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Publisher's Summary

Named as one of 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time by Ms. magazine.

Julia Serano shares her experiences and insights - both pre- and post-transition - to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.

Serano's well-honed arguments and pioneering advocacy stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. In this provocative manifesto, she exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive.

In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about being transgender, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activists must work to embrace and empower femininity - in all of its wondrous forms.

©2016 Julia Serano (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

“A foundational text for anyone hoping to understand transgender politics and culture in the US today.” (NPR)

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What listeners say about Whipping Girl

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Very Informative

I admit I thought I knew a lot on this subject. But only a few pages in I found out I knew nothing!

4 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

I've been in transition for a year and a half, and I've struggled with the daily grind of fighting to be a woman in a world that hates women. Julia Serano's book helped me understand the world and my fight to be a part of it. This is a clear and concise picture, and everyone should read it.

9 people found this helpful

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Yeah pretty much everyone should read this book

This is the best book I have read to date on the subject of gender. Wish I had read it years ago.

7 people found this helpful

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This book will make you uncomfortable.

If I had more space the title of this review would be "this book will make you uncomfortable and that's why you should read it.
Forget every chapter, every paragraph of Serrano's book is an education. The chapters ebb and flow between horrifying historical facts, (typical of history's treatment of any kind of "outlier") emotional anecdotes and fiercely educational moments. While I did struggle to remember a the terms (cis privilege, right here) I do feel like I ended the book feeling more educated and empathetic to transgender people. At the very least, I have a better understanding of just how deep cis privilege goes and can reflect further on how to better myself and be conscious of my privilege as a move through the world.

I knock it down a star because I do think Serrano's narration is a too slow. I often speed up books but increased the speed here even more than usual.

2 people found this helpful

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This should be a mandatory read

Honestly, this book should be a mandatory read for anyone who wants to put their two-cents into anything trans related.

1 person found this helpful

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Fabulicious

A great educational tool.
A wonderland of resources.
A perfect book to help one find the vocabulary in helping understand yourself.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it~

Absolutely loved it! Very inspiring and informative! I would highly recommend for anyone to read!

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Thank you.

I began listening to your book Julia in hopes of finding and learning more about myself. I cannot count how many times while listening to the book I find myself nodding my head in agreement or identifying with your examples. Thank you for being the voice you are in our community.

1 person found this helpful

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Important book, performance needed a second pass

Not a lot to say about the book itself, really...this is a seminal work, and suffers only from the passage of time in what is a rapidly evolving subject. Serano herself acknowledges this in the foreword.

Biggest stumbling block is the performance, which is delivered in fairly unnatural, staccato bursts. I think it was important to have her narrate her own book, as it's entirely her voice, but she could have benefited from a little coaching in order to create a smoother listening experience. If this was a random work of fiction I would have abandoned it purely on the narration.

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Great material but difficult delivery

As a trans woman unraveling my own internalized transmisogeny that presently keeps me from really embracing my authentic self, I came across references to Julia Serano's book, "Whipping Girl" in various forums and personal accounts. With many citing it as incredibly helpful, I decided to pick it up and give it a listen. As it turned out, this was to be the kind of book that will require several listen-throughs, for both good and not-so-good reasons.

On the good side, there is a lot to unpack with the contents of this book. Serano's insights, ideas, analyses, and more are incredibly thought-provoking, and I picked up more than a few helpful ideas in her book on the first listen. It's the kind of stuff that can really shift your paradigm and see where you might be limiting yourself by your own internalized ideas on sex, gender, and transness. I'll likely be giving it a few listens from start to finish because there is more in here than you can likely absorb with just a first pass. It will take at least a couple more times to really let things sink in.

Unfortunately, the experience is hampered by Serano's narration of the book. Her reading cadence is very metered and repetitive. She reads in clusters or "bursts" of seven to nine words at a time with a pattern that is the same over, and over... and over... and over... and over. On top of that, she ends the last syllable of the last word in a burst with a kind of lilt that draws the last syllable into two. The only real exception is words that in in hard consonants like "t" or "m." The result is a sort of Valley Girl-like inflection that, due to its very even and repetitive cadence, gets hard to listen to after a while. It also makes the material hard to absorb at times, because a sentence may be read as a series of three bursts. So, rather than a nicely flowing train of thought, it's more like you get the idea thrown at you in ten-second sound bytes strung together to form a coherent idea.

Generally, I prefer to listen to books read by their own authors, and I think it is a benefit to hear the author read her own material to give emphasis to her thoughts as she reads. There is the occasional break in her pattern where her tone is more organic and those are real gems in the book. Unfortunately, most of it is read with a very forced, metered clip that sounds less a person reading her book and more like a choppy text-to-speech reader. Which is unfortunate because the author has done some great stuff with her book but distracts from really taking it in with her narration. So it might require a few listens - partly to really digest all of the great stuff in there but also because you're fed to it in small, repetitively-metered bursts that make each insight hard to follow at times.

In the end, give the sample a listen to see if it works for you. If so, great! Or, if audio is one of the most convenient ways to absorb books in a busy life like it is for me, get it. If not, maybe buy a print or e-book version so you can really take in all the book has to offer without stumbling through the author's narration.

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  • leSpring
  • 07-03-18

great book

The book is very well written and very insightful to anyone interested in the subject matter or anyone who would like to know more! Julia's narration and voice make for a great listen! highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Miss
  • 12-07-21

brilliant

I've read a lot of feminist literature, this is the first one in a while that has really deepened my understanding of the value systems, prejudices, biases and not knowingness that drive misogyny and transphobia. I have learned a lot.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-20

Insight full and interesting

It has given me a new way of viewing femininity and my own gender expression. It does not value one gender expression over an other, rather it argues that all types have values and validity. It is written from the viewpoint of a trans woman and therefore is heavily influenced by that pespective, this is not a critique of the book but merely an observation.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-19

Charming and informative

I’m a cis het guy with a little understanding of gender and sexuality study’s so I found this a little dense at points and had to take my time and re listen at points but it was fantastically eye opening.
Serano is explains her point of view clearly and articulately in a patient pace.
Everyone should read this

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  • Chris Berry
  • 06-12-19

annoying

faux female american voice that ground away like sand paper. should have got felicity huffman to narrate it

1 person found this helpful

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  • dc
  • 02-17-19

what a clever and insigjtful book

she is a very insightful author who is able to open your eyes to a topic that we all have strong opinions on, she is able to separate the topic from politics and personal opinion...I think it gives you the skills to look at any topic you thought you knew from a new perspective...

well read...well written and eye opening....

wish I had read it years ago..

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  • Jennifer
  • 01-31-17

Excellent

Really well presented viewpoint on transsexualism and feminism. It's been a great listen for someone who largely disagrees with current feminism.