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Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity Paperback – May 14, 2007
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About the Author
More About the Author
Julia's second full-length book, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, published by Seal Press, will be available in October, 2013.
Julia's other writings have appeared in numerous anthologies (including Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, Transfeminist Perspectives: in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies, Best Sex Writing 2013, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, and Word Warriors: 30 Leaders in the Women's Spoken Word Movement), and in feminist, queer, and pop culture magazines and websites (such as Bitch, AlterNet.org, Out, Ms. Magazine blog, Feministing.com, and make/shift). Her articles and essays tackle a broad range of topics, including feminism, queer/LGBTQIA+, and trans activism, sexism, sexualization, media stereotypes, psychiatric depictions of gender and sexual minorities, the "nature versus nurture" debate, bisexuality, femininity and femme politics.
In addition to her writing and activism, Julia has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and spent 17 years as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the fields of genetics, and evolution and developmental biology ("evo devo"). Her understanding of biology, along with her life experiences as a trans woman, give her a unique perspective on gender and sexism that challenges many commonly held beliefs.
Top Customer Reviews
I found myself reading with my highlighter out because I was consistenly blown away by some of the arguments and insightful comments Serano made. Her very background makes her the perfect analyst: as a biologist, she has the foremost knowledge on scientific reasons for transsexuality and related subject matter, as a transsexual woman she has an intimate knowledge of the effects of both testosterone and estrogen, and of how society treats men and women. Feminists, students of gender, or just the average lay person could all benefit greatly from this book, in my opinion.
The reading can sometimes be a little dense- while much more readable than most, it still is primarily an academic text. And sometimes Serano can come off a bit cold and distant- not angry (or when she is, I believe it to be justified), but not exactly a warm and cozy narrator that draws teh reader in. Still, to me, that's a small price to pay.
All in all, it's something you have to read. But I thoroughly anticipate that this book will be revolutionary- a new, fresh perspective on feminism, transsexuality, and the queer movement.
We are the women who give up male privilege for femininity. Serano shows how much this fact threatens the patriarchy, and how transition treatment standards (set largely by men) have tended to objectify and pathologize us.
If you believe the psychiatrists who say we transition just to wear pantyhose, you should buy this book to read the real reason.
If you feel it is just that transsexual women are excluded from such venues as the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, you should buy this book for a convincing explanation of why such policies are flawed from the feminist point of view.
If your thinking has been formed by the feminists who've vilified us over the years, none of whom was transsexual, you owe it to yourself to buy this book to hear our side of the story.
And, if you are a transsexual feminist like me, not only will you buy this book, you'll be elated that we finally have our own manifesto.
Although her logic and common sense is very good, at times I found the book a bit too full of legalistic, persuasive argument and lacked in personal experiences that I could relate to. As a trans woman myself, although I agreed and understood whole-heartedly Ms. Serano's line of reasoning, I often found myself a little lost in the rhetoric which at times bordered on the partisan and philosophical. Sadly, at times the book's philosophical tone gets a little caught up in its own righteousness, vocabulary and hard-driven logic, and so loses heart in the process.
I would have enjoyed, and related, more I think to a story involving more personal and emotional anecdotes as well as the anti-transphobia partisanship that the book delves so deeply into. I suspect Ms. Serano's goal was to present a comprehensive and philosophical view from that of a trans woman feminist, which she does very well, and were I in a womens'-studies college class, this book might be an excellent text, however, for relaxing in the sun on a spring afternoon it began to seem a little dry and frankly made me sleepy.Read more ›
For me the deeply moving first paragraph of Chapter 15, Submissive Streak was worth the price of admission.
Serano's analysis (shredding) of the dreadful novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides was also refreshing after all the hoopla that book received from Oprah. I'm also indebted to Serano for the introduction of two new words, "autophallophilic"and "effemimania." Autophallophilic really helps to reframe the Bailey-Blanchard, Man Who Would Be Queen controversy.
Serano's tirade is well informed though I did tire a little of its relentlessness toward the end and longed for a bit of levity, just a little humor to make it a bit more palatable. In several places I felt she drew conclusions and made generalizations about human experience from her own youthful experience that might well evolve as she continues to observe and create. I certainly hope we'll be hearing more from her in the future.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing author and great book! Also, if you like this one, you should read her other book called "Excluded."Published 2 months ago by Angie McAdam
As a trans woman in transition I find this book very thought-provoking, empowering, and very useful. Ms. Read morePublished 2 months ago by shetachai chatchoomsai
Putting aside the fact that the author fails to grasp the psychiatric diagnoses that accompany gender dysphoria (we don't call it a disorder anymore), this book seems to be nothing... Read morePublished 2 months ago by E.King
Outstanding discussion and analysis of sexism, feminism, gender and the rationale for inclusion of trans women in these movements and in society in general. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amilynn Adams
I've been waiting so long for a smart, sane feminist perspective on femininity by someone who has real life experience, writes in an engaging, intelligent tone and sounds like... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Beautiful matter
Informative and accurate. Gives an accurate description of what it's like to be a trans woman. Of course her's is not the only experience, but it's better than someone else's... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Melody