Bordo Crossings

Popular Culture. Politics. Conversation.

Cultural historian Susan Bordo’s books and articles are responsible for many firsts. As a young feminist philosopher in a male-dominated discipline, she was the first to examine 17th century philosophy and culture from the perspective of gender. In Unbearable Weight, she broke with the medical establishment and prevailing psychological explanations to draw attention to the profound role of cultural images in the spread of eating problems across race and class. Her next book, The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private, brought a woman’s perspective to the then-emerging field of masculinity studies, and was hailed by many men as one of the most sympathetic feminist accounts of their insecurities. Twilight Zones, a collection of essays based on her public talks in the 1980’s and 90’s, presciently diagnoses the cultural and political assault on fact and evidence that reached a zenith in the second decade of the 21th century. The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen was the first to challenge the stereotypes and ill-founded narratives that dominated literary and historical accounts of Boleyn’s life. Bordo’s most recent books, The Destruction of Hillary Clinton and its follow-up collection of essays Imagine Bernie Sanders as a Woman remain the only accounts of 2016 and its aftermath that examine all the elements of the perfect storm—including the role of the mainstream media—that led to the elevation and reign of Donald Trump and Trumpism.

A college and university professor for many decades, Susan recently retired from teaching—but not from writing. Susan publishes frequently on Medium, on CNN.com, and soon to be published is TV, a volume in Bloomsbury’s “Object Lessons” series. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband Edward, daughter Cassie, three dogs, a cat, and a cockatiel.

How Tony Soprano Inaugurated a New (and Raw) Version of Masculinity
How Tony Soprano Inaugurated a New (and Raw) Version of Masculinity

How Tony Soprano Inaugurated a New (and Raw) Version of Masculinity

The fact that Tony Soprano, in 1999, inaugurated a new version of masculinity—one that boldly refuses to soften and make more palatable the violence that often goes along with the sexual (or any other) appeal of the raw—isn’t apparent until the fifth episode of the first season of the show, called “College.” The writer David Chase knew it would be transgressive.

Extract: TV by Susan Bordo
Extract: TV by Susan Bordo

Extract: TV by Susan Bordo

"Television and I grew up together." As a baby boomer born in 1947, Susan Bordo is roughly the same age as our beloved gogglebox, which began life as a broad box with a ten-inch screen, chunky and clunky and encased in wood. With the rapid changes in technology in the years since, "television", as Bordo points out, has become estranged from its material status.
TV
TV

TV

Weaving together personal memoir, social and political history, and reflecting on key moments in the history of news broadcasting and prime time entertainment, Susan Bordo opens up the 75-year-old time-capsule that is TV and illustrates what a constant companion and dominant cultural force television has been, for good and for bad, in carrying us from the McCarthy hearings and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet to Mad Men, Killing Eve, and the emergence of our first reality TV president.