A Provocative Manifesto, Whipping Girl Tells The Powerful Story Of Julia Serano, A Transsexual Woman Whose Supremely Intelligent Writing Reflects Her Diverse Background As A Lesbian Transgender Activist And Professional Biologist Serano Shares Her Experiences And Observations Both Pre And Post Transition To Reveal The Ways In Which Fear, Suspicion, And Dismissiveness Toward Femininity Shape Our Societal Attitudes Toward Trans Women, As Well As Gender And Sexuality As A WholeSerano S Well Honed Arguments Stem From Her Ability To Bridge The Gap Between The Often Disparate Biological And Social Perspectives On Gender She Exposes How Deep Rooted The Cultural Belief Is That Femininity Is Frivolous, Weak, And Passive, And How This Feminine Weakness Exists Only To Attract And Appease Male DesireIn Addition To Debunking Popular Misconceptions About Transsexuality, Serano Makes The Case That Today S Feminists And Transgender Activist Must Work To Embrace And Empower Femininity In All Of Its Wondrous Forms

10 thoughts on “Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

  1. says:

    I was talking to Lorena about this book Lorena is my go to person for all things gender related She lived as a lesbian for many years and so knows stuff I can t even guess at 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 It s the strangest thing Like someone about to review a book by a Nazi might start by mentioning they have Jewish friends.Did I mention I was straight 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 On the basis that you can t really control your dreams, this does seem like fairly strong proof.And because I m straight and white and middle class and English speaking and male Jesus, it is hard to imagine I could be any boring I am all of the zero states I am what normal is defined by But this kind of privilege is the invisible kind to those who hold it, even if it is all too obvious to those who don t Still, it puts me at a decided disadvantage discrimination is something that happens to others and the most powerful lesson I can learn is to assume I don t understand and to try to listen with compassion.I ve also been chatting with the person that recommended I read this book I was saying to her that my daughter can turn her tongue upside down in her mouth, literally flip it I can t even imagine how this could be done If I d read it in a book, rather than seen it live and in the mouth of my daughter, I might even doubt that it could be done When I try to do it myself I can t even work out which muscles might get my tongue to do such a thing 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 To start with I am one of the people discussed here who can t understand how one could possibly know they would be happier as the other sex 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 The answer is that you don t know You see, that was the other thing I ve often wondered about If you feel quite different after taking female hormones, as I ve often heard you do emotional, and sex sounds better too, and even female well, what did you feel before the hormones But I d always believed the I m a woman trapped in a man s body clich before, so I found this bit incredibly interesting The bottom line is that it isn t that you feel that becoming female will certainly be right, it is that you know being male is certainly wrong.I m about to begin reading a book called How the Irish Became White The point being that the Irish were metaphorically negroes for a long time before there were black slaves in the USA Uneducable, fit only for crap work, morally degenerate the Irish prove you don t need an easy to identify skin colour to mark you as inferior When I was growing up I always assumed the Irish would find racism abhorrent But then I met Irish people and found that often the opposite was the case That rather than loathing racism, they loved the idea that they weren t the bottom of the pile 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 But really, I m not sure what difference it makes Whether people are transsexual due to their genes or as their response to our gendered society seems an exercise in hair splitting The fact is that they are prepared to go through hell and back to become their preferred gender sex I just don t have the right to say they are deluded, even if I have to admit that I can t understand what it is they are going through I have to assume they know what they are feeling than I do.There were bits of this I didn t agree with 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 Or even One Direction I started off agreeing with her when she said that it really isn t anyone s business if a Transsexual has had bottom surgery 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 So, tell me about your genitals Is hardly an acceptable conversation starter with most people 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 To get thought this it isn t enough to say you would like to have a go at being female to see how it works out Rather, you need to prove to someone that you meet certain criteria Often those criteria say much about our society s view of genders than it does about your desire to become female Some of the quotes from gatekeepers are hair curling If you look too masculine you can be as many women trapped in a man s body as you like you re probably not getting any treatment And don t forget your high heals when you go to your appointment you want to be a women, you d better act like one, and one straight out of the most sexist ad you can think of.I haven t really seen many of the films she discusses here The Crying Game, for example, or Ace Ventura The point is that transsexuals are often portrayed as deceivers seeking to entrap straight guys Like most other clich s this one has had its day and ought to be seen for what it is a projection of the homo eroticism of supposedly straight guys, rather than the deviousness of transsexuals.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 Like watching films about the holocaust, I know such films are good for me, but actually, they take me days and days to get over and I would rather not go through that Marwencol is about a guy who is at the pub and tells some other guys he sometimes wears women s clothing 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.Now, before you say that this is just a few guys at the far edges of the outlining tail of society and that most people wouldn t do that I have to say that isn t such a great argument Yes, they are much 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 I m saying this as someone who has never thought of putting on women s clothing or being a gender other than male but this probably just proves how well socialised I ve been 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.I m not sure what to make of a lot of this basically, the argument at the end is that femininity has been grossly undervalued in our society and that many feminists likewise see the feminine as being frivolous 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 But I can t ever see myself wearing pumps or bangles 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 It is an interesting thought experiment and interesting because we so often ask transsexuals to do exactly that live in a body they don t feel they belong in but without the money to compensate.Now, while I ve been telling people about this book I ve found it insanely hard to keep referring to the author as she like my desire to constantly remind people I m straight while I write this, it is something I ve found really irritating about myself The author claims this is an example of cissexual prejudice 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 Just saying There is nothing worse than someone thinking they know about stuff they really can t know about that really shouldn t be the role of an author Writing isn t about guessing, it should be about exploring what you know at least, that s my latest definition 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.

  2. says:

    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 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 While I appreciated way too many of the arguments in this book than I can get into in a single review, I especially cherished how Serano wrote about anti femininity throughout Whipping Girl We as a society discourage feminine traits like emotional expression unrelated to anger, nurturing and caring for others, and 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 Overall, a great book I would recommend to anyone interested in gender, feminism, or social justice, especially fellow cis people 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 compassionate and inclusive society.

  3. says:

    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 performing gender in alternate ways.But the part about feminism was frustrating and terrible I would guess that 80% of her examples of feminists who disparage trans people come from the 70 s and 80 s and feminist and trans histories of that period she is essentially telling the feminist movement to confront and change something that is already being confronted and changed by the third wave 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 1972, 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.

  4. says:

    COMPLETELY AWESOME IN EVERY WAY 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 As I read this book, my primary thoughts were This makes SO MUCH SENSE Parts were like reading the inside of my own head Parts gave me an insight into things I will never experience myself Brilliant.

  5. says:

    There are things I love about this book, mostly Serano s personal writing, and some of the writing about her experiences on estrogen are beautiful heartbreaking All of her writing on hormones feels very spot on to me, as do her theories on the scapegoating of femininity But there were too many little unfair jabs at non binary genderqueer folks, and some of them felt really hurtful and maybe she made me cry 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 hints at thinking that genderqueerness is a mostly politicized identity not rooted in a similar sort of gender body sadness or discomfort disconnect as hers 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 STILL a lot of this writing is useful important if you go into braced for an uncritically white, middle class, sorta maybe probably binarist perspective ETA I wrote this review about 2 years ago and it s still getting likes occasionally, so I feel like I should add that I no longer stand behind this review and am kind of embarrassed of it 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 I now feel that binarism is flawed concept, as it posits that trans women are privileged in some way FOR being trans women, which is ridiculous Anyway, I mostly agree with Serano s basic concepts in Whipping Girl, but I still think she s kind of a bad writer who should probably stop trying to be some like, social critic if she s going to say shit like, As a white person, I never have to think about race, except on those rare occasions when I am in a non white majority space.But gender is different Everybody has a gender See for on this

  6. says:

    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 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.

  7. says:

    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 The full review summary is in three parts here Part IPart IIPart IIINeedless to say, I found the experience too important and overwhelming to review properly 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 is the belief than transsexuals identified genders are inferior to, or less authentic than those of cissexuals 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 The cissexist insists that cis genders are real natural while trans genders are fake Serano notes that this is incredibly na ve we make assumptions about other peoples genders constantly without ever seeing their birth certificates, chromosomes, genitals, reproductive systems, childhood socialisation or legal sex 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 Attempts to third sex trans people with words like transwoman MTF used as a noun are also cissexist, dismissing profoundly felt gender identities and ignoring the experiences that arise from being treated as a member of the sex the person has transitioned to 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 Those who fall outside gender sexual norms are punished are dismissed to maintain the male centred gender hierarchy.Traditional sexism is the belief that maleness as masculinity are superior to femaleness and femininity This is also called misogyny It occurred to me while reading, that radical feminism recognises traditional sexism its core tenet, in my view, is the identification of this single meaning of gender as a structure in which male better I ve come to accept that this is only one of the many meanings of gender there are as many meanings as we find and create in this field of signs but often reinforces oppositional sexism by failing to recognise it The radical feminist endorsement of lesbianism is different, I think, from the LGBT movement s rejection of oppositional sexism it is based on political solidarity between women, to some extent, against maleness.Trans misogyny is the targeting of expressions of femaleness and femininity by men, gender queer people and trans women The fact that all women can wear male identified clothing without much comment, while men who wear women s clothing can be diagnosed with transvestic fetishism is an example of trans misogyny When women s organisations and events open their doors to trans men but close them to trans women, that is trans misogyny.According to Serano, trans women, who choose to be female, represent the greatest threat to the male centred gender hierarchy, and our sexist culture thus marshals all its forces against them 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 It also objectified trans women s bodies by focussing on and sensationalising sex reassignment surgery Meanwhile, some in the feminist movement use the same tactics While proclaiming women can do anything men can , we ridicule trans women for any perceived masculine tendency, such as speaking out We complain about the standards and expectations men demand we meet, then dismiss trans women because they don t meet our own arbitrary requirements.And here s what I wrote about the chapter that I felt was most pivotal to my own thinking, followed by what I wrote on the one that I find most controversial Blind Spots On Subconscious Sex and Gender EntitlementIn a way this chapter has the deepest resonance for me, because I too have had a blind spot for what Serano calls subconscious sex, which is usually confusingly called gender identity or internal gender 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 gradually At five or sex years old, she remembers knowing that she was physically male and that other people thought of her as a boy, but she had contradictory dreams and felt that something was wrong when going into the boys toilets and when her class was split by gender 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 For example, if I were to say that I saw myself as female, or knew myself to be a girl, I would be denying the fact that I was consciously aware of my physical maleness at all times And saying that I wished or wanted to be a girl erases how much being female made sense to me, how it felt right on the deepest, most profound level of my being I could say that I felt like a girl, but that would give the false impression that I knew how other girls and other boys felt And if I were to say that I was supposed to ebe a girl or that I should have been born female, it would imply that I had some sort of cosmic insight into the grand scheme of the universe, which I most certainly did not.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 When I first discovered radical gender critical feminism, I described myself gender agnostic , since I don t feel my gender While I certainly feel very uncomfortable if I imagine transitioning to a male sex, I have been able to rationalise this as discomfort with the unfamiliar But Serano has enabled me to recognise that this aspect of my body sense is much significant and integral I don t feel my gender because I experience what she calls gender concordance my body is the sex my brain expects it to be Cissexuals don t notice this because, well, isn t the essence of comfort the absence of discomfort Trans experience shows definitively that what Serano helpfully terms subconscious sex is a brain based reality.For Serano, the experience of her female subconscious sex was not accompanied by the desire to explore female gender roles or to express femininity It was not the result of social gender constructs, as it defied everything she had been taught about gender and the encouragement she received to think of herself as a boy and act masculine She was considered a normal acting boy, and her family was not particularly restrictive, so neither was the experience a reaction to strong gender policing She argues that subconscious sex is independent of sexuality and gender expression At first, she thought she must be gay influenced by stereotypes but she was further confused by finding herself attracted to women, not men In the majority of instances, thinking of herself as female was unrelated to sexuality.After experimenting with cross dressing, she lost interest in it, realising that her desire to be female had nothing to do with clothing or femininity per se She later identified as bigendered, becoming an androgynous queer boy.I eventually reached the conclusion that my female subconscious sex had nothing to do with gender roles, femininity, or sexual expression it was about the personal relationship I had with my own body.For me, the hardest part about being trans has not been the discrimination or ridicule that I have faced for defying societal gender norms, but rather the internal pain I experienced when by subconscious and conscious sexes were at odds with each other sometimes it felt like stress or anxiousness, which led to marathon battles with insomnia Other times, it surfaced as jealousy or anger at other people who seemed to take their gender for granted But most of all, it felt like sadness to me a sort of gender sadness a chronic and persistent grief over the fact that I felt so wrong in my body.Serano points out that she gave up male and heterosexual privilege she is married to a woman to transition, but it was all worth it for the most important gender privilege of all feeling at home in my own sexed body.Serano identifies gender entitlement, which can affect anyone, as the arrogant conviction that one s own beliefs, perceptions and assumptions regarding gender and sexuality are valid than those of other people This can lead to gender anxiety, the act of becoming irrationally upset or being made uncomfortable by the existence of those people who challenge or bring into question one s gender entitlement This leads us to insist that certain genders or sexual inclinations are natural, and to demand than others curb or conform their own inclinations to meet our expectations We must recognise that other people s genders and sexualities have no bearing on our own Putting the Feminine back into FeminismSo, finally we come to what feels to me like a key question what is femininity really about, if not about the subservience and passivity patriarchy projects onto it Serano suggests that femininity has been perceived as a package deal of gender expressions, traits and qualities However, she notes, some women are verbally effusive and emotive female identified traits but not feminine in their manner of dress, and vice versa Those who wish to naturalise femininity describe feminine traits as though they were bundled in a single biological program that is initiated only in genetic females Such claims gloss over the many people who have exceptional gender expressions on the other hand, those who wish to artificialise femininity characterise it as a unified social program designed to shape women s personalities and sexualities In the later case, by showing that one aspect of femininity is a sexist projection, one can claim that femininity as a whole is unnatural or it would not have to be enforced at all.This is a tempting idea for feminists, but I m feeling Serano here when she points out how simplistic it is, arguing that feminine traits arise from different combinations of biology and socialization She described being told to smile by strangers after transitioning an act of street harassment Over time this diminished and she wondered why, concluding that she had learned to make less eye contact to avoid the harassment Traits such as the preference for pink, are very obviously socialized, but others, such as being attuned to one s emotions, seem to be influenced by hormones as well as social expectations and learning.Above and beyond characterising femininity itself, Serano critiques sexist interpretations of it For example, the desire to help others is interpreted as a feminine trait and taken to imply a duty for women to care for children Feminine self presentation is interpreted as existing solely to attract men, denying any possibility that feminine people might wish to adorn themselves for their own pleasure there is a big issue of status and class that is left out of the discussion here Serano notes that many men rarely notice new haircuts or clothes and are generally much interested in bodies The interpretation is male centred and sexist the behaviour itself is not.if we thought about the feminine traits of being verbally effusive and emotive not as signs of insecurity or dependence, but as bold acts of self expression, then the masculine ideal of the strong and silent type might suddenly seem timid and insecure by comparisonThe mistaken belief that femininity is inherently helpless, fragile, irrational and frivolous gives rise to the commonplace assumption that those who express femininity are not to be taken seriouslySerano finally discusses feminist interpretations of femininity She distinguishes between unilateral feminism and deconstructive feminism The former, identified with the second wave, views sexism as a simple matter of women oppressed at the hands of men This view sees women as oppressed by belittling meanings and assumptions projected onto their bodies, and coercion into femininity, the product of subservience A distinction between sex and gender allowed feminists to challenge the sexist ideas projected onto their bodies while ignoring negative messages associated with femininity Some advocated androgyny as natural while others worked on a positive idea of natural womanhood, which had to arise from biology rather than man made femininity, which was denigrated.In contrast, deconstructive feminism focuses on oppositional sexism rather than traditional sexism These feminists regard both gender and sex as socially constructed an argument made by me elsewhere, which I stand by in general It also artificialises femininity, emphasising the performance model of gender They tend to argue that femininity is socially imposed, that most women are duped into believing that it is intrinsic, that people in the know realise that gender expression is highly malleable and therefore adopt a radical antisexist gender expression androgyny or drag for example , and crucially, that feminine women are enabling sexism and collaborating in their own oppression This tends to put women with feminine inclinations off feminism.Serano suggests that this deconstructive feminism involves a degree of projection by people with somewhat exceptional gender inclinations I m actually unconvinced by this She also argues that it is patronizing towards those to whom femininity feels right The idea that femininity is artificial is misogynistic denigrating femininity has taken the cultural place of denigrating femaleness While I feel sceptical about the extent of her critique of social constructivist perspectives, I do think that it is important to realise that femininity is never going to disappear some behaviours and traits though the behaviours and traits in question can certainly change just as blue was once a girl colour and is now a boy colour will inevitably be female identified Serano s perspective clearly shows that the meanings projected onto femininity are sexist and artificial, and will continue to haunt all who are female and or feminine until we embrace and empower female identified expression, rather than demanding that women become or behave like men.

  8. says:

    I am beginning to wonder if It s good to be cis parallels It s good to be rich Being rich makes all these other problems of life invisible you want something You get it Or you order someone to get it for you The wish is the deed For the rest of us, the wish can be a receding mirage as we struggle to make a penny stretch, to squeeze time from job and other obligations, yadda So, yeah, it s nice to be rich but no one comes along and helpfully legislates that we all have to be rich.Books like this are demonstrating to me that cis rich in that many of the problems faced by people who are not cis are invisible, just as all the problems we face in surviving are invisible to the rich.Well, that s enough of me maundering to the book Some have pointed out that it s trans 101 but I think a lot of us cis people need trans 101.Serano sets out to debunk many of the myths and misconceptions that people have about transsexual women, as well as gender in general What is deeply disturbing is how much malice is extended toward women who are discovered to be non cis.She gets into reasons, among which is that people are targeted not only for their femaleness, but for their expressions of femininity This scapegoating she speaks of also takes place in strata of the gay community, underscoring the fact that feminine inferior on so, so many levels.The goal is to get people to be aware of gender entitlement Does it succeed I can t say so much of what she talks about is new territory for me She certainly got me to thinking.

  9. says:

    wildly self indulgent, often incoherent, manages to make some pretty colorful topics incredibly boring odd and offensive takes on feminism talks a lot and says very little worth refuting i get it you are very special and very smart grateful to be finished reading this

  10. says:

    Anti woman, anti lesbian, not feminist.