I really loved this book, largely in part because Jenny reminds me a lot of my MtF partner in personality, but it's also a great story about the fearI really loved this book, largely in part because Jenny reminds me a lot of my MtF partner in personality, but it's also a great story about the fear of imposing on those you love with who you really are, and some of the costs and delights of finally asking to be seen. I love the supernatural as a metaphor.
The familiar narrative of suffering by denying the queer self, and then using that suffering as the basis of legitimacy for finally existing as queer, is an important but hopefully soon to be dated story. I hope that all transpeople can grow up today confident that they are lovable, no apologies.
There's also some interesting parallels between "I'm Looking Through You" and Allison Bechdel's "Fun Home", also a memoir (though in graphic novel format), which is about a young, androgynous queer girl coming of age and trying to make peace with her family, particularly her dead father. It's set in the same time period, also in an upper middle class white family who move into an old Victorian home which is the father's pet project. Both are respectively fantastic for what makes them different, but if you liked "I'm Looking Through You", I'd highly recommend "Fun Home", too....more
An informative and informed history of the structural racism and sexism of science since the Enlightenment. Schienbinger excellently fleshes out the sAn informative and informed history of the structural racism and sexism of science since the Enlightenment. Schienbinger excellently fleshes out the social and political contexts for her arguments, and reminds readers that science continues to be exclusionary (as most of my non-white and/or non-male scientist friends can attest to). Highly recommended to anyone who is interested in or is otherwise studying gender and race history in America, science, art history, anthropology, and philosophy (especially phenomenology, since the treatment of one's body is a large part of how one experiences the body, but obviously there are ethical philosophical issues raised in this book as well)....more
The scope of this book is at once too much and just right. The first 200-300 pages took me longer to get through than the page-turning adventure of thThe scope of this book is at once too much and just right. The first 200-300 pages took me longer to get through than the page-turning adventure of the second half, and while they certainty added depth of character and significance to Desdemona's secret being revealed, it's like they were two different novels. The first novel is a love poem addressed to Detroit, and the second, almost entirely separate novel is Cal's story. While it did seem that there was not as much exploration of her/his shifting gender identity, I think he neatly addresses this when he writes that the social constructionists had it wrong but so do the evolutionary biologists-- rather, gender as it is lived/experienced (as opposed to gender roles, gendered habits) is largely free will. This idea at first seems belittling to the way some of us feel is it totally out of our control (especially those of us who have fought long, hard battles to switch) but it also points to a nuanced idea-- and one that feels close to truth-- that the reasons for gender and sexual identity are so great that ultimately an individual's choice must be the determining factor.
Actually I think this is a very radical notion. If it weren't for bigots and doctors insisting that intersex and trans people could be "cured", we wouldn't have to counter it with "we just can't help it", while in fact, "but I don't WANT your cure" asserts less that we're all suffering from some pitiful problem and more that we are just another aspect of human variation that, natural or political or whatever, deserve rights, respect, and autonomy not because they are suffering but because they are people.
Excellent book, "purple" in places, definitely should have been two different novels. Otherwise, some laugh out loud one liners in the second half about growing up an awkward girl and some very moving, poetic passages that work when they are not being heavy handed.
Oh, also, I highly recommend reading it concurrently with "Sexing the Body" by Anne Fausto-Sterling, a non-fic about intersex biology and politics. Reading these two together enhances the understanding of both....more