Alana'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
Jun 25, 2009

really liked it
Read in November, 2007 — I own a copy

I picked this up after reading an interview with the author in Bitch magazine and being intrigued by her counters to the accusation that "feminine expression is often used solely to appease and attract men" (Bitch magazine, um... issue #36, p. 60?) As a girly-girl feminist who loves a pretty dress, I was excited by Serano's statement that "Whenever I hear a feminist argue that women are subordinating themselves to men when they dress up, to me it sounds like a slightly toned-down version of 'women who dress provocatively are asking for it.'" and "Femininity is seen as artificial and contrived... while masculinity just comes across as natural."

The book so far (I'm maybe halfway through) has had a lot more to say about transgendered women in society (both 'at large' and 'feminist') then it does about women who express their femininity in a somewhat 'traditional' manner. While it's not what I expected so far, I really like the author's analysis of physical and subconscious sex, sexual preference, and gender expression and how and why these factors vary in any given person.

(Granted, maybe if we feminists could stop arguing about who is and isn't really feminist and how to define ourselves and our movement, maybe we could actually get out there and... I don't know, save the right to choose or something. But still, as far as mild navel gazing goes, this is pretty good.)
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