In the Saturday Essay, Devin O’Neill considers the dual nature of the male feminist, looking back not-so-fondly on the desire to “lash out” against an unforgiving world during high school and junior high. O’Neill used “nerd” and “goth” identities to cope with the anxiety of confronting gender norms. Androgynous role models like Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor served as inspiration, until eventually, and “perhaps ironically,” O’Neill writes, “I got into feminism for me.”
Then, in the Sunday Essay, Eiren Caffall uses classic children’s stories by Russell and Lillian Hoban to frame her memories of a childhood fraught with poverty and family strife. The conflicts in Caffall’s home are ennobled and dignified by the recognizable struggles of the little badger in Bread and Jam for Frances, and by Emmett Otter, whose exploits were recreated on screen by Jim Henson in the late ’70s and again in the ’90s.