Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
by Julia Serano
In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations—both pre- and post-transition—to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.
Serano's well-honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. In this provocative manifesto, she exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.
In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activists must work to embrace and empower femininity—in all of its wondrous forms.
Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, performer, activist, and biologist. She is best known for her 2007 book, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, which garnered rave reviews—The Advocate placed it on their list of “Best Non-Fiction Transgender Books,” and readers of Ms. Magazine ranked it #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her second full-length book, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, was a Publishing Triangle finalist for the 2013 Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction. Julia's writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and in magazines and news outlets such as the Guardian, the Daily Beast, AlterNet.org, The Advocate, Out, Bitch, and Ms. Magazine.
Serano's understanding of biology (she has a PhD in Biochemistry from Columbia University and worked as a researcher at UC Berkeley for seventeen years) along with her life experiences as a transgender woman give her a unique perspective on gender and sexism, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in gender and queer studies, sociology, and psychology courses across North America. Visit her website at juliaserano.com.
The Queer Book Club was founded who knows how many years ago by two Smith grads, new in town and hoping to meet women. Since then, we've met many smart queers of various genders, read heaps of books, laughed a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We read books by and/or about queers: classics, contemporary and genre fiction, graphic novels, non-fiction, memoirs, plays, and poetry. We convene the third Wednesday of the month at 7 PM. After our discussion of the book chosen for the month, we adjourn to a local watering hole for socializing. Join us, even if you didn't get around to reading the book--you never know who you might meet!