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My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely [Paperback]

Kate Bornstein , Diane DiMasa
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)


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My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity 4.2 out of 5 stars (10)
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Book Description

December 20, 1997 0415916739 978-0415916738 1

Gender isn't just about "male" or "female" anymore - if you have any doubts, just turn on your television. RuPaul is as familiar as tomato ketchup with national radio and television shows, and transgendered folk are as common to talk-shows as screaming and yelling. But if the popularization of gender bending is revealing that "male" and "female" aren't enough, where are we supposed to go from here? Cultural theorists have written loads of smart but difficult-to-fathom texts on gender, but none provide a hands-on, accessible guide to having your own unique gender. With My Gender Workbook, Kate Bornstein brings theory down to Earth and provides a practical approach to living with or without a gender.

Bornstein starts from the premise that there are not just two genders performed in today's world, but countless genders lumped under the two-gender framework. Using a unique, deceptively simple and always entertaining workbook format, Bornstein gently but firmly guides you to discover your own unique gender identity. Whether she's using the USFDA's food group triangle to explain gender, or quoting one-liners from real "gender transgressors", Bornstein's first and foremost concern is making information on gender bending truly accessible. With quizzes and exercises that determine how much of a man or woman you are, My Gender Workbook gives you the tools to reach whatever point you desire on the gender continuum.

Bornstein also takes aim at the recent flurry of books that attempt to naturalize gender difference, and puts books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus squarely where they belong: on Uranus. If you don't think you are transgendered when you sit down to read this book, you will be by the time you finish it!



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


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: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing September 29, 2002
By Sophie
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
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible! mind-blowing! 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
4.0 out of 5 stars So you think you know what you are... 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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-opening book for all 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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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-Meaning, and Sometimes Well-Done, But Often Flawed 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 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overly simplistic 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to nonstandard gender 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Nope.
I found a free copy of this and tried my damnedest to read it and fill out the gender aptitude questions but not only was the formatting awful, (pick ONE FONT, oh my god) but the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Hedo
1.0 out of 5 stars A pointless book.
This book is really badly written, and it's written by and for people who think they know what it means to actually be the opposite gender or who hope to, yet fail to accomplish... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun
Doesn't try to convert you to questioning yourself or anything like that, has a lot of fun activities that force you outside of your comfort zone and help you understand what... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Agent Smashing
4.0 out of 5 stars Work it!
The workbook aspect of this title is what really sells it. I think there are some details in the book that sex/gender scholars might quibble over, but overall the power of this... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jason Crockett
5.0 out of 5 stars My Gender Workbook
This is a great book for begining discussions or exploration into gender idenity and how sexuality is fluid and that gender can not be controlled by biology.
Published 21 months ago by R. Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging genders
A very challenging book on who you are or who you think you are. It deals with how we see ourselves as gendered selves, and the various quizzes within give you the opportunity to... Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by Toosh
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for youth--rather young adult
I bought this workbook hoping it would be an additional resource for young transgenders 11-17 In reality, more for the 20+ year olds.
Published on November 19, 2011 by Mary A. Brasch
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting approach
This book has an interesting approach to helping you become more comfortable with your gender even if you are as straight as can be. Read more
Published on October 23, 2011 by Cory M. Salles
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Those Interested in Gender Studies
For people who want new ways to think and talk about gender, Kate Bornstein is a national treasure. Her work engages with the best thinkers of queer theory and gender studies and... Read more
Published on October 10, 2011 by Chris Stoner
1.0 out of 5 stars Look else where
I greatly dislike this book. I suppose that's not entirely fair considering that I actually read very little of it, but for the life of me I could not get into it. Read more
Published on September 8, 2011 by C. Stranger
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