Big Readers Forum Index


Books about sex and gender
Page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Big Readers Forum Index -> Non-fiction categories
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Please Register and Login to this forum to stop seeing this advertising.






Posted:     Post subject:



Back to top
Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3374


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Your postings on your readings in this subject are always interesting and educational.  Thanks.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mike Smile


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A note about Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock, another memoir. Janet Mock is an American journalist, and this book will probably be more affecting to people who have read her writing and seen her on TV. I approached it knowing nothing of her life. Mock grew up in Hawaii, the child of a Hawaiian mother and black father, both feckless, yet supportive of their daughter when she came out as trans in her teens. Mock was an academic child, a winner of scholarships, but that didn't stop her drifting into sex work to raise money for hormones and for her transition. It's a sad but familiar story, and ends happily. Having moved to New York and lived 'stealth' for a few years among her new acquaintances, Mock came out publicly as trans in the hope of using her story to support people in similar circumstances and to educate others. As a story it's inspirational; as a book it's less impressive than (for instance) Julia Serano's Whipping Girl, which is less of a memoir and more of a manifesto. I'm probably more attracted by the latter.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3374


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OUT IN THE ARMY (My Life as a Gay Soldier) an autobiography by James Wharton is a very interesting and informative book and I read it quickly - whizzed through it. †Wharton, from Wrexham, joined the army at age 16, realising that he was gay. †The book tells of his experiences on 'coming out', how the news was received by fellow soldiers and the army hierarchy. The gradual changing of army homophobia and prejudices. †The story of his gay life runs in parallel with his army career, there's a lot of interesting stuff about daily life in the Household Cavalry - his time in Afghanistan - his friendship with Prince Harry, his first experience of Gay Pride, his becoming virtually a poster boy for Gay Rights and Same-Sex marriage. His becoming famous and appearing on TV. He's invited to 10 Downing Street and meets lots of famous people. †This is all fascinating and inspiring stuff. And alongside we read of his varied sex-life and relationship with Thom, the love of his life. †I'm sure any gay person would thoroughly enjoy this book, and straight people might gain an insight how the other half (well, ten percent) love. And how much work still needs to be done in spite of wonderful advances in LGBT rights in the last forty years.
Recommended by Stephen Fry




Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds interesting, Mike - I'll look out for it.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finished today: The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century by Kathryn Bond Stockton. I wish I could say I understood it, but I came away from it thinking that perhaps I should stop reading so many trendy academic texts when I don't get much out of them, not even the illusion that reading such books means I'm smart, as in fact they make me feel stupider than ever, or at any rate tired and confused.

Stockton's concept of 'growing sideways' is quite attractive. Children are innocent to begin with; they have to lose their innocence at some point, as we all know; still we try to preserve their innocence as long as possible, but in doing so suppress their natural growing up, and so they grow sideways. This growing sideways isn't expressed in concrete terms (can't be, I suspect), but Stockton gets some mileage out of it in looking at books and films that fit her theories: Henry James' short story 'The Pupil', which sounds excellent, Mrs Dalloway (Mrs D's objection to her daughter's love for the tutor Miss Kilman, and how that relates to her own youthful dalliances with Sally Seton), Lolita, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Wonka queering Charlie with his sideways-moving elevator). If I didn't get much of it, I did enjoy the explorations of the things I knew. I was very grateful for the occasional ejaculation joke, though I wondered if the glib witticisms like 'where there's Haze there's fire' (in reference to Lolita) were there to mask an emptiness of thought, probably because that was usually my intention when I dropped similar jokes into my own academic writing.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3374


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not happy about the phrase 'losing one's innocence'. It suggests that then you become guilty of something.   The story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge has a lot to answer for.............


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Losing one's ignorance, then, if you prefer.

Yesterday I finished reading an anthology from 2002, GenderQueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary, edited by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell and Riki Wilchins. Although ostensibly about people who fall outside the confines of binary gender, some of the writers are cis and/or binary, and the unifying theme seems to be the transgression of gender norms generally.

It begins with four essays by Riki Wilchins that are enjoyably punchy, treating different aspects of gender. Her first one is very good on the difficulty of approaching thinking about gender in new ways:

In the introduction to Sexual Politics, one of feminismís earliest manifestos,
Kate Millett complained that analyzing the patriarchy was so difficult
because there was no alternative system to which it might be compared.
Her comment could well apply to trying to analyze the gender system. The
problem is not that we donít know the gender system well enough but that
we know it all too well and canít envision any alternative. Thus, trying to
understand gender sometimes feels like trying to take in the Empire State
Building while standing only three inches away: Itís at once so big, so
overwhelming, and so close that we canít see it all at once or conceptualize
it clearly.

Gender is like a lens through which weíve not yet learned to see. Or, more
accurately, like glasses worn from childhood, itís like a lens through which
weíve always seen and canít remember how the world looked before. And
this lens is strictly bifocal. It strangely shows us only black and white in a
Technicolor world so that Ö there may certainly be more than two genders,
but two genders is all weíve named, all we know, and all weíll see.


At times they're really a lot of fun:

But in the 1800s scientists produced a new catalog of disease based on
sex. It included: gerontophiles (old people turn you on), pedophiles (young
people turn you on), onanophiles (you turn you on), zoophiles (Mr. Ed turns
you on), masochists (a little pain won't hurt), sadists (especially if it's
someone else's), necrophiles (don't ask), and of course the homosexual
(don't tell).


The rest of the book consists of a mix of memoirs, interviews, and stories that might be fictional but have their roots in personal experience. They're from a diverse range of voices, and cover a lot of ground, so one doesn't get bored. Pieces I liked: two by Joan Nestle, basically porn, and 'Do Your Ears?' by Peggy Munson, playfully erotic; Allie Lie's piece with its smart interchangeable I/he/she pronouns, and Lucas Dzmura's self-portrait as a shadow; Ethan Zimmerman's 'Transie', a sweet, sad catalogue of things people say publicly and think privately about gender; Stacey Montgomery's 'Passings', twenty little affirmations, positive and negative. Some of the best pieces are the ones that are deliberately and determinedly funny. I loved L. Maurer's 'Story of a Preadolescent Drag King', a vignette of a bizarre childhood incident where a teacher tries to expunge the writer's masculine tendencies through a crusade about penmanship, and the absurdity of Wally Baird's 'Disorderly Fashion', in which Baird, diagnosed with breast cancer and in need of a mastectomy, finds doctors dragging their heels about creating a masculine chest for her without the approval of a therapist. A handful I disliked (an alienatingly aggressive piece by Allen James about guns), but by and large it's a successful and thought-provoking collection.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finished last night: Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England by Stephen Orgel. It's a slim book (about 150 pages) and is more entertaining than an academic book has any right to be. I came across it while writing an obituary of Lisa Jardine last month (as you do) Ė it was cited in a LRB article as a good book; so it proved.

An academic review I read after finishing the book said 'Orgel's aim ... is not to answer questions but to raise them,' which is very much the case. So the book is an exploration of facets of gender in Shakespeare's England, with particular reference to the matter of why women were not allowed on the Elizabethan stage when there were no such prohibitions in continental Europe, and when theatre audiences were by no means exclusively male. Some of the reasons: fears about women being corrupted by actors and turned into whores (in spite of the fact that acting was frequently equated with sodomy, as some would say it still is); fears about women corrupting the male actors with their voracious sexuality... At the same time, there was some angst about young boys being turned into pansies by acting companies, and there are fantastic stories Orgel tells of boys being effectively press-ganged into enlisting. Boys weren't chosen because they were good actors, or because they were being groomed to become actors when grown (this happened only rarely), but rather in order to serve as apprentices to the grown-up actors, who were often members of guilds (Ben Jonson, for instance, was apprenticed to a bricklayer).

Homosexuality and heterosexuality were not categories that Elizabethans would have recognised, and sodomy was rarely punished in England (unlike in Italy, for instance, where the penalty was death). It was the case, though, that same-sex relationships were generally pederastic. Two men of the same age getting it on would have been anathema to Shakespeare's public. That's another reason boys flourished on the stage: boys and women were credible objects of desire for adult men; other adult men less so. Never mind sexuality, even gender wasn't regimented as it is today. There are interesting examples of passages from sources where he/she pronouns are interchangeable for characters in drag, and some great case studies of women who shook up gender politics and transgressed gender norms (Bess of Hardwick and Mary Frith, i.e. Moll Cutpurse, for example).

It's very readable and great fun. It makes me keen to read the plays again. Troilus and Cressida which I don't think I've ever read but certainly loved in performance; and The Roaring Girl and Edward II and Barnabe Rich and so on.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3374


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds very good...........



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Big Readers Forum Index -> Non-fiction categories All times are GMT
Page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
Page 8 of 10

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Card File  Gallery  Forum Archive
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group
Big Readers Theme by Mike Alexander
Based on Artemis by Vjacheslav Trushkin
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum