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Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us Paperback – April 25, 1995
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Kate Bornstein has written and book that attacks gender roles at the root, and not the flower. She is a male to female transsexual, in that she was identified as a boy at birth, and raised accordingly (there's a picture from her Bar Mitzvah), and was later surgically altered to look like a woman when she stands naked.
She has a woman's body, and a female name, and prefers the pronoun "she," but Bornstein does not claim a gender in the way gender exists as a social construct. Few things are as personal as gender, and no one has a right to dictate another person's gender, or even that a person claim a gender. She talks about men, and women, and everyone in between. The "everyone in between," however, are not sexless celibates nursing their melancholia in solitude; they are sexual beings like anyone else.
Bornstein, by dispensing with gender, opens up sexual possibilities that were previously unthought of. There's lots of sex in this book.
This book is not an apologetic for transsexualisn, or gender dysphoria. If anything, it is in your face regarding not only personal choices, but anyone who would dare to judge someone else's choices. This is not a plea for understanding, as books on transsexualism usually are, not a heart-breaking tale of emotional pain, rejection and confusion.Read more ›
People often do not realize that a person must read stacks and stacks of books, to even come-close to comprehending WHY Gender is such a Big Deal in most cultures (especially American culture, which is extremely Repressed and dysfunctional).
I have been asking myself Gender-related questions since I was a small child. Unfortunately, being raised in an environment that precluded the possibility of asking my parents any questions, or talking about such things in any other circumstances, all I had were Books.
Obviously, Kate has read her fair share of books, magazines, Psychological arguments (I mean views), etc. Luckily, she wrote about her research, personal experiences, the challenges involved with living "Alternative Lifestyles" and society's response to people dropping out of the tribe....
The most inspiring and interesting concept I found in this work, was the idea that "Gender" is a "Tribal" concept. If you do not act the way your Tribe ("Male," "Female" / "Man," "Woman") WANTS you to act, you get kicked-out.
I enjoy studying Anthropology and this concept makes more sense than a lot of the other theories I have read.
When Kate puts things into perspective, and shows (easily) that the Man Tribe vs. Woman Tribe theory is in-action every day, in most cultures....it is like a Revelation.
When you read this book, you realize that Males act as-if they are a Phallic Cult & Females act as-if they are a Non-phallic Cult.Read more ›
Now, Kate Bornstein is no "man-hater," after all, she used to be a man! But is she a woman now? Well, not exactly. while I may disagree with her occasionally cheesy use of the word "shaman" to describe exactly what she is, I know what she's getting at, because the beauty of this book is that most of us, transgendered or not, have been there, too.
The point is not that "she was a he who got his thing cut off." The point is that gender roles in our culture are way too stratified, too rigid. We need to play with them, to find out what would happen if, god(dess) forbid, we spent some time as neither, even if just while reading a book. As unradical and simple as that may sound, it is the point of Bornstein's book. it would be a start toward dismantling what she so astutely refers to as the cult of gender. She does include her e-mail address in her book, and I am eagerly awaiting a response from her to a message I sent.
I also recommend My Gender Workbook, which is illustrated by Diane DiMassa (who I met when she spoke at RISD!)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Still provokes thought after all these years. I will be using this next time I teach Psych of GenderPublished 6 months ago by Howard F
When you don't have to support your claims with verifiable facts, anything is possible. To the extent the author perceives gender to be non-binary and gender fluidity to be real,... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Robin Lynn Frank
This book has totally changed my viewpoints on gender! Coming from the perspective of someone who was already conscious of the system and pitfalls Kate describes, this book still... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Shiloh
Blew my conception out of the water. If you're interested in the operation of gender, this is a must read.Published 20 months ago by Eric