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Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  722 ratings  ·  78 reviews
A transformational approach to overcoming the divisions between feminist communities

While many feminist and queer movements are designed to challenge sexism, they often simultaneously police gender and sexuality -- sometimes just as fiercely as the straight, male-centric mainstream does. Some feminists vocally condemn other feminists because of how they dress, for their
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Seal Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I am NOT giving this book a low rating because it has harsh words for trans men and cis queers, and I'm rolling my eyes forever at "what about the trans men?" comments. I have a million and one critiques of current queer communities, different critiques than Serano has, so I don't really care, but I think it's at least worth noting that Serano's characterization feels off, feels a little dated -- I don't think radical queers are really that hellbent on deconstructing gender out of existence anym ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Serano shows us a terrifying vision of a world absolutely alienated from any form of systemic framework. Nothing happens for a reason, individual acts of oppression just whiz around in a confusing morass and we have to fight each separately and this is supposed to help us.

She does away with the concepts of the patriarchy, the gender binary, and systemic racism and replaces them with "double standards" that act in the exact same way as patriarchy, the gender binary, and systemic racism only divor
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fab-14
This is an excellent mix of impassioned advocacy with scientific analysis. In many ways this works out to be a great little handbook on "how to be a decent person." As such, it may need to be regularly re-read, in order to catch ourselves from straying off the path and to reignite ourselves to follow our "true" way. The essay style makes it quite readable. I enjoyed the way each particular point got its thorough treatment and therefore a more thoughtful response from me.

Her points about ways to
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Julia Serano's definitely one of my top intellectual idols. Whipping Girl was one of the most influential books in shaping my life, convincing me that feminism and other anti-oppression work was valuable, important work, and that unapologetic visibility could go a long way in challenging bias. Largely because of that book, I majored in sociology, involved myself in feminist and other social justice groups, and thought critically about everything I read that covered gender issues, especially tran ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
While Whipping Girl continues to be a hugely important book for me, I was disappointed in many of the essays in Excluded, which come across as outdated and condescending in tone. The last essay, "Balancing Acts," is GREAT, and there are lots of hardhitting, important points delivered throughout the book. Overall, though, I found a lot of Serano's ideas about shifting activist ground to be missing the point -- for instance, the idea of resituating social justice activism around double standards a ...more
Jennifer Stoy
Serano does an excellent job with 201-level feminism and trans work. She is really thinking through how, for example, cis lesbians can be oppressed by homophobia and sexism but still be transphobic and to use her term, "monosexist" toward, say, a bi trans woman. Some of her analysis is brilliant, especially about how biology and culture are just too intertwined in a human personality. I am not 100% with her on solutions just because I think the systemic aspect of traditional sexism goes beyond i ...more
Ashe Dryden
I think with a better editor this could be a great book. I had a really hard time keeping focused and engaged with the text, which I didn’t expect after having read Whipping Girl 🤷🏼‍♀️ It could be, too, that someone less familiar with the material would get more out of it.
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
“Instead of trying to fictionalize gender, let’s talk about all of the moments in life when gender feels all too real. Because gender doesn’t feel like drag when you’re a young trans child begging your parents not to cut your hair or not to force you to wear that dress. And gender doesn’t feel like a performance when, for the first time in your life, you feel safe and empowered enough to express yourself in ways that resonate with you, rather than remaining closeted for the benefit of others. An ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you follow Serano online, you know she does God's work in preparing forensic, and compelling, rebuttals of all means of sexism, transphobia, trans-misogyny in ways most never have the patience for. She's clearly self-reflective and a deep thinker. I'm currently thinking a lot about how we relate/communicate in leftist circles, so particularly enjoyed the bits on call-out culture and safe spaces (which seemed to inform Contrapoints' most recent video on cancelling). She also does a great job c ...more
Morgan Dhu
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have not read much on trans history, theory and activism. I’ve read Feinberg and Bornstein, but in general, this is an area where I feel a real need to learn more, to widen my perspectives and understanding. I approach the topic from an absolute conviction that trans men are men, trans women are women, trans non-binary folk are non-binary folk, and that in everyday circumstances, the question of one’s being trans or cis is relevant for health and medical issues and otherwise is no one’s damn b ...more
I received a review copy of Julia Serano’s newest book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive last fall, and I knew it was going to be particularly important. Serano’s last book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Feminism and the Scapegoating of Femininity has been a hugely impactful book for many trans* people and feminists and was even named the 16th most important feminist book of all time by Ms. Magazine.

Moving into 2014, it’s clear this book – and the discussions it
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kfbc, nonfiction
As someone who came a little late to feminism and QUILTBAG+ activism and general awareness (some college classes, but mostly after-college reading the internet and learning about privilege, etc.), I'm always looking for books like this, meaning from a perspective that is not my own (i.e., not a white lesbian). And since I haven't been in these spaces long, I liked the first part of the book with all of Serano's personal essays and whatnot because it gave me a good context and some slices of hist ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
It's been a long time since I just said, "nope," and put down a book mid-read. But then I'd pick it back up and chug through it because maybe I'd miss something, but no. The title really should read Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive to ME!!! Another reviewer used the term 'self-righteous contempt' to describe Serano's style, and it's just about a perfect summation. And while it certainly can't be argued that bisexual erasure or trans exclusion aren't problems in the qu ...more
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book fascinating, thought-provoking and very readable. It didn't come across to me as overly academic (although I am from an academic background and may not be the best judge), and I thought Serano did a great job of clearly explaining the concepts she was discussing and her reasons for choosing particular words over others.

I found her critique of the "gender artifactualist" perspective interesting, and her more nuanced approach to the role of biology in gender and sexuality was cha
Thomas Hale
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
As the title implies, this book is about the many ways in which feminist and queer activism, as it stands now, often fails to represent and include certain factions of society. Arguing for an intersectional and (as she describes) "holistic" approach, Serano details the many pitfalls and double-binds of prejudice, and details how these can be reinforced - consciously or unconsciously. Beginning with a collection of autobiographical articles from the last ten years, she then moves on to discuss ho ...more
Julie Ehlers
I'm really glad I read this--it turns out I'm not as up on current (or semi-current) thinking on gender, sex, and sexuality as I assumed I was. Some of the ideas expressed here, and the ways they were expressed, made for absolutely exhilarating reading. Unfortunately, those moments were overshadowed by a writing style that was frequently dry and unbelievably repetitive. This book could've easily been 50-100 pages shorter. After a while I started editing it in my head, condensing and combining pa ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
All in all I liked reading this book, it came at the right time for me and my activism.

Throughout all the book she makes sound analysis for every point she is trying to make why exclusion in the movements are often sexist and wrong (granted her view is pretty white and you don't read a lot about race, as others have stated before), but what I missed was her reasoning for including kink and BDSM as "progressive".

There just was NO analysis of the movement at all, or how it came to be part of quee
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Maybe 2,5/5. Or 2,75/5. I don't know, perhaps I'm harsh because I was a bit disappointed after "Whipping Girl". The queer community Serano talked about didn't feel like the community I'm in. Yes, I'm in a bubble, but I'm happy here and I don't think I have to risk my personal safety and mental health to force some kind of holistic feminist movement. I'm still scared, I'm still angry, and I will continue to call out those that marginalize me.

On the other hand, yes, good points. Perhaps the contex
Josie Boyce
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lags a bit in the first half as JS sets up her thesis, with a lot of historical context and personal stories of being trans feminist, femme, bi, and the exclusion that often happens to trans folk in queer and/or feminist circles. The second half is a serious manifesto for inclusion in any minority movements. Work together, all gender identities and sexualities. Say no to being diminished. It is a really idealistic but wonderful goal she espouses, for all of us under the so called umbrellas work ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. Julia Serano really didn't hold anything back in Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movement More Inclusive. Her critique of radical feminist spaces and the potential pitfalls of and flaws in things like top-down activism, oppression olympics, callout culture, and so forth, were welcome, but even more welcoming was that she also provided much-needed solutions or counter-narratives of activism to these critiques. The second half of the book was t ...more
Majarc Anderson
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Made with a selection of the author's essays on closely related subjects, so there's a bit of informational overlapping that can be a little bothersome to read when read as a book.

The content is very interesting and personal, which took me a while to get used to see I'm used to dry scientific explanations for highly political topics like this. I thought she did a great job matching emotional topics to abstract theories, and was definitely thought provoking and I'm glad I read this book. Very cu
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Serrano has a great analysis in this book of calling for a holistic feminism and queer movement that celebrates heterogeneity and restructures how we think about gender, sex, and sexuality. Excluded is productively in conversation with feminist thinking about gender and sex, challenging many ideas and positing new ones. The first half of the book is a gathering of her writings; the second half is the more sustained analysis. I highly recommend this book for people who think, write, and talk abou ...more
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Here Julia Serano presents what she terms a "holistic" theory of feminism. She has thought up a way to see the various "isms" of our culture as a series of double standards, some with the weight of more power and history behind them. She also critiques feminist and queer movements, some of which have a tendency to become exclusionary and elitist, with "true activist/evil oppressor" dichotomies, when in reality no one is perfect and everyone is subject to various double standards. I'm not explain ...more
Damien Thorn
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-read for activists and non activists (like myself) esp. on topics such as bisexuality, the oh-so-politically-incorrect gender binary, calling out, radicalism and the queer-er/trans-er than thou movement. This book contains all the arguments I need when someone asks "But why don't you get involved in the (insert name) community?"
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I always recommend Serano's Whipping Girl as a trans-feminist 101 reader and I think Excluded serves as a 201 for people interested in digging deeper. A must-read for activists trying to do intersectionality in a meaningful way. Chapters work really well as stand-alone essays for syllabi and homework assignments when you're trying to focus on one of the issues covered in the book.
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Made me think - and rethink - a lot...
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Facinating and highly accessible essays on gender and sexuality which call for a holistic approach in order to build more inclusive movements to challenge sexism and marginalization.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
"I am feel uncomfortable when we are not about me?"
Jul 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2015-16
Excluded approaches the ways that feminism (I read it as first and second wave, but honestly, there are ways this is applicable to third wave as well) has fostered exclusion towards transgender women. Julie Serano is writing from a white, transgender, bisexual, middle class perspective, and notes that many times that these stories are her speaking from her own experiences. The book opens with a few stories about times she was excluded (Serano is a spoken word artist, which shows in much of her p ...more
I started grumpy with this book and graduated to having it completely explode my worldview and arm me with tools for working towards the liberation of all types of people, especially the currently and future marginalized. Although Ms. Serano drops a lot of F-bombs and seems conventionally crusty in the early essays, where she spends many words pointing out how radical feminists screw over trans-people, she goes deeper mid-book and blooms in the essays that focus on what it means to be marked/unm ...more
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Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, performer, biologist, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, which readers of Ms. Magazine ranked #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her other nonfiction books include 2013’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements Mo ...more

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81 likes · 14 comments
“When you're a trans woman, you are made to walk this very fine line, where if you act feminine you are accused of being a parody, but if you act masculine, it is seen as a sign of your true male identity. And if you act sweet and demure, you're accused of reinforcing patriarchal ideals of female passivity, but if you stand up for your own rights and make your voice heard, then you are dismissed as wielding male privilege and entitlement.” 6 likes
“Sexism occurs when we assume that some people are less valid or natural than others because of their sex, gender, or sexuality; it occurs when we project our own expectations and assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality onto other people, and police their behaviors accordingly; it occurs when we reduce another person to their sex, gender, or sexuality rather than seeing them as a whole, legitimate person. That is sexism. And a person is a legitimate feminist when they have made a commitment to challenging sexist double standards wherever and whenever they arise. An individual's personal style, mannerisms, identity, consensual sexual partners, and live choices simply shouldn't factor into it.” 5 likes
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