Christin, August 24, 2012 (view all comments by Christin)
This was an excellent book! She very clearly (and using plain language!) lays out the issues and problems faced by trans women in our society and shows how they may seem specific to trans women, but once you scratch the surface they really stem directly from traditional sexism and our societal devaluing of femininity in general. Also, I will love her forever for clearly articulating some of the problems I had with the hardcore pomo deconstructionists when I was in grad school. Back then I could never seem to put everything that was bothering me together and we were never taught any kind of critique of those pomo and/or gender performativity theories AT ALL because pretty much everyone there worships at the Altar Of Butler. Forget that, I’m with Julia!
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yonayona, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by yonayona)
I'm a trans dyke myself, but I was very isolated and didn't know any sort of queer or trans community till I moved to Oregon. A lover of mine who has been acting as a mentor to me has been enlightening me on the subject of trans feminism, and it's been really empowering. Whereas I once let my body and experience be exploited and mislabeled by cis people, I now am proud of who and what I am and use language for myself that makes sense to me.
With that said, I feel like we're currently in the '70s of trans feminism, as it were. Trans women are just starting to really talk about our experiences and produce our own works which represent us the way WE want to be represented, and I believe this book is a major step in the right direction.
In it, Serano deconstructs the oppression of trans women and, further, all feminine people in our society. Femininity and womanhood are viewed as artificial and inferior, she argues, while masculinity and manhood are valorized, even within feminist spaces. My aforementioned lover has experienced going to a conference or something of the sort wearing a dress and being ignored and condescended to, and then going the next day butch and being respected and having everyone agreeing with her.
Of course, this book is not without its problems. I feel that Serano's vocation of biology gets the better of her and she ends up essentializing gender a bit much. Further, she tends to be a little too binary-centric.
Still, this is a great book, one of the few that I actually bought after borrowing. I recommend that anyone read it, especially trans women.
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sonsnop123, June 14, 2008 (view all comments by sonsnop123)
I have known some transgenders - some in the process and some that have gone thru the whole surgical process and they appear much happier in their new life
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ppriebe1, June 14, 2008 (view all comments by ppriebe1)
I have met a few transgenders. Some fully converted,
( thats my term ) some that don't know what they want,
and others that just seem mental. This book does
open a window that most never see. These are real
life people, not play actors going for the oscar. If you
really want to see thier souls, read this book!
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Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
New Trade Paper
0 stars -
Seal Press (CA) -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"'With her first full-length book, biologist, writer and musician Serano positions herself as a Betty Friedan of the transsexual community. Making a case that trans discrimination is steeped in sexism and that trans activism is a feminist movement, Serano delivers a series of articulate, compelling and provocative essays that unmask many of the misconceptions surrounding transsexualism, gender and feminism. Where most books on the topic focus either on first-person accounts or clinical observations, Serano approaches her topic from multiple angles. Tempering her own experience as a transsexual woman with psychological documentation, historical research and sociological data, she explores the debate on biology versus socialization; the media's 'lurid,' 'superficial' and 'contrived' depictions of trans women; the psychology of transitioning; 'boygasms' versus 'girlgasms'; nonacceptance and marginalization of transsexual women by the feminist community; and the subtle shades of gray between masculinity and femininity. Though her writing is dense at times, Serano largely succeeds in breaking down complex issues and offering deep insights that will be valued by anyone interested in transsexualism or gender studies. (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"Serano has...either opened a door into a new world or widened the scope of an already informed discussion of gender, transsexuality and femininity. From either perspective, her work is worth investigating."
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