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Put multi-word tags in quotation marks. From: To: Optional Message:. You must be logged in to Tag Records. Coming to terms with transgenderism and transsexuality ; Skirt chasers : why the media depicts the trans revolution in lipstick and heels ; Before and after : class and body transformations ; Boygasms and girgasms : a frank discussion about hormones and gender difference ; Blind spots : on subconscious sex and gender entitlement ; Intrinsic inclinations : explaining gender and sexual diversity ; Pathological science : debunking sexological and sociological models of transgenderism ; Dismantling cissexual privilege ; Ungendering in art and academia -- Trans women, femininity, and feminism.
Firstly, it seems important that this reading takes a unique approach to discussing transsexuality. By taking such a perspective, she is able to challenge traditional sexism i. Secondly, it was essential for Serano to address the stereotypes of transsexuals, especially those stereotypes propagated by the media. The media plays a huge role in how the cissexual public i. Thirdly, I found it helpful that Serano made the connection between the resentment felt toward trans women and the existence of traditional and oppositional sexism in our society.
If even self-proclaimed feminists can be viewed as being misogynistic based on how they treat trans women, then this suggests that we have only scratched the surface on achieving gender parity. Lastly, I liked that the author concluded her book by discussing one final topic: gender entitlement. Despite these strong points, however, there were a few issues that I had with the book.
Most noticeably, it was a lengthy read that sometimes seemed repetitive. Secondly, the author occasionally came of as very if not understandably angry. To her credit, though, Serano still seems to retain hope that feminism will come to fully realize that trans women are an ally in the fight against gender inequality. Lastly, she could sometimes be very dramatic. It was my culture that had his way with me. As is probably evident, I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked that Serano took the topic of transsexuality somewhere that it rarely gets to go and that she challenged us to be more accepting of people who stand on the margins of society, but I also had issues with some of the directions that Serano chose to take.
In your opinion, what are the best parts of the book? What would you change, if anything? What do you think? Serano, Julia. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press. Can this book teach you anything even if you know the basics of transfeminism? Thank you! Dustfinger Yes! It is really interesting conceptually and can tought me a lot about greater society at large. See 1 question about Whipping Girl…. Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 02, Trevor rated it really liked it Recommended to Trevor by: Laia. Shelves: social-theory. I was talking to Lorena about this book — Lorena is my go-to person for all things gender related. I told her that the strangest thing about reviewing this book I tend to review while I read nowadays — one of the odd changes goodreads has wrought is how each of my mock reviews started with me stressing how straight I am.
Like someone about to review a book by a Nazi might start by mentioni I was talking to Lorena about this book — Lorena is my go-to person for all things gender related. Like someone about to review a book by a Nazi might start by mentioning they have Jewish friends. Did I mention I was straight?
ISBN 13: 9781580051545
Another friend of mine once told me he knew he was straight because he had never had a dream where he was having sex with a man, but frequently if not incessantly fantasised about sex with women. I am what normal is defined by. I was saying to her that my daughter can turn her tongue upside down in her mouth, literally flip it.
I assume, then, that understanding genders other than our own must be much the same problem. I found a lot of this book quite challenging. It always seems to be like believing you would be happier if you spoke French before you have started learning French. If you are born male it would seem hard to imagine how you could know you would be happier female.
This is actually explained in the book.
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The point being that the Irish were metaphorically negroes for a long time before there were black slaves in the USA. When I was growing up I always assumed the Irish would find racism abhorrent. But then I met more Irish people and found that often the opposite was the case. The discussion in this book on how feminist and gay rights activists treat transsexuals is another example of how we always love to find someone lower in the pecking order than ourselves to affirm our self-worth.
This book was also challenging because I prefer to believe that a lot of gender is socially conditioned and that genetics is very often overstated. The wonderful book Delusions of Gender shows that we grossly overstate the differences between the genders. I just find it very hard to believe there is a gene for applying lipstick or even for preferring to apply lipstick. Whether people are transsexual due to their genes or as their response to our gendered society seems an exercise in hair splitting.
I have to assume they know what they are feeling more than I do. She makes the point repeatedly that women are sexualised in our society in ways that men simply are not. But I kept thinking of those Calvin Klein ads. Then I thought about Elvis Presley thrusting his pelvis. Then I thought of the androgynous Mick Jagger. I think it would be hard to argue that these males have not been sexualised. But that it is almost invariably the first thing that is asked — and that transsexuals are about the only people in the world anyone would dream of asking such a thing to.
Lorena said that transsexuals can hardly expect people not to be curious — if they say they are transitioning between the sexes, then this is a fairly obvious and expected question. But I thought her point was good when she said that all this does is confound physical manifestations, particularly genitals, with femininity and masculinity.
If femininity is a continuum rather than a fixed opposite to masculinity, then genitals are only one aspect, rather than the final proof. There is also incredibly interesting stuff here about the gatekeepers — those who get to decide who can become female and who cannot. Rather, you need to prove to someone that you meet certain criteria. Some of the quotes from gatekeepers are hair curling. The point is that transsexuals are often portrayed as deceivers — seeking to entrap straight guys.
While we are on films I watched Marwencol recently. If I had any idea what it was about I doubt I would have watched it. They later nearly beat him to death. The savage nature of their attack is dumbfounding. If you want proof that we, as a society, have very strange views around gender and incredibly strict policing of gender roles, this film goes a long way to providing just that. Yes, they are much more extreme than general society would accept — but it is hard not to see these actions as being natural consequences to the strict gendering of our society.
As the author says, hand a man your handbag and watch him squirm. Try to put lipstick on him and see what happens. I think there is a pretty strong case to argue that the fear most men feel at being associated with 'women's stuff' leads to the beating the poor guy got in Marwencol. That it is only when both males and females begin to accept the feminine as natural, valid and universal that we will have a better society.
The problem with being female seems to me to be how much time it takes. There is a nice bit of this where she says she often asks people that if she offered them ten million dollars would they agree to live the rest of their lives as the other sex? Very few people ever agree to such a trade, even in theory.
But I think it must be a deep expression of gender socialisation, as no matter how much I want to think of the author as female, in the flow of conversation I found myself constantly using the male pronoun, despite myself and despite my frustration and annoyance with myself for doing so. I was pleased I was right about the novel Middlesex too.
For an author to say they want to write a book about a Intersexual, but not even bother to talk to one is pretty despicable. A very interesting book — thanks Laia. View all 20 comments. I loved this feminist book and learned so much from it. In Whipping Girl , Julia Serano, a lesbian transgender activist with a PhD in biochemistry, writes about how our society's fear of femininity leads to transmisogyny, transphobia, and various forms of sexism.
She grounds her arguments in biology, sociological perspectives on gender, and her lived experiences as a trans woman. Serano integrates a wide range of viewpoints and writes in an intelligent, digestible, and compelling way. She address I loved this feminist book and learned so much from it. She addresses so many important topics in Whipping Girl : cisgender privilege, cisgender people's disturbing fascination with trans people's genitalia, the lack of quality trans representation in the media and in positions of influence, how feminism should embrace the trans movement instead of excluding trans women, etc.
As a cis person, I know I have so much privilege and reading this book helped me further understand that privilege, as well as think of ways I can counteract transphobia and transmisogyny. A brief paragraph about subconscious sex that illustrates Serano's ability to write in an informative and understandable way: "Many cissexual people seem to have a hard time accepting the idea that they too have a subconscious sex - a deep-rooted understanding of what sex their bodies should be.
I suppose that when a person feels right in the sex they were born into, they are never forced to locate or question their subconscious sex, to differentiate it from their physical sex. In other words, their subconscious sex exists, but it is hidden from their view. They have a blind spot. We as a society discourage feminine traits like emotional expression unrelated to anger, nurturing and caring for others, and more. Serano ties this disdain of femininity into a lot of meaningful commentary and anecdotes, like how she really understood traditional sexism on an emotional level after she transitioned, or how we encourage masculine traits in girls yet discourage feminine traits in boys.
As a pretty feminine guy myself who loves my femininity and feminine things, I felt so validated upon reading this book and Serano's celebration of femininity.
A quote from Whipping Girl about the importance of femininity: "The greatest barrier preventing us from fully challenging sexism is the pervasive antifeminine sentiment that runs wild in both the straight and queer communities, targeting people of all genders and sexualities. The only realistic way to address this issue is to work toward empowering femininity itself.
We must rightly recognize that feminine expression is strong, daring, and brave - that it is powerful - and not in an enchanting, enticing, or supernatural sort of way, but in a tangible, practical way that facilitates openness, creativity, and honest expression. We must move beyond seeing femininity as helpless and dependent, or merely as masculinity's sidekick, and instead acknowledge that feminine expression exists of its own accord and brings its own rewards to those who naturally gravitate toward it.
The book does fall short in terms of intersectionality, as Serano could have inserted at least a bit of commentary about how transphobia and transmisogyny are exacerbated for people of color, poor people, etc. She does mention this in the preface of the second edition of the book, however.
Still, I hope that this book will continue to spur conversations about gender that elevate us beyond the gender binary, sexism, and anti-femininity, so we can work toward creating a more compassionate and inclusive society. View 2 comments. Jul 28, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: historical , feminism , memoir-biography , nonfiction , politics , queer.
This book has two halves, one of which I loved and one of which was pretty terrible. The parts where she discussed, analyzed, and criticized transgender issues from terminology to medical processes were awesome. Serano is a wonderful writer who really knows what she is talking about in this section. She challenges assumptions, educates, and really makes the reader think. I especially loved her final conclusions, that the focus should be on confronting gender privilege instead of simply performin This book has two halves, one of which I loved and one of which was pretty terrible.
I especially loved her final conclusions, that the focus should be on confronting gender privilege instead of simply performing gender in alternate ways. But the part about feminism was frustrating and terrible. She also uses the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival as an example of feminists excluding trans women, but Michigan is not a feminist event, just an event with a lot women. She also seems to think that feminism doesn't encourage femininity in boys, which is simply incorrect. You can find examples of this in the feminist movement in books like William's Doll in , the second-wave slogan "feminism is the liberation of the masculine in every woman and the feminine in every man", and the fact that encouraging traditionally feminine traits in men has a major component of third wave feminism.
That said, she does have some good suggestions that third-wavers should take to heart such as not discussing trans-exclusion policies in the media without trans activists, not supporting trans-excluding events, listening to trans people, examining their cis privilege, etc. It is clear that Serano's understanding of feminism that is primarily colored by her negative experiences with second-wavers, which pretty much dooms the book if you are a third-waver because you will be frustrated with her lack of current information.
I would recommend this book to someone interested in trans feminism, with the caveat that the person knew enough about feminism to see past the parts that gloss over feminisms diverse history. View all 9 comments. Jul 03, Julian rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: everyone. Shelves: queer , non-fiction. Gender analysis and theory that is somehow not wanktastic and jargony, is fresh, clear, and not all bogged down in a bunch of agenda driven bullshit, and based on the author's experiences as a trans woman.
Parts gave me an insight into things I will never experience myself. Nov 22, TJ rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. All of her writing on hormones feels very spot-on to me, as do her theories on "the scapegoating of femininity. It's pretty clear that Serano doesn't think that identifying outside of the binary is the most legitimate thing, but she doesn't wanna come right out and say it. She doesn't try very hard to make room in her big gender theories for non-binary folks, either, or even to use language inclusive of non-binary genders.
And how are you gonna write this sort of book and mention race like, twice?? I do still think that Serano is largely clueless about class and race and it especially shows in Excluded, BUT I am annoyed with myself for writing a review that basically boils down to "What about the trans people who aren't women??
But gender is different. Everybody has a gender. May 10, Carl Vine rated it did not like it. This book opens with a quote by Audre Lorde and, near the end, it references bell hooks to explain living as people on the margins. The latter example was the only time a woman of color living in 'white America' is acknowledged. As somebody with a PhD in Biochemistry, who has access to the time to read the political works of Lorde and hooks, Serano has failed to interrogate whiteness as an identity construct of power that seeks to further its dominance on all.
Failing to understand her whiteness This book opens with a quote by Audre Lorde and, near the end, it references bell hooks to explain living as people on the margins. Failing to understand her whiteness within 21st century multiracial but white supremacist academia, and citizenry within racial, imperial America a nation-state of Eurocolonial occupation Serano misses the mark on genealogy of gender intersecting Euro-domination discourses of race, anti-indigenous genocide, blackness and white masculinity.
The book's only mention of Iran evaded discussion on American domination on global media coverage of international relations and global security. My disappointment is solely with Serano as an irresponsible writer. Presuming that she has privilege and access to grassroots trans and gender politicized community organizing in Oakland, I seriously question her understanding of class and race. Jan 07, Zanna rated it it was amazing Recommended to Zanna by: Alicia. Shelves: feminism , grsm-lgbtqia.
julia serano - Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
I failed to distinguish personal interpretive note-making from writing for an audience here, and wrote too much about this book to fit into the space. I'd like to highlight these descriptions: Transphobia is an irrational fear of, aversion to or discrimination against people whose gendered identities, appearances or behaviours differ from s I failed to distinguish personal interpretive note-making from writing for an audience here, and wrote too much about this book to fit into the space.
I'd like to highlight these descriptions: Transphobia is an irrational fear of, aversion to or discrimination against people whose gendered identities, appearances or behaviours differ from societal norms. Serano points out that this is often related to insecurity; since gendered identities are so rigidly policed. Cissexism occurs when people attempt to deny transsexuals the basic privileges normally associated with their self-identified gender, such as deliberate misuse of pronouns, refusing access to restrooms.
This is particularly relevant to the exclusion of trans women by feminists — these excluders often behave as if it is necessary to be cissexual to experience gendered oppression as a woman. Trans is an adjective. Oppositional sexism is the root of transphobia, cissexism and homophobia. Serano introduced me to this term for the belief that female and male are rigid, mutually exclusive categories each with a unique, nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes and desires.
Traditional sexism is the belief that maleness as masculinity are superior to femaleness and femininity. This is also called misogyny. Trans-misogyny is the targeting of expressions of femaleness and femininity by men, gender queer people and trans women. Trans women are hyperfeminised in the media in order to make their femininity appear artificial and to make them seem weak, confused and passive. The media also hypersexualises trans women, suggesting they transition mainly for sexual reasons. Meanwhile, some in the feminist movement use the same tactics.
Serano shares her own experience of recognising her trans-ness. Many trans people recognise their misgendering very early in life, and immediately insist that they belong to the sex other than the one assigned to them. Serano came to this realisation more gradually. She points out that for children, gender identity is signed by preferences for activities, toys and interests.
Her passion for dinosaurs and desire to be a major league baseball player were at odds with her feeling of girlness. She shares that it was only at eleven, dressing herself in a white lacy curtain, that on seeing her reflection she realised that it felt right, and made perfect sense, to see herself as a girl. All of the words available in the English language completely fail to accurately capture or convey my personal understanding of these events.
Perhaps the best way to describe how my subconscious sex feels to me is to say that it seems as if, on some level, my brain expects my body to be female. For me, the penny drops right there.