In 1998, Elizabeth Wurtzel published Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. In step with the grungy brand of nineties feminism, the subtitle was intended to be confrontational; women are not meant to be difficult, and certainly should not be praised for being so – at least, so says the orthodoxy that flattens women because here, really, “difficult” is a synonym for “complex”, for “real”, for “not conforming”. Imagine, then, for a second, a book devoted to the idea of difficult men. What do you see? What kinds of case studies fill that book? What does it mean for a man to be “difficult”? Does it still appear to be a synonym for “complex”, or is it something else entirely?
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