Sunday, April 29, 2012

Whipping Girl

"Too much gender for one man to handle, when I all need is a one-night scandal."
--Akon...sort of

Let me tell you, pop-cultural blogs are eyestrain inducing, since we have to read or watch things and then blog about them.  Recently I got a job (hurrah!) which for some reason made me get an eye exam.  A few years ago, I was told I had 20/15 vision, which is "better" than 20/20.  But now, when I covered up one of my eyes, everything was blurry!  So seems like the universe is conspiring against me when it comes to blogging more regularly.  Although now I'm actually using a wireless keyboard, with my back to the screen.  God bless technology.  Well, sort of.

Anyway, this is the long way of saying that I'm sad I have to take frequent eye-breaks from my reading of Whipping Girl (which I can't yet do with my back to the book).  It's really fierce and intelligent.  Julia Serano is very persuasive; if I was having a debate tournament, I would definitely want her on my side. 

[Image: Cover of the book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity]

One point the book has made so far is that rather than "smashing the gender binary" (which I've admitted I would like to do), what we really need to smash is gender entitlement.  I don't want everyone to be androgynous, which is how, Serano tells me, "smashing the binary" can be interpreted.  What I want is for the binary to not be so rigidly policed, so that people aren't judged for their gender expression, however they identify.  The gender binary has caused me a lot of pain, to the point that I don't want to be associated with it.  But when I speak about my distaste for the binary, I speak for myself alone. 

This book might also illuminate to me why, while I feel genderqueer, I can't give up identifying as a woman.  I see myself as a "genderqueer woman".  Maybe this is too contradictory to be accepted by most, even though some would say it's possible to have more than one gender.  The truth comes out in my discomfort with being referred to as a woman alone, by people who aren't aware of my complicated feelings about my gender.  However, I am treated as a woman.  My femininity is silly and frivolous, and my masculinity is some sort of aberration because it co-exists with my femininity.  But why this scarcity mentality when it comes to gender?  I want it all...the gender I was assigned/raised as, and then some.

(PS to Fellmama-- There's PLENTY more to discuss about this book, if you're game...I haven't even gotten into the feminism parts at all.  I'd be interested to know your thoughts!)


nekobawt said...

i'm with you on the "genderqueer woman" thing...i tried to explain it to a friend once as my gender is female but it's not from any kind of effort on my part. i don't think of myself as a woman, i don't think of myself as a man. i'm just a person with female body parts and stereotypically "girly" hobbies.

or maybe i'm a woman but i don't let it define me, or i don't know, gender is weird.

Ily said...

*High-fives Nekobawt* Yeah, once I started to seriously think about gender, it did (and does) seem very weird to me.