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Reddit mentions of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Sentiment score: 22
Reddit mentions: 53

We found 53 Reddit mentions of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Here are the top ones.

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Found 53 comments on Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity:

u/[deleted] · 100 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

This is going around reddit today.

Julia Serano points out in her book Whipping Girl, that almost all the issues of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, sissyphobia, stem from the same thing, Oppositional Sexism.

It is the incorrect idea that, man is polar opposite to woman, and that man > woman. The next thing to derive from that thinking then is masculinity > femininity. Then masculinity = strong and helpful, femininity = weak and frivolous. Etc, etc.

But in regards to the homophobia comment, it is true I think, a lot of straight cismale homophobia results from some low level knowledge that they have ingrained in their social conditioning an oppositional sexist view of the world.

edit: added links

u/SecondWind · 58 pointsr/IAmA

I'm glad it helps. :)

Actually, this is mildly cathartic, having an outlet for all those "should've, could've" thoughts...

Involve others with more experience.

  • If you need to choose a school, ask on /r/lgbt.
  • When it's time to find a therapist, ask on /r/asktransgender.
  • When you need to tell your parents, or even just need to decide whether to tell your parents, find a local peer group (GSA) with whom to practice the discussion.

    Learn about your community.

  • Read "The nearest exit may be behind you", "Gender Outlaws: TNG", "Whipping Girl", "Transgender History". These will not be your problems, or necessarily your life, but you will find your people in them and a connection to an otherwise foreign community. (It sucks to be trans, nobody understands.)
  • Find opportunities to participate in queer culture. Being T is not the same as being LGB. It's tempting to pull away, since yours is an issue of identity and not one of sexuality (and they really are extraordinarily different). Resist the temptation, be a part of something, force your way in and tolerate the inconsistencies, it will be worth it.

    Heal thyself.

  • Your attitude and self-awareness is awesome, but your background and environment is not. I had a virtually identical home life (one fewer younger siblings, but the rest aligns right down to the lawyer parent!), and even after I "got over" it, it took years to really put the internalized prejudices of my youth away. Don't rationalize it away, don't be hard on yourself when you can't just get over it.
  • Go to therapy. Find someone you really click with, and who you feel understands you, and invest the time and trust in that relationship to make the most of it. Don't tell them what they want to hear, tell them what you feel, and remember that they fully expect you to be totally wrong about your own feelings the first few times. Figure it out together. You should be able to get this nearly for free at the right college, make the most of it.
  • If it feels awkward, you're doing it right. Cut yourself some slack, everyone has a hell of a time growing up and finding themselves, and thanks to your situation you'll be doing at 19 what most work out at 12. It's ok. Laugh at yourself, reflect and learn, and move on.
  • Find a fringe benefit. If you dwell on gender dysphoria, it can seem pretty shitty. If you mire yourself in transition, it can seem like a thankless, endless slog. Find something to be excited about, find a part of yourself to enjoy, and don't feel guilty about it. :)

    Finally, and most importantly, you do belong.
    You don't have to be presenting in your preferred gender to go to a support group. You don't have to start HRT to comment on a board. There's a pervasive sense among trans folk that there are real trans people out there and we're not they. But the moment you recognize this part of yourself you're a part of our world whether you like it or not, and all of us feel just as different. Smile, introduce yourself, and share aspects of yourself among friends who have those same parts and who are just bursting for the opportunity to talk about it with anyone who understands.

    Sigh, I could ramble on, but I need to get back to work... I guess I can sum it up in promising, cross my heart, the world is a beautiful and wonderful place, and you're going to love it out here. :)
u/2718281828 · 27 pointsr/SRSDiscussion

Julia Serano addresses this question in Whipping Girl. You should read it.

I'm not an expert about this subject, but if I remember correctly she uses the phrase "subconscious sex" to refer to how people feel. Then they can choose to express that in different ways. So a trans woman who wears a dress isn't a woman just because she wears a dress. She's a woman (innately) who expresses her gender (to society and/or herself) through wearing a dress.

And keep in mind that trans people are as diverse as cis people. Not all trans women wear dresses or have long hair. And there are cis men who wear dresses and have long hair. I don't know where our subconscious sex comes from, but it seems to be more than just a desire follow one gender role or the other.

Again, I'm not an expert. I hope someone will correct me if I've messed something up.

u/callouskitty · 16 pointsr/ainbow

Whipping Girl makes a convincing argument that even as homosexuals and women have gained greater equality in our society, femininity has become taboo - especially in the LGBT community.

u/Heterogenic · 15 pointsr/asktransgender

Any answer I could give would be trumped by reading Whipping Girl. It's basically the canonical answer to all the questions you've posed here today. It is a treatise on the intersections of feminism and transsexuality, and also quite a good read.

u/iyzie · 15 pointsr/asktransgender

Does that mean that cis women who want to be sexy are fetishists?

Most likely they worry about trans women being fetishists because their own deeply internalized misogyny causes them to see female bodies primarily as sexual objects.

Whipping Girl is a must read.

u/omgwtf_throwaway · 15 pointsr/asktransgender

I posted this a few days ago. Hope it might be helpful for someone else. :)

> I'm a planner and a plotter by nature...so when I wanted to come out to people, I wanted to have this big speech laid out and a massive carpet bomb of information ready for everyone once I told them. I even wanted to tell people at the right time...not around anyone's birthday or holidays or anything, but when the moment was just right. It was just hindering me coming out. So, first tip: RELAX. Some planning is nice, but don't overdo things. You can take notes in, but don't write a letter or an essay. :)

> The good points I'd take from my experience thus far:

> let your family members know you wanna talk to them before you do. It's a thing they need to make 15-20 minutes of time for and not something you may wanna just casually throw in after dinner while watching TV.

divide and conquer. Separate out the family members you think will be most comfortable (for me, it was my mother and sister over the phone) and speak with them first in private about it. It's a lot harder to come out to several people than just one.

> when you talk, talk to them about how you've felt first. Tell them it may be an awkward conversation, tell them that you're nervous talking to them, tell them how you've felt uncomfortable or dysphoric or how this has manifested in you. Put the 'I'm trans' near the middle/end.

they may ask questions about it. You may not know all the answers just yet. That's fine. Stand firm, it's okay to not know everything or where things will end up.

> give them some time to wrap their head around things and don't push them.

If everything goes well...bootstrap. ask the people you've told to help you with the people you haven't. I told my father and brothers, who helped me talk with my aunt, who helped me talk with my grandparents.

Addendum - good resources on trans stuff that I found:

The Praeger handbook of transsexuality. I was so lucky to have a copy in my local library, has some of the few studies/surveys i've seen, covers a lot of ground, trans guys and trans gals. Kinda technical though and a few years old, but I loved it. Learned so much!

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. I think it really helps you understand society's fascination with trans ladies, but more mtf and activism focused of course.

PFLAG booklet I think it covers the basics okay for friends and family.

WPATH v7 standards of care Lots of fancy documentation about treatment of trans* individuals, expectations of HRT, etc.

I also read She's not there by jennifer finney boylan. i thought it was okay and I think it provides a more personal narrative to the whole thing, especially for me and my family because she's a fellow Mainer. Also mtf focused. Sorry trans guys, hopefully someone else can get you some cool resources. :(

edit: added some links. Also remember that while books are expensive, library cards are usually free and interlibrary loan is the coolest thing ever. :)

u/viviphilia · 15 pointsr/lgbt

I don't know why people on this thread are telling you to wait. I mean if you're OK waiting, well then whatever, go ahead and wait. But it doesn't sound like you're OK with that. If it were me, I'd think about fighting, using reason and information as my weapons. But if you want to use those tools, you need to learn first, and that can take time. You need to educate yourself on what it means to be transgender. That means a lot of reading and information seeking. You need to listen to the stories of other people who have been in your position - and there have been people in your position. You need to learn about techniques they used to get out and find techniques that will work for you.

When I hear trans kids say things like they wish they were dead, it really worries me. I wish that I could do more to help you fight for your life, but all I can really do is point to the path. I hope you take it.

u/Jess_than_three · 15 pointsr/ainbow

> Part of me wonders if this has to do with how gender roles are traditionally viewed in culture (at least, here in America). Now I'm all for gender equality and deconstructing the stereotypes we have, but I'm wondering if, on a subconscious level, I do believe the gender "standards" we have, which conflicts with how I want to view trans people.

It's very possible! Our society definitely views femaleness and femininity as inferior to maleness and masculinity. It's entirely possible that part of your issue has to do with internalizing those messages. (If so, it's not like that's not understandable. They're pretty pervasive.)

> The metaphor I like to use in these kind of situations is being afraid of the dark. Logically, you know there's nothing there to hurt you, but you feel like there is. I know trans people are perfectly normal and harmless as anyone else, but I feel uncomfortable with it.

Absolutely. And I think that's common with a lot of phobias and similar reactions. I
know the plane isn't going to crash, I know that traveling by plane is ridiculously safe, but it freaks me the fuck out. Another person might know that my snake isn't going to bite them, and know that it can't even get out of its tank, but still be unwilling to go in the same room with it. Totally normal, in that respect.. and that's why I really think that the habituation idea is a smart thing to try, because that's how clinical psychologists (at least, cognitive/behavioral ones) treat phobias.

Hey, I do have another suggestion for you, although to an extent it's still in the habituation-and-understanding vein: Julia Serano's excellent book Whipping Girl (also available in Kindle format, if you have a Kindle or a smartphone and would rather not explain to anyone why you're reading it). It does a lot of good things: first, it explains in really simple layman's terms a lot of trans
stuff*; secondly, it presents a very personal picture of some of the author's experiences; and thirdly, it discusses the role of gender in America, and how our society craps on femininity, and how that leads to increased discrimination against (as she puts it) MTF-spectrum transgender people of all types.

u/meermeermeer · 14 pointsr/AskReddit

Hey there. I'm not trans, but my girlfriend is, so while I cant personally relate to your situation, I hope I can offer some good advice/perspective.

My girlfriend transitioned about 3 years ago, and while her family had a really hard time at first, and are still not 100% cool with it, they are using the right names and pronouns around her and still enjoy spending time with her, whatever that's worth. They are slowly coming around, and for a couple of republicans, that's a huge deal. To her, transitioning was the single best decision of her life.

My advice is, you're an adult, and you should do what makes you happy, and its really hard to be happy if you're not happy with who you are. I know it must be really hard to do something your family might not like, but your well being and self esteem is more important than their judgment. My parents hoped my lesbianism was a phase at first, but they've come around. I wouldn't trade the love I share with my girlfriend for the complete love and acceptance of my parents any day.

If you are not financially dependent on your parents, you hold the bargaining chips, you can decide how much a part of your life you want them to have. You can pass without hormones, which shouldn't be a deciding factor if you're trans, on whether you should transition or not, but it really does help. I hope whatever you decide to do, it makes you happy.

Here's my advice: Read as much as you can, research, find some voices you can relate to and some advice that seems right for you. I highly reccommend "Whipping Girl" by Julia Serrano. There are plenty of great folks down at r/transgender and r/lgbt who have been in your shoes and are more than willing to spend some time chatting with you. Good luck.

u/lithium_violet_no9 · 13 pointsr/meettransgirls


I can call myself that... I dunno if you should...

Read Whipping Girl and give us an essay with your thoughts first.

u/aliandrah · 13 pointsr/asktransgender

How to describe what it feels like to be trans? I have two different ways of describing it to people that generally work okay, depending on their perspective. Of course, these describe my experience and are not meant to represent any sort of "trans narrative" that you have to experience to be trans.

  • Just about every day since I started puberty, there's always been this voice in the back of my head. Sometimes it was quiet, barely a whisper, sometimes it was screaming so loudly that I could hardly think. Regardless of how loud it was though, it was always there with me, always speaking, and always saying the same exact thing; "^Something ^is ^wrong. Something is wrong. Something is WRONG." It never told me what was wrong. It never pointed me in a specific direction. The only way I could figure it out was by the things that caused the voice to go from whispering to screaming. It took years of self-reflection, but eventually I found out what was wrong. That's when I started HRT and a few weeks later the voice finally shut the fuck up and I finally had peace and quiet for the first time over 15 years

  • Imagine that there's this scale from -10 to +10. -10 is "I want to kill myself" levels of depression. 0 is "Eh, whatever, I woke up today". +10 is "Holy crap! Today is my wedding!" levels of happiness. Until I hit puberty, I had the full scale. I could be mildly happy, exceptionally sad, grumpy, whatever. At some point though, I lost part of that scale; +1 through +9 became completely closed off to me. Every day started with, "Eh, whatever, I woke up today," at best. Without cause, I simply could not be happy. There was no such thing for me as being in a good mood for no reason. There was a whole range of emotion that I was physically incapable of experiencing and it affected every aspect of my life, both personal and interpersonal. After I started HRT though, that entire range of emotion finally opened up for me. I could wake up in a good mood for no reason. I could smile for no reason. I finally understood how normal people go about their lives and why I always came across as such a stick in the mud. And now that I've tasted of this life, there's no way I could ever go back to the way things were.

    As for book recommendations, I haven't read it, but I've heard phenomenal things about Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano. Also, while it's not a book, this article was very eye-opening for me. It practically read as a biography of my life with my name redacted...
u/Tangurena · 13 pointsr/asktransgender

One book that may be helpful for answering your questions is Self Made Man. The author spent about 18 months living as a man, in some all-male spaces (the monastery seems cool, but I'm positive that if I went to one of those Iron John camps, I'd be murdered). In the end, she had a nervous breakdown. Along the way she learned totally positively that she is neither a transvestite nor transgender. If Norah (the author) ever comes to Denver, I'd like to buy her a drink.

Two previous links on this subject that I've saved are:

I'm certain that there are others. But I think these anecdotes from people who have been both genders, and the jarring differences that they experience might be something you ought to read. Things like:

> I wouldn't call it the better gender, though things are much easier in a lot of respects. I was recently promoted to electronics at Target. My boss basically said, "you're a guy so you must know a lot about electronics". My female coworker, who obviously knows more about electronics, had to fight tooth and nail to get the same position. She and our boss still but heads occasionally because he treats her as if she is incompetent. I think that's it really. When you're a guy, for the most part you are assumed competent until proven otherwise. With women, the opposite happens. You have to prove yourself competent before you're offered anything.

Another good book that I think you might be interested in is Whipping Girl.

u/Keep_Flying · 12 pointsr/asktransgender

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano is commonly mentioned around here, and it's a good starting point. It's written by a trans woman and is basically a look at gender in society, sexism, and feminism among other things. It's main theme and her views on femininity are interesting. People had been suggesting it to me for a long time, but I kept putting it off until I found myself working in an environment with a lot of feminist identified people and knew very little on the subject. I'm not quite done yet but I've enjoyed it.

u/patienceinbee · 9 pointsr/actuallesbians

Well, owing that you're a cis person, I am going to challenge you.

If I may direct you to references of authority, you will realize not only that this tack is inappropriate, but also inaccurate and quite offensive.

Julia Serano (around pages 28–32 of Whipping Girl: A transsexual woman on sexism and the scapegoating of femininity has written and published on this subject. What I have already explained a few replies up on this thread echoes that thesis. Another regular redditor, catamorphism, has touched on this subject several times over the last several months.

Also worth review:

  • "Put the goddamn space in 'Transwoman', 'transfeminism', 'transmasculine', etc (language politics #1)"

  • "What not to call trans people"

  • "Transperson vs. trans person" [re: Press for Change (UK) 2011 amendment in style use]

  • "Why I use cis and trans as adjectives rather than prefixes"

    • >Also, since when is it "American-style" to create neologisms? Never mind; don't answer that. You've started responding to me with sarcasm and mild, personal insults. It's clear that this conversation isn't going to go anywhere positive.

      American-style refers to the American propensity to render compound words out of concepts which otherwise (and elsewhere) are not compounded elsewhere.

      As for the tone of my responses I am directing your way, I am being quite direct and quite serious with you. There is no sarcasm or insult coming from me. If you'd like, I could change that.

      But I would much rather read a straightforward response from you which gets to the crux of what
      I believe you're thinking and what you know you're thinking with respect to trans women whose bodies are morphologically transitioned: are they off-limits for/repulsive to you the same way a morphologically un(der)-transitioned body of a trans man is OK* with you — that is, "If they're A.F.A.B. then it's a'OK with me"?

      You need not answer for my sake. If you want to be forthwith, do it for others. I know already where you stand.
u/so_jelly · 7 pointsr/asktransgender





She's a Boy I Knew (autobiographical documentary)


She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan (memoir)

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano

Fiction (young adult):

Luna by Julie Ann Peters

u/Fayedrus · 7 pointsr/asktransgender

Not a story per se, but try reading Whipping Girl by Julia Serrano:


u/BearsandCowboys · 7 pointsr/lgbt

There is a really good book, Whipping Girl by Julia Serano, that would answer your questions. You could probably just read the first couple of chapters.

It's a bit of an oversimplification to say that gender is a social construct. We tend to use gender to mean anything that is not physical, anatomical sex, but to get to the root of what it means to be or feel like a man or a woman, we need more specificity than that.

Gender roles are societal expectations for how people of a certain gender should look, act, and live. These are relative to the culture and can be man/woman, or three genders, or six, depending on the society.

Gender expression is the personal choices people make to signal to themselves and to other people what gender they are. The specifics of gender expression also vary depending on the culture. So, one culture might see pink as a "girl" color, one might see it as a "boy" color, or the same culture might even change its mind. It's all relative.

Gender identity is a person's sense of which gender category in their society is right for them based on their own relationship to their body, and to other people. The ways in which people talk about gender identity vary from culture to culture (for example, Native Americans refer to gender fluidity or being dual gender as being Two Spirited).

Nevertheless, every culture has had to answer the question "what does it mean that there are males and females?" The specifics of that question and its answers may vary, but the question itself is based in humanity confronting its own biology.

The vast majority of people never really feel a disconnect between the sex their society designates them to be and the gender they see themselves to be, as you probably know. Some people don't have a problem with their biological sex, but they do have a problem with the gender roles that are expected of them. Other people have no issue with either, but they like to have an atypical gender expression because it feels authentic to their sense of self. So, there's a vast number of ways people can relate to gender without it coming into direct conflict with their sex assigned at birth.

Regarding people who are transgender, genderfluid, etc, this often refers to a specific relationship between physical sex and gender identity that goes beyond roles and expectations that society has of different genders. Usually there is a feeling of disconnect or dissonance with the gender identity assigned to you based on your sex. It just "feels wrong," so people who are transgender do a lot of exploration to figure out what feels right, and that has lead to a proliferation of terms for different gender identities because our own society hasn't been very accepting of gender diverse people and our language hasn't caught up yet. So people are trying out a lot of terminology trying to figure out what this all means.

I can't speak for agender or genderfluid people since I am not one.

I can only speak for myself as a transgender man who is also somewhat gender non-conforming. My sense of "being a man" or "being male" is the best language I have to describe the feeling that my body is supposed to be physically male and I am like other people who are male. It's like my brain expects a male body to be there and sometimes perceives it anyway despite what my biology is like. But my sense of what it means to be a man is definitely shaped by the culture I grew up in. I look at other men and women and locate myself within the spectrum of gender laid out for me in my social world. I compare myself to others and through self-exploration realize that it feels more authentic for me to align myself with other men than with women or non-binary people. This doesn't mean that I imitate them, just that it feels more natural for me to move through the world with others perceiving me as a man. So, the socially constructed parts of gender are ways I can live my gender with other people as opposed to just feeling it as this private thing.

[Edit: going back to the whole identity vs. expression vs. roles thing: One of the first things I did when I transitioned was go out and buy a pink men's shirt. I could never wear the color pink before because people saw me as a girl wearing pink. I did not want to be a girl wearing pink. I am a guy who likes the color pink. I found it uncomfortable to express myself through signals of femininity because people saw my role as female/woman and my identity was male. But once I had a male social role, I found it much easier to express my gender with things traditionally associated with femininity. I wanted the feminine expression to be seen in relation to my maleness, not to my perceived femaleness. I know that's convoluted! In practice it just means I stress out a lot less over the color of my clothing than before.]

For you, I would suggest you probably feel more male than you realize, it's just not at the forefront of your consciousness because it is not in conflict with anything. An analogy...When you are lonely, you become acutely aware of your individuality, your longing, your desires, and the various obstacles to ridding yourself of loneliness. When you are with loved ones, that individuality does not disappear, but you no longer feel lonely. Feeling yourself to fall outside of society's gender constructs of man vs. woman is like a type of gender loneliness. If you've always been in the company of people who validate your gender and are in agreement with you about your sex, you're probably not going to dwell on it much.

u/bearily · 6 pointsr/ainbow

Notice how people react more violently to men (or people perceived as men) in women's clothing than the other way around? It's rooted in misogyny.

Check out Whipping Girl by Julia Serrano. Good stuff.


u/TheAllBeing · 5 pointsr/asktransgender

As mentioned countless times in this subreddit before (and for good reason), the go-to book for better understanding is definitely Julia Serano's Whipping Girl. There is a section in it that I've found really helps my cis friends and family better understand the pain caused by trying to live in the wrong body. It's where she talks about cognitive dissonance and in one paragraph writes:

"Sometimes people discount the fact that trans people feel any actual pain related to their gender. Of course, it is easy for them to dismiss gender dissonance: It's invisible and (perhaps more relevantly) they themselves are unable to relate to it. These same people, however, do understand that being stuck in a bad relationship or in an unfulfilling job can make a person miserable and lead to a depression so intense that it spills over into all other areas of that person's life. These types of pain can be tolerated temporarily, but in the long run, if things do not change, that stress and sadness can ruin a person. Well, if that much despair can be generated by a forty-hour-a-week job, then just image how despondent and distressed one might become if one was forced to live in a gender that felt wrong for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week."

u/LocalAmazonBot · 5 pointsr/asktransgender

Here are some links for the product in the above comment for different countries:

Link: Whipping Girl


This bot is currently in testing so let me know what you think by voting (or commenting).

u/interiot · 4 pointsr/transgender

Read Whipping Girl, it's an awesome book.

Regarding this, the author suggests that it's often used as a way to say that transgender feelings aren't legitimate, by classifying the trans-feminine impulses as either 1) repressed homoerotic urges (when it's a trans-feminine person who's attracted to guys), or 2) autogynephilia (when it's a trans-feminine person who's attracted to women). I think she even goes so far as to suggest that some outsiders use this as a way to say that no trans-feminine person is legitimately transgender.

I don't think it's quite that pernicious -- I know someone who openly identifies as autogynephiliac, and they have lots of experience exploring themselves. But it does seem to be an overly convoluted explanation, that you trick yourself into becoming what you're attracted to. Since there aren't a lot of people who, after a lot of contemplation, identify this way (and many end up deciding that's not the best explanation), it seems like Occam's Razor is enough to say that those urges aren't so convoluted, that you really just want to become the way you honestly see yourself.

u/Cautiously_Allie · 4 pointsr/asktransgender

She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders: This would be my highest recommendation. Jennifer Boylan is a great writer, and succinctly articulates what a lifetime of low-level dysphoria is like. This one or something like it, would help greatly with fleshing out your character's personality.

Whipping Girl: Probably needs to be read so that you don't make a tremendous misstep and offend a ton of people. Julia Serrano is an activist. She comes off as a political warrior, which was a bit off-putting for a mostly apolitical person such as myself, but her information is solid and comprehensive.

Warrior Princess, A U.S. Navy Seal's Journey to Coming Out Transgender: I haven't read this one yet, so I can't really say if it's an interesting read but, this one is sure to have some of the qualities that you're searching for. For someone to complete Seal training, and succeed in that extremely masculine environment, while suppressing her female nature seems to be just the kind of insight you need for your story.

Also, you can gain a better understanding by reading up on "dysphoria" here on AskTG. The experiences of the people here are vast and varied, so you may find a better feel for your character by delving into this subject. Does your protagonist just feel as though something is slightly off? Do they feel shame for wanting to be female, because of the lower social station? Does your character experience crippling fits of anxiety and depression, or anger at their plight?

Hope you find what you're looking for. We could use more trans-positive literature to counteract the bile that has been present for far too long.

u/Huwawa · 4 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

A book that deals extensively with this subject ("male" traits being valued more than "female" traits) is Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially my cis-sexual friends.

u/DreamSynthesizer · 4 pointsr/asktransgender

People here recommend it a lot, so you may have already heard of this book, but you might take a look at Whipping Girl. It was the first book about trans topics I read that made me feel like my experiences were legitimate.

P.S. Legos, dinosaurs, etc. aren't necessarily "boy toys;" it sounds like you just liked stuff that was awesome.

u/bushiz · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

yo. For one. Situations defined as real are real in their consequences. Ergo, gender is real. Even independent of some hypothetical evidence about gender being entirely performative and phenomenological (which there really isn't. I mean, western society obviously hyperexaggerates the difference between the masculine and the feminine, but to flat out deny that there's any reality to gender is almost as bad as being a complete essentialist.) the differences exist in society. Deities probably not existing doesn't mean that the catholic church doesn't exist.

For two: read this: http://www.amazon.com/Whipping-Girl-Transsexual-Scapegoating-Femininity/dp/1580051545/sr=1-1/qid=1171236918/ref=sr_1_1/002-9653913-0811203?ie=UTF8&s=books because it's basically the best book on the situation ever.

u/smischmal · 4 pointsr/Minecraft

I don't fully agree with that. Gender is a complex and nuanced topic. Some portions can rightly be regarded as social constructs, however not all parts can. For instance, gender explained as entirely a social construct fails to account for transgender people who feel strongly identified in a way that is discouraged by cultural norms. There is clearly some intrinsic part of them that is drawn to these cross-gender activities or characteristics.

For a more in depth examination of this topic, I highly suggest you read Whipping Girl by Julia Serrano.

u/tiny_birds · 4 pointsr/funny

On EMTs refusing care to trans people: Maybe pbjay is thinking about Tyra Hunter.
> Tyra Hunter, a transsexual woman who died in 1995 after being in a car accident. EMTs who arrived on the scene stopped providing her with medical care—and instead laughed and made slurs at her—upon discovering that she had male genitals.

Quoted here from Whipping Girl by Julia Serano.

On the less extreme side, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care found 5% of survey respondents reported that EMTs treat them unequally.

On legally attacking and killing trans people: "Trans panic" is a legal defense against assault and murder charges that asserts the defendant became temporarily insane because they were so freaked out their victim was trans. The "trans panic" defense hasn't been used very often or successfully. The most famous "trans panic" case is the murder of Gwen Araujo. Other examples include Chanelle Pickett whose murderer was acquitted of the three more serious charges—first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and voluntary manslaughter— and found guilty only of assault and battery.

If you want to read more about the "trans panic" defense, I suggest (Trans)forming The Provocation Defense by Morgan Tilleman

  • edited for (still not awesome) formatting
u/Winterlong · 3 pointsr/MaleFemme

I'm currently reading Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano. I'm finding a lot of it applicable to me, particularly chapter 17, "Crossdressing: Demystifying Femininity and Rethinking 'Male Privilege'". I might post some choice quotes later.

u/isleepinahammock · 3 pointsr/asktransgender

Ok, so it's a fantasy story where one of the characters happens to be trans. I'll go down the list of your original questions:

a) The no big deal approach is a good way to handle it.

b) Pitfalls? Read The Whipping Girl. That should help you with that.

c) I would use the "whatever pronouns they use at the moment" approach if you're having the character realize they're trans somewhere within the novel. Maybe have the character come to a realization, and from there on refer to them as that pronoun.

d) This seems to contradict the idea of making it "no big deal." Illustrating a trans woman is uncomfortable by saying "her testicles retract" Really??? That's incredibly strange. Stay far away from such things. I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole.

e) Read the book I suggested. Spend a few weeks just reading through the archives of this subreddit. Also read through r/ftm. Just by reading through the questions and answers people have posted, you'll gain quite a bit of insight into the diversity of issues and experiences trans people face.

f) We already touched on this, but essentially don't use magic as a way to trivialize trans people's struggles. A lot of what trans people struggle with is coming to terms with what is feasible and possible. As a trans gal, I need to make peace with certain limitations. I'll never be able to get pregnant. I'll always have a few masculine features, scars from my past. I'll always have people who consider me something less than a "real woman." I need to learn to live happily even with these limitations. If your trans character ultimately finds happiness and becomes whole through magical transformation, it suggests that trans people in the real world can never find happiness and never be whole. Be very, very careful with this.

u/lunarstar · 3 pointsr/AskFeminists

Well, I strongly identify as a trans-feminist, and I am often hesitant of feminist spaces that aren't queer-centric for the very reasons that you list. However, for me it is important to educate those feminists who are transphobic or cissexist etc to help broaden feminist thought into a more intersectional frame of thought that addresses the sexism of all different identities.

I personally really care about LGBT+ things (and as you can see the LGB movements have not always been trans friendly either), and feminism as well. I assure you that not all feminists are like those individuals your friends experienced, and I am sorry they both had to go through that. It sounds like what they experienced is what Julia Serano has called "cissexism" or, "the belief that transsexuals' identified genders are inferior to, or less authentic than, those of cissexuals." This sort of sexism is something that I think the feminist movements would benefit from addressing.

I know that it can get really depressing reading and experiencing feminists being transphobic and cissexist etc, but one author (and really great speaker) who I have really enjoyed reading is Julia Serano, who is a trans woman and a feminist. You can check out her book "Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity" and I am looking forward to her new book coming out called "Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive" which I think is something you might be interested in looking into.

u/phonicparty · 3 pointsr/asktransgender

>I'm not surprised everything we thought was incorrect. Every time anyone has a discussion about this stuff at my school it turns into a circlejerky who is the most PC contest and I think most of these people get their information from tumblr

Probably. There's nothing wrong with asking questions - it's healthy and wanting to learn is never a bad thing.

>You've lost me a little. I don't understand the difference between gender identity and gender roles. I can understand wanting to identify as another role, but I don't understand what gender identity is without sex or roles.

Okay so to really simplify -

Gender identity: whether you're a man or a woman

Gender role: how society says men and women should act

They're entirely separate and unrelated, although there is obviously a strong correlation between people who are men and people who like to act masculine, and between people who are women and people who like to act feminine. But that's all it is - a correlation. There are plenty of people who are men who don't like to be masculine but do like to be feminine, just as there are plenty of people who are women who don't like to be feminine but do like to be masculine. And there are masculine trans women and feminine trans men. At the end of the day, though, a feminine man is still a man and and a masculine woman is still a woman. Preferring a particular socially constructed gender role doesn't change your innate gender identity. Liking dresses doesn't make a man not a man, you know?

This would be much easier to understand, I think, if we didn't use the term "gender identity". It leads to far too much confusion of exactly this type and I think something else would be a better term (Julia Serano - who writes brilliantly - uses the term "subconscious sex" as in the sex of your subconscious, which I quite like), but the important thing to take away is that although they happen to be similar phrases they're very much not the same thing, or even similar. One is who you are, the other is how society says you should act based on that.

(Also in terms of gender identity there are non-binary people who don't feel themselves to be men or women but something else or both, and there are agender people who don't feel any gender at all)

>Okay you're starting to make me think this is where I lie. I really don't understand feeling a certain gender in context outside of social roles or genetics. I hate periods/the ability to get pregnant/having a uterus in general. I hate that my friendships with males always fall apart when I don't want to fuck them. I hate feeling unsafe walking around at night. I hate feeling worth less than male and socially would definitely DEFINITELY rather be a dude. But all of this is just out of convenience. I'd never transition because if I did, I'd never be treated like a cis dude

You probably would, though. Most people greatly underestimate the power of hormones (and other things such as surgery) and their potential to change someone's appearance from undeniably female to undeniably male (or vice versa). Most trans people end up blending back into society eventually and being treated just as cis men or women. Trans people that you see who are obviously or visibly trans are usually early in transition (or are just unfortunate) and aren't representative of trans people generally.

>and half the inconveniences would still be there + new ones would be created. Basically, how I feel about this is basically "let's do whatever is most beneficial/convenient". In the same way everyone wants to be rich instead of poor since it's simply the better option. IDK.

In an ideal world would you rather be male or female? Or neither, maybe?

If you started growing thick facial hair tomorrow how would you feel about it? If your voice dropped how would you feel about it?

>I just don't think I'm going to understand, as much as I'd like to. I feel like a lot of that comes from being a cis female though.

No, I don't think this is the case. A lot of or even most cis (or nominally cis) people - I think those with a stronger sense of their own maleness or femaleness - get it instinctively when it's explained to them, some don't. The latter tend to either be people who have just never thought about it and can't imagine that it would cause any problems to just switch sex because they don't know what they're talking about, or people who - like you, I think - just maybe don't have a particularly strong sense of their gender, or even might have no gender at all.

It might be really helpful for you to read about non-binary identities or agender people - if they don't resonate then fair enough, but you might find they do. You might even find out that you're not quite as cis as you thought you were. But that's entirely up to you.

> For some reason I just can't wrap my head around genders having feelings though

So it's not like genders have feelings, it's that you innately know and understand yourself to be one gender rather than another.

When I think about myself I think "woman" or "girl" or "female". When I look around at other people I subconsciously group myself with the other women rather than the men. I want to fit in and be accepted as a woman not as a man. When people mistake me for a man it makes me uncomfortable. Having a body that is more female feels right in a way that having a body that was more male never did. That's how it works for me, roughly, if such an abstract concept as gender identity can ever be put into words. It's kind of like trying to describe hunger to someone who doesn't need to eat, it's always going to be difficult to properly get it across.

u/trulyl · 3 pointsr/asktransgender

Here are some of the resources I've read, and what I think about them:

  • Transgender 101: A good introduction covering a lot of what you mention above. It's more focused on the transsexual experience, though. Non-binary identities and others under the "transgender" umbrella get their own chapter, but it's stuck at the back of the book. Chapter 6 has a really good section on whether transgender should be considered a mental disorder, and talks about the insurance issue.

  • Whipping Girl: Although it's not too hard to get through, I'd consider this to be "advanced reading" for those who already have a grounding in basic trans thinking/terminology. I really enjoyed it and agree with many of Serano's arguments, but it's less textbook and more opinion piece (although Serano has also written a number of academic papers for respected journals). It's mainly focused on the MTF transsexual experience.

  • True Selves: You might hear this one mentioned in lists of good trans books, but it's now 20 years old, is very heavily weighted toward a limited view of the transexual experience, and it defends the gatekeeper mentality. I'd honestly avoid it, unless you're interested in reading about how things used to be, in which case I'd highly recommend Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon (who knew that people used to be arrested just for crossdressing?). Don't show that one to your professor!

  • WPATH Standards of Care v7: Presents a good overview of gender non-conformity and dysphoria with references to contemporary research. Written for a medical/academic audience but easy enough for a general audience to understand too. Focuses significantly on mental health aspects of transgender and medical transition options. The standards of care seem to have become more liberal with each new version, to the extent that they're now presented as guidelines rather than hard rules and are approaching the "informed consent" approach. Still, they're an example of the gatekeeping approach, which some people are dead against.

  • National Geographic magazine gender special edition: Has some good stories covering the whole range of transgender people (i.e. talks about non-binary identities as well as the traditional transsexual experience). Also interesting is the wide discussion of gender issues in various world cultures, although this is of less relevance to what you're looking for.

    Obviously there's a lot more out there, and I'm sure others can add to this and/or argue with my take on the above list. This is just some of my admittedly limited reading - please don't take this in any way as an authoritative list of the best resources!

    I'd be careful relying on websites and blog posts for information. You need to be critical of the authors' credibility and biases, and there is a lot of poorly-researched, poorly-written stuff out there, some of which is downright wrong, made-up, nonsensical or hateful (I've read a lot on Blanchard's typology and the paraphillia/fetish view of transsexualism, and I'd advise you to avoid it at all costs!). On the other hand, I'd say don't stick entirely to books and academic papers, because there are a lot of interesting thoughts/perspectives from those in the community who don't write books or publish papers.
u/alsoathrowaway · 3 pointsr/lgbt


Not 100% on the topic of your question, but it's quite good, and potentially very helpful if having a difficulty understanding transgender folks is something you'd like to correct. Also available slightly cheaper in Kindle form (which is how I read it, to avoid potential awkward questions from coworkers...).

u/GurlyBoy · 3 pointsr/asktransgender

I like the idea of a trade off. She's not the only one with a viewpoint here and if she wants you to understand where she's coming from, it's only fair for her to gain an understanding of where your coming from. For the record, the reference to Serrano is regarding Whippping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, by Julia Serrano.

Edit: Verbiage

u/yipely · 2 pointsr/LGBTQbooks

I don't have them yet, but I just ordered Whipping Girl and Transgender History.

Last book I read about LGBTQ stuff was probably Gender Outlaws by Kate Bornstein.

Edits: can't type on a tablet to save my life, let alone do reddit formatting.

u/eoz · 2 pointsr/WTF

Um, no.

My understanding is that it's full of all the salacious medical details, but is devoid of any understanding of what it's actually like to be intersexed. Yet another cis person making assumptions and guesses while drowning out the voices of people who they're claiming to represent.

Fuck that shit. I could have cut out half a decade of my life being miserable because the media represents trans women as men in dresses or sex workers or deviants and never as someone who felt the way I felt. It was only when I stumbled upon an actual trans person talking about what it actually felt like to actually be trans that I came to admit my own feelings to myself. I finally realised that being trans wasn't all these things that people who didn't know were telling me it was.

If you want an actual introduction to trans issues, you should look at Whipping Girl by Julia Serano.

u/veiak · 2 pointsr/MtF

> Did any of you have similar experiences and, if so, can you please give me some advice?

I have had very similar experiences. My parents didn’t actually comprehend me when I said that I wasn’t cis until I consistently insisted that I was a woman — before that they kept selectively forgetting and their response to me mentioning anything about being a woman was along the lines of “Why didn’t you tell us before??”.

> Do any of you have any general advice for someone who recently figured out her mind?

Something that helped me trememdously was reading a book called Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano (Amazon Link) because it validated my experiences, encouraged me in fighting against discrimination I may experience, and provided me with the theoretical tools to explain and understand gender in a more complex way.

Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid gaslighting yourself by questioning whether the things you experience are really valid or actually legitimate, as this spirals into a ton of mind games and just is a huge pain in the ass.

Try presenting yourself how you want to, even if it is just wearing panties or bright socks or leggings under pants a little bit of makeup. Small stuff really does make a difference and it can feel liberating to de-mystify a lot of the stuff you never learned about growing up.

Also, maybe try thinking of a name that you would like to go by and calling yourself it. In my experience, having a name allowed me to begin conceptualizing who I want to become when I couldn’t think of anything. You sort of get attached to the idea of you as {GirlNameHere} and it helps you feel out your identity.

> Is it relatively "normal" for me to be dealing with this stuff at 18?

It is totally normal. I am 19 and have been dealing with it since I was 14 when I first asked my parents if I could wear makeup.

u/DebasedAndRebased · 2 pointsr/funny

Yeah, that's... what she's saying isn't inaccurate, I guess, but there's really no reason to respond like that. Even when that level of anger is justified it doesn't usually accomplish anything.

Someone more eloquent than myself already wrote that book.

And thanks for not being asshole. Well, as long as you don't actually go through with outing your friend, anyway. I live every day with the fear that someone I know will flip out and do that and possibly ruin my life. Seriously, it's not cool.

u/yousaythatbut · 2 pointsr/TheBluePill

Julia Serano's Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity discusses this concept in detail! ebook versions are available with a Google search if you can't afford it and your library doesn't have it.

u/ClockworkDream13 · 2 pointsr/asktransgender

This may help

A helpful way to visualize it might also be to consider it this way. Sexuality is a spectrum, similarly gender identity, and gender expression are also two different spectrums. While these three spectrums influence each other, no single one is completely influenced by another. One can even make the arguement that physical sex is also a spectrum given intersex people and other variations in physical sex.

A person who is Transgender is someone whose gender identity doesn't align with their physical sex

Transsexual is more of a medical term to describe transgender folk who have made steps or are making steps to change their physical sex to correlate with their gender identity, whether through hormones or surgery.

While all people who are transsexuals are transgender, it is not the case that all people who are transgender are transsexuals. Given that being transsexual is essentially a medical status it is often more useful for us to simply go with a shorthand when describing ourselves and say that we are trans. After all you wouldn't go around telling people about whatever medical procedures or treatments you might be going through.

Now a Cisgendered person is someone whose gender identity matches up with their physical sex. Being cisgendered is to being transgender as being heterosexual is to being homosexual, just different spectrums.

What your describing in your post isn't necessarily transgender behavior so much as a deviation from the norm of gender expression. You may enjoy stereotypically female behaviors, but you probably still identify as male, prefer male pronouns, present yourself as a male to others ect, ect.
Variations in gender expression is why we can have butch ladies and effeminate dudes, they're not trans necessarily they are just in different areas on the gender expression spectrum. Keep in mind though that since gender expression and gender identity are two separate spectrums you can have people like a butch trans-woman, or an effeminate trans-man, but trans and cis pretty much exclusively describes the relationship between physical sex and gender identity.

If you're looking to do a bit of reading I highly recommend Julia Serano's Whipping Girl for a pretty in depth analysis of these topics, and a fantastic read on top of that.

u/nxvd · 2 pointsr/transgender

Ironically, trans men are often counted as women before trans women. Take, for example, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, which will let people on the FtM spectrum attend, but not people on the MtF spectrum, because they "aren't womyn-born womyn" (trans men apparently are).

For those wondering: Yes, I did just finish reading Whipping Girl.

u/Biotruthologist · 1 pointr/IAmA

I think I should point out here that I also do study biology, biochemistry in particular, but I don't really like the reductionist view. I'm not sure how productive a discussion would be and we would probably just end up pissing off the other person. So, instead I'll leave a book recommendation. Whipping Girl by Dr. Julia Serano. She is a trans woman who works as a professional biologist and I think her voice is worth listening to, at the least.

u/pixis-4950 · 1 pointr/doublespeaklockstep

2718281828 wrote:

Julia Serano addresses this question in Whipping Girl. You should read it.

I'm not an expert about this subject, but if I remember correctly she uses the phrase "subconscious sex" to refer to how people feel. Then they can choose to express that in different ways. So a trans woman who wears a dress isn't a woman just because she wears a dress. She's a woman (innately) who expresses her gender (to society and/or herself) through wearing a dress.

And keep in mind that trans people are as diverse as cis people. Not all trans women wear dresses or have long hair. And there are cis men who wear dresses and have long hair.

Again, I'm not an expert. I hope someone will correct me if I've messed something up.

u/gnurdette · 1 pointr/TwoXChromosomes

You should read Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. You're going say, "WHAT? But that's by a transsexual woman and I'm not!", and I get that, but seriously it's a book about how sometimes society focuses its general misogyny on feminine people specifically and makes you feel ashamed about it. Bet you'll find it empowering.

u/kage-e · 1 pointr/genderqueer

Sorry for the late reply, I only now stumbled upon your question.

Here are some more books that I haven't seen mentioned. All of them are non-fiction, all of the authors have published more on the topic.

u/killthealias · 1 pointr/TrollXChromosomes

I mean, the outright rejection of femininity, viewing it as lesser in some form (even subconsciously), is a big problem. It affects trans women especially as the abandonment of masculinity for femininity shakes the false assumptions that masculinity is superior or more desirable than femininity. This is expanded upon in some excellent ways in Whipping Girl which I really recommend everyone read.

That being said, as others have pointed out context is important. No one should be forced into either femininity or masculinity against their will.

u/ughokaywhatever · 1 pointr/asktransgender

Have you read Julia Serano's (The Whipping Girl)[https://www.amazon.com/Whipping-Girl-Transsexual-Scapegoating-Femininity/dp/1580051545]? She has a chapter about this that really helped me. I struggled for years trying to convince myself that my dysphoria was OCD or a sexual fetish, but I've recently come to let go of those notions. In fact, I'm now firmly in the "autogynephilia is sexist, transphobic bullshit" camp. It's obvious to me that my gender dysphoria has been persistent for over a decade, but all of my other rationalizations and diagnoses have come and gone: ADHD, OCD, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, dissociation, escapism, etc... I had to ask myself, how many years is this going to cause me pain, and how many times am I going to convince myself that it's merely a fetish? Or X? Or Y or Z? But fetishes and OCD don't work like that. They don't plague people in amorphous, shifting, yet ever present ever constant ways for such long periods of time. As for masturbation, after you orgasm your body is flooded with endorphins and other hormones to relax and sooth you. I think the cycle of masturbating to various TG fetishes and then feeling cis again is comparable to any other addiction. The release of anxiety from the addictive habit leads to the notion that one can quit the addiction, and then it comes back, again and again, because the habit/substance isn't the real issue. It's just a symptom.

u/looseleaf · 1 pointr/changemyview

I stated that groups should not be judged by an action of a few, and in no way did I imply that cis people are exempt. You are effectively judging the trans community by it's more vocal members rather than as individuals, but we've been there, so I'll leave that be.

The issue is that you're expecting people to take the time to educate you with questions they have to answer again and again when you could take the time to google some basics or read some books (I'd recommend the book Whipping Girl). If you can't be bothered to read up on the basic terminology (for example, transsexual is medical term, transgender is the term you're looking for to describe the identity) or garner a faint understanding of what it means to be trans (as Piers Morgan did) you are not treating a community respectfully nor are you displaying the level of interest and care that engenders a meaningful conversation. If you go to a foreign country and don't bother to learn about the customs and continuously do and say offensive things, your ignorance shows a lack of genuine respect for the culture that will not inspire people to teach you. If someone has a visible birthmark or disability, we do not expect them to politely explain about it every time someone asks about it, even if their intention is innocent. Hell, we teach that to children. We consider it rude to pester people about what makes them different, as we consider it careless to not research a company we apply to, a country we visit, or an issue we proclaim to care about. I think you underestimate how dealing with consistent ignorance wears on a person, and how little claims of interest and respect mean when the person unwilling to put independent effort into understanding.

If you accept meeting violence with violence, then you can accept that willful ignorance demonstrates a lack of respect that can be met with an equal lack of respect.

u/BanditTheDolphin · -9 pointsr/SRSsucks

I feel like those assumptions are, at least in part, backed up by the experiences of transgender people. I've read accounts of transgender women (MTF) who talk about how they're shocked to find just how often people start making passes at them. And nearly every transgender woman who writes about her transition ends up talking about how they're shocked at how much more often they're told to smile.

Julia Serano writes about this in her book Whipping Girl - the part about smiling is in chapter 19, but the whole book's filled with fascinating stuff, even if you don't endorse her more radical conclusions.