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Gender: A Graphic Guide

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Join the creators of Queer: A Graphic History (‘Could totally change the way you think about sex and gender’ VICE) on an illustrated journey of gender exploration.

We’ll look at how gender has been ‘done’ differently – from patriarchal societies to trans communities – and how it has been viewed differently – from biological arguments for sex difference to cultural argument
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 7th 2019 by Icon Books
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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 ·  529 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Nandakishore Mridula
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think of myself as a male. I have got a penis and two testicles to prove it; also, no breasts, and plenty of facial hair... a hairy body... a deep voice....

Er, wait.

Apart from the penis/ testicles part (and the absence of breasts), are any of the other things biologically essential to "maleness"?

There was a time that I was convinced of it. I used to feel sorry for men who didn't have to shave daily, or who had squeaky voices like Mickey Mouse. I was also secretly ashamed of my flabby, soft, "f
Dave Schaafsma
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A kind of illustrated introductory gender and sexuality course, that would also be very useful to the general public, those of us who see new and continuously exploding conceptions and may be sort of stunned into silence. So what's the basic point? That gender is fluid, not binary, biopsychosocial, personal, political, intersectional--so not the only thing to focus on. The authors leave you with the point that since our understandings are shifting and complicated, that kindness with each other m ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish this was on the National Curriculum - what an amazing straightforward accessible overview of gender. It manages to include quotes from gender theorists yet be on a level that anyone can understand without finding patronising. Meg-John Barker is calm, reasoned and understanding. I especially enjoyed the discussion of different masculinities, the trans/cis binary and how that can be harmful and how heading towards a worldview where gender is far less rigid and structured could benefit every ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: would-re-read
don't write this book off because of its graphic/informal style- this is an incredibly informative, beautifully illustrated introductory course into gender and sexuality that pulls quotes from key activists, and it packs a serious punch! I learned so much and the language is plain enough that my younger brother was also able to enjoy the book.

Two of my favorite quotes "we're all always performing our genders. gender can feel real or natural because we've repeated them so often and had that perf
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book provides a great overview of gender theory. It is really helpful to understand the current discourse. Ok, this sounds really boring, but it isn't! It is nice to feel validated by a book :). As an nb trans person I often feel like I sort of exist outside of the lines, which can feel quite lonely and also make me doubt myself. Turns out there's a whole scientific discourse that provides space for all gender expressions (and they've been on this for decades). Of course you know that on an ...more
Nicole C
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
More required reading!

Also,thank you to these authors for also writing Queer: a Graphic History!
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, graphic-novels
This is a great introduction to gender, personal and political.

I liked very much the way the authors ended with how intersectionality is key and kindness the way forward.

There’s more text than I’m accustomed to in a graphic novel, but I think that worked well.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Obviously gender is a focus for this book, and I agree with it so it's all good. I guess it would have been nice to have more new information, but as I pointed out just now these are pretty introductory works and as someone who has had to do much re-thinking about gender I'm a bit past the 101. Sexuality was touched on a bit, although Queer a Graphic History is by the same creative team and tackles more of those delightful things.

As a pro-intersectionality work race and class were integrated ver
An excellent introduction to gender theory and the role gender plays in our society.
I really appreciated the recognition and exploration that gender cannot be separated from other systemic issues such as capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, racism, classicism, ableism, heteronormativity and homophobia (and transphobia), etc.
The artwork was phenomenal and really added another layer to the text. We had representations of everyday people exploring these issues alongside the reader, but also d
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

I previously read and enjoyed Barker's and Scheele's book Queer: A Graphic History, and this is along the same lines but with a focus on gender theory. Very accessible and informative. I somehow didn't notice while reading Queer that the author is British, but as I have become more steeped in English culture and speech (mostly due to my Premier League obsession), it was very obvious in this one! Not a bad thing by any means, but obviously there are differences between American and British
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Text and graphic together are a great combination to explain complex issues, which is why this book is definitely a very good starting point if you are interested in gender issues. Although I would have loved a little bit more explanation above and below the graphics in some moments, the book is nevertheless great, since even the short text snippets in the pictures are so clear and well done. 5 out of 5 stars.
Kate Buechler
I started this book back in the before times. BQ. Before Quarantimes. Eight million years ago.
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
An excellent primer, covers lots of ground and refers to a bunch of other books as well.
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
brilliant. i've never in my life felt as though i had a gender and have only been able to put that into words recently. ...more
Dan Laubach
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Informative. Engaging. Easy to read. Highly recommend.
Ron Turner
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very nicely done. Basically a gender studies course condensed into a graphic novel format. Really makes you think.
Jul 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: growth
Super accessible and brain stretching.
Loved it.
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
I'd like to preface this review by mentioning that I myself am transgender. I am an expert in the subject of gender identity, and I don't doubt that the authors of this book are as well. This book has good information, but it doesn't seem like it should be a graphic novel. The language used within it is fairly complicated, and the art seems like illustrations between paragraphs of text, and a lot of the time it doesn't help to explain the concepts at all. It doesn't work as a guide to explain th ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction, alright
This was really good! It presented a ton of information in bite-sized nuggets and did a great job of not seeming condescending or angry. Instead, it was non-biased and incredibly informative, regardless of what your stances are on the emergence of new understandings of gender.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, lgbtqia
If we have taught the gender binary to others ourselves, we may not want to confront the damage it has caused. If the binary has been bad for us, we may not want to know that things could have been otherwise if we hadn't struggled so hard to conform to it.

That quote just perfectly sums up the rationale behind the current backlash against all things feminism, gender and sexuality.

All in all a wonderful and comprehensive guide into the topic.
Dickon Edwards
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very up to date trip through the terms, stances, theories and discussions around gender. I liked the pop culture references, such as Red Dwarf, Star Trek and Doctor Who. It’s all generally groovy and positive. Needs to be a set text in every school.
This book should be required reading. I wish I could force people to read it. I wish I could hold their eyeballs open, and I would move this book back and forth in front of their face, page by page, in a "Clockwork Orange"-esque fashion to ensure that they read at least some of it. Even if you are dead-set pro-patriarchy/anti-equality/misogynist/homophobic/bigot, I think some of this would still sink in and make you think, make you question, make you consider...

I wish there was a kid-version of
Talia Walters

This book is a really great introduction to gender concepts, and I think it has a lot of valuable information for those interested in a foundational understanding of our conception of gender.

However, this book exists at a weird intersection (ironically) of being as basic as they could be on these topics while also treating a lot of these ideas as just plain fact. There's a part of me that believes someone picking up this book, looking to be educated, might question a lot of the theories tha
I'm not sure why this book didn't grab me. I agree with almost everything in it, and it has a nice tone, serious but often humorous. Since most reviewers seem to love it, I will say what I didn't love.

There was no information that was new to me. And that's fine. I'm sure a lot of it was new to many readers. And in any case, it was all very affirming.

It was academic, which again is fine, but not to my taste. To me (college dropout partly for this reason), the academic culture has a bunch of unnec
Robert Hudder
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Barker had previously co-written Queer and had captured the view from 10k and done an admirable job. It stopped a lot of the dead end, down in the weeds description and had more of a flow in terms of the big ideas. They and their writing partner do the same for Gender.

Yes, there are parts that lean heavily on feminism but the precursors are shown and the outcome where it becomes something different is also there. Some of my favourites are here. bell hooks, Julia Serano, and others show up. Just
Calvin Read
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lot of my opinion of this book is holding it in contrast to Queer: A Graphic History. I struggled with the "Queer" because it focused primarily on academic history, is written densely, and I grappled with a lot of "I'm too dumb to get this, I'm supposed to memorize all these people and events in order to be a 'good' queer, also I feel bad for not having know all this already." Yeesh.

Luckily I'm a lot easier on myself now, and this book was easier to read, either because of the lack of personal
Alannah Balfour
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! Condenses an entire course in gender studies in really easy to understand language. It covers history, intersectionality, enby/trans rights, and decolonizing genders. So many great sociology studies in there as well. I'd definitely give it to my future kid to indoctrinate them into radical feminism before age 10, I wish it had been around when I was younger!

"People often assume that the way gender is understood and expressed in the time and place they currently occupy is the only r
May 15, 2021 rated it liked it
My sibling recently came out as nb and recommended this as a general overview on the subject. I can't say that I learnt much, but it's nice to know we're all on the same page.

As for the book, I found it overly filled with pop-culture references, many of which I was only passingly familiar with (e.g. I've never seen Black Panther, but I am at least aware it is set in a made up country called Wakanda) and some I just straight up didn't understand. I don't think this book will age well, and I also
Very informative, with a calm, guiding, rational tone that's the complete opposite of gender discourse online. Very helpful as a primer for thinking about the structures of gender that permeate through the social, psychological, and biological fields we all are forced to be into.

Goes through a great bit of history and academic scholarship in extremely brief, succinct pages. You could finish this in a day if you wanted to, though I'd personally recommend you to delve into it one chapter at a time
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I won't get mad if you annotate this book, what's more, I plan to annotate my copy myself and that is saying lot coming from me. Generally speaking, unless you are gender scholar or deep into gender studies, this book has a lot to offer you. Dr. Barker introduces the myriad of concepts and theories that refer to gender in a fun and entertaining way that doesn't dumb down the knowledge. A book that you should pick up because it talks about you and (Who are we kidding?) you need to get to know you ...more
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Dr. Meg-John Barker is a writer, therapist, and activist-academic specialising in sex, gender and relationships. Their popular books include the (anti-)self-help relationship book Rewriting the Rules, The Secrets of Enduring Love (with Jacqui Gabb), Queer: A Graphic History (with Julia Scheele), and Enjoy Sex, How, When and If You Want To (with Justin Hancock). Meg-John is a senior lecturer in psy ...more

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