Come Back Down to Earth
Zine, scanned pages with black ink marker
5.8”×8.27”/A5 (25 pages)
John Gray’s 1992 book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is an essentialist text that tells its reader that their relationship troubles are to be blamed on their partner because of their sex—they are literally from two different planets. Apart from the sexist content of the book, Gray’s text is stylistically different when he seeks to advise men and women.
To see what would emerge from this text if gender could be eliminated, I rewrote the book over its surface by blacking out pronouns from the author’s advice to hide whom the advice is for, man or woman. What I found after performing the deductions is that gender extends beyond pronouns and has seeped in the structure of the text deeper. The nature of advice that is offered to women differs greatly from the kind of advice that is offered to men, not only in the genre of self-help books, but also in different spheres of life.
As the original text is widely lauded as objective truth, with this tiny blacked out book, I invite you to approach the batin-ness* of gender in the text that emerges, with curiosity. Is gender still there? What space does it occupy? Where has it taken its roots, and how does it sprout? With this tiny book, I invite you to think about undoing/unlearning gender as a fact of nature, and think about the ways it is performed into reality.
Commissioned by Kurachee