my gender workbook

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my gender workbook

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1banditdreams First Message
Nov 5, 2006, 12:40pm

I was wondering if anyone wanted to do a reading and discussion group on the book.

2bigglesmith First Message
Nov 17, 2006, 6:25am

It looks like an interesting exercise, but I wonder whether it would be more focussed on a transsexual/transvestite identity, rather than the constructiveness of gender in contemporary society? So rather than a study in deconstructing yourself and the impact of the culture/society around you, it perhaps focusses more on becoming comfortable with a transvestite or transsexual lifestyle?

Naturally I have no idea, because I haven't seen it or read it (only looked at the info on Amazon), but I'd be curious if anyone's read it how relevant/effective it is to a queer existence outside of transvestism/transexuality?

3lilithcat
Nov 17, 2006, 9:11am

how relevant/effective it is to a queer existence outside of transvestism/transexuality?

Very.

I have read it, and the point that Bornstein makes through these exercises is that gender is fluid. It's definitely not confined to "becoming comfortable with a transvestite or transsexual lifestyle" (and I will here refrain from my usual rant about calling someone's gender/sexuality a "lifestyle"), but instead deals with helping all of us recognize that gender is not static, that traditional gender markers really aren't, and that gay, straight, or whatever, we are a constantly-changing synthesis of gender.

Try it, you'll like it!

4bigglesmith
Nov 17, 2006, 11:06am

I'm sorry, Lilithcat, 'lifestyle' was indeed very thoughtless word choice on my behalf. Minor consolation, I know, but it's a term that has arisen often during discussions with transsexual friends, without any solid discussion on whether or not it's appropriate. I'd be really interested to know what alternative terms I could use, if you wouldn't mind sharing your rant with me so I understand better?

You have answered my query, as well, which I really appreciate. I guess what I was trying to get at (and it's so hard to put into words without coming across wrong) was whether or not My Gender Workbook was constructivism in disguise, or if it was really original and forward-thinking. It sounds like it's definitely worth getting a hold of! And I love the phrase 'constantly-changing synthesis of gender'.

5lilithcat
Edited: Nov 17, 2006, 11:26am

Ack! My message disappeared! Trying again:

My issue with "lifestyle" is that here in the States it's commonly used by those who think we choose our sexuality, and are always going on about "gays can change if they'll just accept Jesus". To me, "lifestyle" means having three kids or none, preferring to party hearty or curl up with a good book, etc. The phrases "homosexual lifestyle", "transsexual lifestyle", and the like imply that all homosexuals or all transsexuals lead exactly the same kind of life, which is, of course, absurd. (And have you ever noticed that nobody ever says "heterosexual lifestyle"?)

The think about My Gender Workbook is that it makes you think about gender, and society's ideas of gender, in ways most people don't. (Well, most people don't think about it at all, do they? They just make assumptions!)

6bigglesmith
Nov 17, 2006, 4:19pm

Thanks for coming back to me, Lilithcat! I'm from Australia, living in Britain currently, not that Australia is the most liberal country in the world (gay marriage, anyone? no? Kyoto Protocol, anyone? no??).

I guess it's one of those things that I just don't think about until someone points it out to me. I can totally see how 'lifestyle' is problematic on so many levels - how can a word that can be used in the sentence 'I do love the county lifestyle' be used to describe something like gender or sexuality? But then, and please, please excuse my dimness, but...what is the alternative? What should we say instead? Or should it be an obsolete term? With no emphasis placed on the 'lifestyle' side of gender/sexuality whatsoever? And what does any of what I'm saying have to do with books? Sigh. I'll be quiet now.

BTW> Lilith - is this a reference to everyone's favourite Garden of Eden anti-heroine?

7lilithcat
Nov 17, 2006, 4:29pm

BTW> Lilith - is this a reference to everyone's favourite Garden of Eden anti-heroine?

In a rather convoluted way. My screen name comes from one of my cats, who was named after the now-defunct women's music festival, Lilith Fair, which, in turn, was named after Adam's first wife.

what is the alternative? What should we say instead?

Honestly? I'm not sure. Orientation, maybe? Or just "gay", "straight", "transsexual"?

And what does any of what I'm saying have to do with books?

Well, the conversation did start about a book! And, let's face it, around here everything eventually relates to a book!

8olyra First Message
Jan 24, 2007, 1:56pm

I read MGW, and i read Gender outlaw, and i have seen Kate speak...and they all talk about differant things. but, most of it is directly applicable to social change/dynamics of gender. i identify as trans, so it was definitely a windfall of information for me.
(i dunno how helpful that comment was)

9knownever
Mar 18, 2012, 12:36pm

My Gender Workbook is very useful when working with young people. I've worked with professors who used segments of it as an introduction to a required women's studies class for undergraduates (i.e. jocks, femmy straight girls, gamer nerds...all the college types that never thought about gender before are forced to take it). Pretty simplistic for anyone who's thought at length about gender/sexuality before, but it's a great way to get novices thinking about how these issues relate to them. It demonstrates that it's not just about "those weirdos over there," but everyone.