What Reading Bukowski’s ‘Women’ Taught Me About Men
Cassandra A. Baim

I started reading Bukowski in the early 1970’s. At that time feminism was quite active. It was an exciting time, a very enlightening time, but I also began to feel rather beat up by the explosion of women’s anger that was part of what was going on. Bukowski was my “desensitivity” training, a way to keep myself grounded in a maleness in the strong winds of change. Just because, in his autobiographical fiction, he doesn’t write in the women saying “yes” to his sexual advances, does not mean he was raping them, or forcing sex on them in any way. If they did not want sex, they would have spoken up and he would have written it in. That’s my take, anyway. I hadn’t read a Buk novel in a long time but enjoyed reading “Hollywood” lately. There’s no sex in that book but still plenty of drinking, and he sustains in it a happy relationship with a woman who seems into drink as much as he.

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