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Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender Paperback – September 27, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Firebrand Books (September 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563410907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563410901
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,278,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Over the course of the past decade transgender politics have become the cutting edge of sexual liberation. While the sexual and political freedom of homosexuals has yet to be fully secured, questions of who is sleeping with whom pale in the face of the battle by transgender activists to dismantle the idea of what it means to be a man or a woman. Riki Anne Wilchins's Read My Lips is a passionate, witty, and extraordinarily intelligent look at how society not only creates men and women--ignoring the fluidity of maleness and femaleness in most people--but also explains how those categories generate crisis for most individuals. It is impossible to read Wilchins's ideas and not be provoked in fundamental and mysterious ways.

From Library Journal

As the gay and lesbian movement heads toward the mainstream, the trans movement is left behind at the margins, virtually alone in challenging the way society constructs and defines gender and sexuality. The executive director of GenderPac, Wilchins combines personal narrative, essay, photojournalism, history, and a critique of the feminist and queer movements to present a unified rage against gender-based oppression. In her enlightening and moving book, she challenges us to break out of our boxes and view gender, eroticism, oppression, and persecution through the eyes of a strident member of the trans community. Covering much of the same territory, PoMoSexuals gives voice to 15 people living in the gray areas of gender and sexuality who struggle with what it means to have "nonstandard" erotic desires and identities in America. They represent people on the margins of gender and sexuality, ranging from a man who becomes a lesbian woman to a heterosexual woman exploring her attraction to gay men and a lesbian who writes gay male porn. These eye-opening stories carry us into the lives of people we don't usually encounter. The collection varies in quality, but pieces by well-known authors, such as Dorothy Allison and Pat Califia, help to carry the rest of the work. Wilchins also offers a powerful autobiographical essay. Academic libraries with gay/lesbian and feminist collections should include both books in their collections.?Jerilyn Veldof, Univ. of Arizona Lib., Tucson
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
As the straight as-yet-not-ex-wife of a transvestite man, I am trying to find readings to help me explain my situation to myself, as well as to friends or relatives. _Read My Lips_ is a serious book not written with the affectation that seems to afflict many male-to-female writers. While I still don't share the author's belief that all gender classification is oppressive, Riki does a good job explaining why some people do. I was particularly taken with her understanding that being female in this society is not all sweetness and makeup, and her willingness to point out the ways all the different kinds of gender outlaws she has encountered oppress one another. Not recommended as the first book to give your elderly mother or father; some familiarity with the rhetoric of feminism and liberation is helpful.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you're sick and tired of academic treatises on gender equality, read this book - it's a breath of fresh air. Wilchins raises many provocative questions, and, even better, has witty, wise and brilliantly articulate answers for them. Her analysis of the limitations of mainstream feminist and lesbigay movements complements Urvashi Vaid's Virtual Equality beautifully.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By cwyoung@massey.ac.nz on April 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I love this book, which adds to the burgeoning collection of work by transgender theorists on their lives and critical perceptions about them. As a fellow Foucault junkie, I like the way that Riki Ann has factored the instability of bodies and truth into this work. As a gay male in a women's studies programme that is very open to transgender theory, I welcome and value Riki's work as a contribution. Rest assured, the other tribes within the queer nation want to listen to what you have to say.Riki, please write something else, soon!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
Part autobiography, part feminist theory, part humor, Riki Anne Wilchins' book has brought the dialogue on gender up to date. The female to male transsexual perspective is not as prominent as it ought to be, Riki admits, and, yes, there is a dose of transexual angst. But it is delivered with humor, at times with an intense and graphic sincerity. The last chapter is a chronology of documented hate crimes against transsexuals, and it underscores the urgency with which Riki is questioning language and gender exclusion. The question is not "How to judge who is Woman or Man?", but "Why should anyone have the power to judge at all?" How can there be a genderqueer dialogue, if the language itself is heterosexual?
These forays into semiotics are interspersed with personal anecdotes and musings on the range of gender performance she has encountered as part of a growing "Transexual Menace" movement. They end with an introspective three person sex scene that runs for an entire chapter. How better to illustrate the true language of the genderqueer?
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