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Gender: A Graphic Guide

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4.42  ·  Rating details ·  397 ratings  ·  73 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
...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 7th 2019 by Icon Books
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Average rating 4.42  · 
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Nandakishore Varma
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
...more
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
W M
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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
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Lizzy
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
Ekmef
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 Cunha
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
More required reading!

Also,thank you to these authors for also writing Queer: a Graphic History!
Chinook
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.
Meepelous
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
...more
Anne-Marie
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
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Caroline
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
...more
Kate Buechler
I started this book back in the before times. BQ. Before Quarantimes. Eight million years ago.
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.
Audrey
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.
Enya
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, non-fiction
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.
...more
Lauren
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
...more
Talia Walters
3.5/5

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
...more
Olivia
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This a great, straightforward, easy to read guide to gender for those both new and not new to thinking about gender beyond the binary. My favorite part about reading this was how it, near the end especially, reminded me of how grateful I am for people that exist in a gender diverse way. I'm continually inspired by them and am so appreciative of them sharing their stories and living their truths.

I definitely think "graphic guide" is a better label than "comic" or "sequential art" to describe this
...more
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
...more
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
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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
...more
Ultracrepidarian
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
...more
Lily
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
From the makers of Queer: A Graphic Guide, this builds on the subject of gender even more. It's wonderfully done, the sections follow each other building on the history of ideas and how we've gotten to a more fluid and open understanding of gender, while explaining where and how all these ideas have been deeply rooted in us and our world for many, many years. It's a lot to undo, a lot to think about, and a welcoming guide to do so. It's an accessible way to get into these ideas, I'm always impre ...more
Eleanor
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A rapid quick fire overview of gender. This book is easy and quick to read but packed full of information, all of it referenced and clearly laid out. The combination of text and illustration are great for people who are more visual learner (like myself) and who may be intimidated by walls of text. Each page introduces a topic which I would gladly read more about, making this a perfect stating point before hunting out further reading. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
Bri S
An excellent, informative, and current resource on all things gender. Perfect for visual learners! A great guide that is both accessible and interesting. Throughout the chapters, I love the inclusion of researchers and leaders, as well as other books and media, so readers have a great wealth of other work to explore on the various topics covered. This will be a favorite and often referenced book on my shelf.
Barbara
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I originally started reading this book because my much-loved great niece is identifying as non-binary and I wanted to learn more about it. That section did help me but I need to learn more. However, the whole book was a learning experience. The guiding principal here is that gender is far more fluid than our culture allows. Once you accept that, all accepted sexual and gender categories are limiting. The use of graphics to convey the information was excellent.
El
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In much the same way as Queer: A Graphic Guide, this manages to deliver an incredible amount of information in a very accessible, short-form and engaging format. Would really recommend this to anyone, and think it would make a lovely gift. Also does really well on sourcing and crediting information and quotes from an astonishing array of people, which is always good to see and provides a jumping off point for further reading.
Kim Pallister
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty good, easily digestible, overview of gender, gender norms, feminism, and the history of gender-related movements. Also does (I think) a good job of speaking to how they are intertwined with racial and economic factors.
as a middle-aged, affluent, white dude, this was a great crash course. YMMV.
Fiore
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
An incredibly comprehensive look at how the way we view gender came to be and what great variety it actually involves. Especially impressed by how inclusive this book is with only some parts I found a bit on the repetitive side. Plus, appreciated the references to shows and series and how such portrayals allows for an expanding of understanding.
Evan Lien
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a really good introduction. I felt as though it was talking down to me at times, but i would love to give this to several of my friends and definitely my mother. Its basic enough for cishets to understand, i think.

Little annoyed with the sheer number of doctor who illustrations, though. Its very 2012 millennial tumblr.
Lauren
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Needs to go on the syllabus in all schools. Informative and broken down in a way that’s easy to understand and I feel this will answer do many questions and help so many young people struggling with their gender and sexuality. I love her examples and use of theory broken down in terms that everyone can understand.
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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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