Chris's Reviews > Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano
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's review
Jan 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: class-union, lgbtq-social-ethics, queer
Read from February 10 to 13, 2011

This book is a model for academics seeking a popular voice. Serano is mostly working in expository form here, rather than personal narration, but the personality of her writing is bracing and funny, while never backing off the precision of her claims. Part of me wishes I'd read this book before starting on trans activism work two or three years ago (how'd it take me this long? no idea), yet I also know that I found it resonant and useful in part because of how Serano's narration overlapped with that of others I'd known.

The unique significance of misogyny as such-- not simply transphobia or even homophobia-- is crucial in Serano's argument, and especially compelling. When we discussed this book in class, we began by trying to list elements of cissexual privilege. I offered up lack of fear of gendered violence; and, thank goodness, a colleague immediately added, "That's cissexual male privilege." And of course she's right, and of course I forgot. Violence against transfolk is shockingly common, but so is violence against women; and transwomen are arguably most at risk of all.

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Reading Progress

02/10/2011 page 60

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