Required reading: Whipping Girl (Julia Serano)

Whipping Girl: A transexual woman on sexism and the scapegoating of femininity

I came across this book when I read a post entitled Charring Cross in breath of fresh air shocker, in which some of the Doctors from charring cross were asked in a panel setting if they had read this book. Dr Lorimer is quoted as saying he:

“had found it a very uncomfortable read, in places”.

This piqued my interest – what could make a key person from the UK’s biggest gender clinic make this admission?

I promptly downloaded it onto my Kindle and started reading it. It’s pretty intense in places. She starts off by challenging the case that transphobia is a fringe thing, but is actually an offshoot of misogyny. In short – men are better than women; masculine is better than feminine; what could be worse than a man that wants to be a woman? It’s quite an angry start, but her writing style and erudition of argument had me hooked.

She goes onto talk about her thoughts on how to reconcile the popular argument that “gender is just a spectrum” with the other elephant in the room that most people are straight & cisgendered, so how can it be? Her solution is simple and yet intricately clever. It’s really intelligently debated.

Each chapter does build on the last, but at the same time each stands alone, so I have been just dipping in and out reading a chapter her and a chapter there. Whilst the subject matter is intense – it’s actually a fairly easy read. I would strongly suggest anyone that is a trans-woman, knows one or is interested in becoming an ally to trans people read this book. Required reading.

  • I will be getting a copy of this as soon as possible. 🙂