the psychic structures and deep ambivalences of queer desire and kinship that is so much more than the ideas of perversion and subversion. “The Daddies” is a portrait of contemporary patriarchy by and for Daddy’s girls and Dark has lived through and experienced so much of what she writes about here making her an important person to tell these stories. What we have is “an honest, disturbing, difficult confrontation with the uncontainable.” We find the world of Daddies to be compelling and repelling at the same time.

“The Daddies” is beautifully written, honest and poignant . It is so important that we share stories about gender identity and inequality, sexuality and relationships because, I believe, the more we do, the better we understand our lives and who we are.

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