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My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely Paperback – December 20, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0415916738 ISBN-10: 0415916739 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415916739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415916738
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kate Bornstein's 1994 book of autobiographical theory, Gender Outlaw, drew a line in the sand about the whole boy/girl thing. "Who needs it?" America's most active transgender activist questioned. Now, in My Gender Workbook, Bornstein has assembled a collage of simple exercises, quizzes, puzzles, and essay questions that systematically break down our ingrained ideas about how women and men--and whoever is in between--should act. Bornstein's breezy, "hey, let's all discover who we might really be" style works to make this potentially threatening material accessible and even intriguing to almost all readers. Just glance down, check out who--or what--you thought you were, and get ready to answer a few questions.

Review

My Gender Workbook [is] the most complete guide to living with or without gender to have been written to date, putting books like Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus squarely where they belong: on Uranus. -- Seattle Gay News
[T]he most exciting and difficult aspect of My Gender Workbook is the way it never relents. It asks a question, then another, then another, answering questions with more questions... Bornstein never tells us what or where the genderless promised land might be, but by the end of the book you do get the sense that she never describes it because she understands its indescribability so deeply. -- Hungry Mind Review
[Bornsteins] ideas are both novel and intriguing. -- Baltimore Alternative
My Gender Workbook may take a leap of faith to crack open, but the charm, wit, and quiet intelligence of its author will almost undoubtedly keep you along for the whole trip. And it is a trip, let me tell you. -- The Toronto Star

"My Gender Workbook [is] the most complete guide to living with or without gender to have been written to date, putting books like Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus squarely where they belong: on Uranus." -- Seattle Gay News

"[T]he most exciting and difficult aspect of My Gender Workbook is the way it never relents. It asks a question, then another, then another, answering questions with more questions... Bornstein never tells us what or where the genderless promised land might be, but by the end of the book you do get the sense that she never describes it because she understands its indescribability so deeply." -- Hungry Mind Review

"[Bornstein's] ideas are both novel and intriguing." -- Baltimore Alternative


"My Gender Workbook may take a leap of faith to crack open, but the charm, wit, and quiet intelligence of its author will almost undoubtedly keep you along for the whole trip. And it is a trip, let me tell you." -- The Toronto Star

Winner of the 1999 Firecracker Alternative Book Award, Special Recognition/Wildcard Category: Self Improvement


More About the Author

Kate Bornstein is a performance artist and playwright whose latest book was released May 1, 2012--a memoir, A QUEER AND PLEASANT DANGER, with the subtitle, "The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today."

Kate has authored several award-winning books in the field of Women and Gender Studies, including GENDER OUTLAW: ON MEN, WOMEN, AND THE REST OF US, and MY GENDER WORKBOOK which she is currently updating for a second edition after 15 years.

Her 2006 book, HELLO, CRUEL WORLD: 101 ALTERNATIVES TO SUICIDE FOR TEENS, FREAKS, AND OTHER OUTLAWS propelled Kate into an international position of anti-bully advocacy for marginalized youth which has earned her two citations of honor from the New York City Council and garnered praise from civil rights groups around the globe. Kate's books are taught in five languages in over 200 colleges and universities around the world.

Kate lives in New York City with her girlfriend, three cats, two dogs, and one turtle.

Photo Credit: Barbara Carrellas, 2012.

Customer Reviews

Both books are essential texts for those who want to explore non-binary gender constructions.
Chris Stoner
The book was high subjective, and after x number of pages in I was left feeling bored, confused, and strange (all things I don't need help feeling).
C. Stranger
I recommend this book to anyone who feels gender should be challenged, or feels gender challenging.
Shaina Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sophie on September 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you have ever wondered what a real man, a real woman, or a real something in-between is, this is a must read. "My Gender Workbook" has interactive exercises, advice, and guidance on gender, and provokes the reader to question the whole idea of gender as an absolute. We all have elements of each gender, and Bornstein goes to the point of arguing that there are many genders, not just two, and it is possible to lack gender entirely. As a transgendered person myself, I found the book enlightening and helpful in my own discovery of gender, and who I really am. In fact, this is one of the most useful books I have found on gender identity, and I refer back to it often.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By matthew barbour on February 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
a book for all genders, orientations, and adjectives. i've yet to show this book to someone who wasnt impressed. kate talks theory for those of us that would like a little, adds a dash of cosmology, and then gets into the true, errr, meat of exploring gender with fun exercizes and quizzes. hilarious, irrreverent, and ever-relevant it explores gender while maintaining the upbeat aesthetics of a true gender artist. whether your interest is academic or personal, it's a must read for _anyone_ interested in questions of gender.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nicklin Heap on May 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book - if it can be called that - is about the most extensive course in Gender Studies one could take without walking into a classroom and spending five months with a professor. Kate leads you through every step of the process with humor, insight and compassion - never pulling any of hir punches, though. If you're curious about the creation of gender, thinking about changing or reexamining your own gender, this is definitely a book you need to read.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. Venegas-Steele on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
There is stuff here that is good, and all of it is well-meaning. That said, this book is very much a mixed bag.

It suffers from having little sense of who it's audience is. I'd certainly wager that a large majority of people who are reading this book are feminists, queers, or transpeople - or, like myself, *all* of these - and a lot of it is very basic, even frustratingly so, for these people, and this simplicity often shifts back and forth with more advanced stuff. This means that the beginners who do read this may well get lost, and that the people who get the basics will get bored. A lot of it also feels simply cheesy, and even if I wasn't already familiar with the theories and practices presented, I think I would feel condescended to.

It also seems somewhat more MtF oriented than FtM; I can't really give a specific example, but it seemed to have more of a by-and-for trannygirls vibe. I suppose this is part of the problem with having the whole book on genderqueerness written by one white, MtF, middle-class person. Ze certainly tries to give voice to people of different backgrounds, and often succeeds, but having side comments and self-descriptions is different than having real input. This isn't so much an issue of specific instances; rather it's the assumption that one person's experience - any one persons experience, no matter how gender-transgressive they are - is sufficient to write what tries to be a guide to transgressing gender and identity; I think this book would have been much better as a collaboration.

That said, a lot of it is very good. It certainly will help some people understand some more things about themselves, their own (lack of) gender(s), and gender as a whole. The very least it will do is reassure trans/genderqueer/gender-variant people in it that they are not alone, no matter how much it seems so - a worthy goal.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Uke-kyun on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always considered myself an open-minded, unassuming person, but after reading the first chapter of this book, I have come to realize that there is a world out there that I never conceived: A world of In-The-Middle. Bornstein shares hir unique gender enlightenment with us through this workbook that could be used for personal exploration or as a college textbook. One thing is for certain: Bornstein will challenge your notions about what "male" and "female" are!
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By K. Morgans on December 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I used this book in a college class, and from an academic standpoint, I found it simplistic and many of the exercises seemed pointless. Even worse, Bornstein advocates a "gender-free or gender-bent" presentation of oneself, not realizing that because society creates gender rules, becoming gender-free is still buying into those rules through one's rejection of them. I think everyone should work through their gender issues on their own and not feel bad if they do happen to be a very feminine woman or masculine man (this book assumes every reader doesn't fit into any stereotype, or if they do act stereotypically male or female, it's not because they want to.) From the standpoint of someone reading this book casually, it's very affirming of our differences, but don't forget to read other gender-theory books as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Kooiman on August 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Kate Bornstein's writing is a pleasure to read! My Gender Workbook is a great way to start looking at nonstandard genders if you're used to thinking in strictly binary terms. While there's room in her viewpoint for girly girls and manly men, there's definitely a bit of bias towards transsexual and genderqueer folks. The quotes from different sources in the sidebar create a variety of perspectives on gender, in case you don't identify too strongly with Kate Bornstein's personal story (which, let's face it, isn't common to most of us).

If you're already breaking the gender binary- that is, if you're the sort of person who'd be interested in this book- then likely it wouldn't provide much more than some much-needed encouragement. However, if you're new to transgressing gender, then this is probably the book for you.
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