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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and thought provoking, I wish everyone would read this book!!
I cannot recommend this book enough. Serano has gotten me to re-evaluate my own ideas on gender, privilege and feminism. As a more masculine identified queer woman, I have dealt with a lot of pressure to act more femininely. For much of my life, this pressure made me resent femininity and I fell into the trap of regarding it as trivial and artificial compared to...
Published 11 months ago by wolfy456

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7 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars misogynistic drivel
This book is full of a lot of sexist myths and shaming of women who have the audacity to not want men included in their feminist spaces.
Published 4 months ago by Terri Strange


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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and thought provoking, I wish everyone would read this book!!, October 9, 2013
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This review is from: Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Paperback)
I cannot recommend this book enough. Serano has gotten me to re-evaluate my own ideas on gender, privilege and feminism. As a more masculine identified queer woman, I have dealt with a lot of pressure to act more femininely. For much of my life, this pressure made me resent femininity and I fell into the trap of regarding it as trivial and artificial compared to masculinity. This book, like her previous one, has made me understand how this attitude was really misplaced blame rooted in misogyny. Her writing has helped me better relate to and respect many of the people in my life and has even helped me at work where I create and sell things geared towards women.

I love that Serano's writing is accessible, relates some of her own experiences and has ideas that affect my day-to-day thinking and discussions with others. At the same time, her theory of gender incorporates the complex relationships between different influences that are usually overlooked in more technical writing. The discussion of feminism and double standards has nicely articulated many of the frustrations I feel just from reading the news lately. What she says about exclusion within feminist and queer movements is especially important because it is easy to fall into the trap of privileging certain marginalized groups at the expense of others and in ways that reinforce the systems that disempower groups in the first place. I have noticed certain trends in my own social groups and this book has raised my awareness of why such attitudes are hypocritical and problematic. She also presents a compelling case for the term 'bisexual' that has made me reconsider my own reluctance to use the word.

I could go on in detail but mostly I recommend this book to anyone because gender plays a huge role in almost all of our lives and it is very helpful to consider the ways in which our assumptions and behaviors around such issues can be detrimental to ourselves and those around us without us even realizing it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a sharp and intelligent analysis of mechanisms of discrimination and marginalization, February 3, 2014
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This review is from: Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Paperback)
Ms Serano reveals in this book how many of the mechanisms underpinning discrimination and marginalization works by exposing cultural and sexist double standards. She then applies this knowledge to further reveal how transsexual women are specifically targeted and doubly discriminated against on account of being both women and visibly trans. I would recommend this book to readers who are interested in gaining a better understanding of the myriad ways in which women are suppressed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gentle Challenge for Feminists and Queer Theorists to Become More Holistic and Inclusive!, July 9, 2014
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I can unhesitatingly say that this is one of the best books I've read in 2014. Julia Serano is a very thoughtful writer who articulates a lot that, frankly, needs to be articulated. The gist of the book is that contemporary feminism polices sexuality and gender expressions within its ranks just as much as the heterosexist, masculinist, or monosexist folks they protest against. For instance, while a great many people treat homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and other "abnormal" sexuality or gender expressions as inferior, feminists often treat 'conventional' expressions (like females expressing femininity or male-to-female transsexuality) as suspect.

The author is a male-to-female transsexual (whose gender expression is feminine), and her perspective provides her with useful insights that might elude others. The first half of the book is a collection of autobiographical essays documenting the awkwardness of not being accepted in queer and feminist spaces. The common theme here is both that the author is often judged as somewhat inferior because she chose to change sex from male to female and gravitates towards feminine gender expressions. Transsexuality, it seems, is suspect both because to some, the author will never 'really' be a woman, and because in changing sex, the author does not 'challenge the gender binary' to many feminists' liking. And then there is the fact that Serano is feminine, which she recounts is often viewed suspiciously by those who want everyone to challenge existing gender norms.... even at the expense of doing what is natural to them.

The second half of the book is a more theoretical elucidation of what Serano thinks is wrong with current feminism and what she thinks feminists could do to become more inclusive. Several essays here are themselves easily worth the price of the book. Particularly, as a biologist, Serano devotes several chapters that challenge the "social artifactualism" that exists in feminist and queer thought that sees gender solely as a social performance with no biological influence. Serano champions a more holistic view of social construcionism that sees biology as one element that plays into determining what our preferences will be, but noting that culture, environment, and individual choice all interact with biology in a way where these four variables cannot be meaningfully disentangled. As much as I admire Serano's theory, I must say that by my understanding of biology (and behavioral genetics), her view is probably closer to the norm than most people would suspect. (See Evelyn Fox Keller's book The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture for a similar articulation.) Very few behavioral geneticists believe that one can disentangle the genetics that help determine a trait's expression from the environmental and cultural factors that determine a trait's expression.

Then, there are some REALLY good chapters where the author argues that all of us are likely victims of double standards that we face regarding our identities. The important thing, for Serano, is less that we fight patriarchy, heterosexism, and the like. As important as those things are, the important thing is to fight for a world where people can be who they'd like to be without ostracism, coercion, or fear of being judged inferior. We can fight patriarchy, but when that becomes a way to exlude anyone who identifies with 'convetional' gender identities as inferior because they are not challenging the gender binary, then we simply replace one judgmental 'ism' with another.

This is a wonderful book. Serano says many things that probably need to be said. In a world where a fair amount of feminist and queer theory seem to be getting repetitive, Serano provides some very useful critique that, if taken seriously, might change both areas of study for the better.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Julia Serano's "Excluded" is an Excellent follow-up to "Whipping Girl", December 11, 2013
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This review is from: Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Paperback)
"Excluded" is an excellent follow up to Julia Serano's earlier book "Whipping Girl".

Serano's books show an evolution of thought regarding the issues facing transsexual/transgender people. I find her books less problematic than the works of either Riki Wilchins or Kate Bornstein.

That said, Julia's thinking is evolving as her own life is changing. What one thinks when one is early in transition is often different from what one thinks after years have passed. Issues that seem pressing when one is in transition are often superseded by other issues including relationships and dealing with social discrimination beyond the feminist and LGBT communities.

I look forward to what she will write five or even ten years from now.

Her book is a must read for anyone who is a trans-activist engaged in the discourses within the LGBT communities as well as the feminist communities.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely critique, May 30, 2014
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As usual, Julia Serano has zeroed in on the tacit assumptions and fallacies underneath most discussions of gender; here, those which mar and intensify the internal battles which so often poison feminist debate regarding trans-gendered individuals. There is a flat spot in most feminist theorists regarding gender which mirrors that in the general population. In fact, she demonstrates pretty convincingly that the gender essentialism which is revealed in these discussions is hidden in much feminism, and frequently results in the isolation and exclusion of trans women, while hypocritically ignoring those same theoretical issues when it comes to trans men. In short, there is little room for the 'T' in LGBT liberalism nor in LGBT advocacy. The only reason I did not give the book a full five stars is that much of the material in the first half of the book has appeared in print before: including it at the start of the book gives it a disjointed impression which, in the end is not deserved, given the cogency and careful documentation behind most of Serano's arguments.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book., December 6, 2013
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This review is from: Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Paperback)
Julia Serano is the undisputed knowledge source for all things trans-feminist. I have read her previous works (Whipping Girl, various web blogs, and personal appearances) and was excited to see this new book. Am about half way through it and am not disappointed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and powerful piece, February 28, 2014
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This book really takes into account how multiple theories of activism is important and how over simplifying can me detrimental to activist progress. The topic of her personal story also adds a grounded and honest feel to the book as well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work of feminist analysis, May 12, 2014
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I admit I'm rather partial to Julia Serano's work, but this is still one of the better nonfiction books I've read this year. It is a bit focused on activist spaces, but that's exactly what it says in the title.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Eye opening, October 31, 2013
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This review is from: Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Paperback)
Julia does a fantastic job. I was assigned this book for a class and when I started reading it, I couldn't stop!
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7 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars misogynistic drivel, May 3, 2014
This review is from: Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Paperback)
This book is full of a lot of sexist myths and shaming of women who have the audacity to not want men included in their feminist spaces.
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Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive
Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive by Julia Serano (Paperback - October 1, 2013)
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