Baker claws her way through some books

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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby wildlx » 20 Nov 2010, 13:02

I can lend you the book. I am not entering the challenge. And, Jo, I don't think it is fundamental for us lesbians to read the book. But the book makes light on what it is to be a FTM transgender/transsexual person, which is what the mc is. Also, besides gender identity, it also tackles on issues such as class and sexuality.
A lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. “The Woman-Identified Woman” Radicalesbians (1970)
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby FranW » 20 Nov 2010, 13:40

Wild, I wasn't sure if she was transgendered, or if she was a lesbian who felt she had to transgender in order to be accepted (or in order to accept herself).
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby Sacchi » 20 Nov 2010, 14:09

The book is valuable as a look at what life was like for working class lesbians when the general society was even less accepting than it is now. My take on her self-identity is that during one period of her life she felt that she had to be transgender just in order to be safe. I have a friend who feels that way even now.

I heard Leslie Feinberg speak at a Pride rally in Northampton a couple of years ago. She was impassioned on the subject of GLBT solidarity with working class struggles, but I'm afraid the young audience, though respectful, was bored. One of my college professors (political science, leaning toward socialism) tilted at that particular windmill after she retired, with very little luck.

Feinberg's books, though, are an invaluable part of our history, and worth reading. (I gave my copy to a friend several years ago, but just got one from the library to refresh my memory, if I get time to read it).
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Nov 2010, 14:28

I'd send you mine, but I just sent it to Deej because she sent hers to Baker...and we all know how that turned out. lol
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby wildlx » 20 Nov 2010, 15:11

Sacchi wrote:The book is valuable as a look at what life was like for working class lesbians when the general society was even less accepting than it is now. My take on her self-identity is that during one period of her life she felt that she had to be transgender just in order to be safe. I have a friend who feels that way even now.

Interesting what you say about being safe. Here is what Feinberg thinks on the subject:
There are so many societal misconceptions about butches and transsexual men. First and foremost, there is the misunderstanding that transmen are just butch lesbians who transitioned because they couldn't deal with their oppression--as though it's so much easier to be transsexual in this society!

Also, regarding your doubts Fran:

Before Stone Butch Blues, I wrote other approaches to understanding about trans oppression. I developed a slideshow on the roots of trans oppression that formed the basis for Transgender Warriors.

I wrote Stone Butch Blues as an extension of my activism and my grass-roots organizing.... I didn't think that people could be asked to understand an oppression they themselves had never experienced. So I planned to write a novel first, so that people could "see" through the eyes of someone who did experience it.

http://backup.curvemag.com/Detailed/6.html

I'm sure y'all will be able to discuss all of this during the challenge ;-).
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby Nurse Jo » 20 Nov 2010, 20:35

Thanks y'all. I am looking forward to reading the book much more now.

So, yes please Wildlx, I would be very grateful for the loan of the book :smooch:.
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby ElaineB » 21 Nov 2010, 07:50

Yes, much to discuss (I was with Fran on that topic). Now must refresh...
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby Baker » 25 Nov 2010, 07:57

(37) Six Moon Dance by Sheri Tepper

3stars

This is a book that has sat on my to-read pile for many months. I've liked other books by her, and I expected to like this one. I did and I didn't. I like her writing. She can be fabulously descriptive. She also has a wonderfully fertile mind for new ideas. Oh, yes, this is a science fiction book. Most of the book takes place on a planet called Newholme. The first half of the book is not an easy read, because it takes some effort to follow about half a dozen disperate threads that don't begin to intersect until about halway in to this 450+ page book. (Fran also found this bit hard going.)

The science fictional aspects of the Newholme biota/world were fascinating. I like the Kaorugi concept. I enjoyed the way Tepper introduced the reader to it, largely through the character of the android/bionic Questioner and as snippets that could be puzzling and tantalising. No infodumps here. If anyone wants a lesson in how to get across to the reader some incredibly complex and alien concepts without boring the reader or injecting swathes of explanation--or even tacking on a glossary--this would be a book worth studying.

Having read, for example, her novel The Gate to Women's Country, it was no surprise that gender, gender roles, and gender identities figured in this book. What surprised me was how unconvincing and weak I found this element. The society of Newholme has a gender imbalance where there are surplus men. (In case anyone reads this book, I won't spoil it by explaning how this came about.) Men must wear veils in public, so that they don't incite the lusts of women. Sound familiar in a reverse way? They have female deities--Hagions. The priestly elite are females--Hags. The births of daughters is desirable. And yet society is still patrilineal and patrilocal. Which is that families are headed by men--Family Men--who dower females who leave their own families to bear children who become part of their father's lineage, not their mother's. This marriage is seen as a purely contractual necessity, and most women have a number of children to bear written into the contract. After they've performed their obligation, they can have real sexual gratification, companionship, and pleasure with a Hunk or Consort. The latter are the more personable and attractive of the surplus males who have been trained--and sterilised--solely for the purpose of being a patroness's toy boy. There were no lesbians, by the way. (The same was true in Gate to Women's Country, if I recall.) Even the cross-dressing Ornery Bastable had no lesbo leanings.

So, a mixed bag. If anyone else has read this, I'd be interested to hear any thoughts you had.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby Baker » 05 Dec 2010, 07:35

(38) Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

3stars

Glad I read it, so that I can finally send it back to Deej. Interesting, but not terribly involving. Well-written.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Baker claws her way through some books

Postby Baker » 08 Dec 2010, 07:43

(39) Infidel by Ayaan Hirshi Ali

3+stars

This was one Jo lent us so long ago she's probably forgotten we have it. ;) Considering the harrowing nature of this autobiography of a Somalian woman who escapes her restrictive Muslim upbringing to find herself and opportunities in Holland, I'm not sure that 'enjoy' is the right word to describe my appreciation of this book. It is a good read, if a shade self-indulgent on occasion. (A stricter hand from the editor would not have been amiss.) You might know Ayaan because she's a target for radical Muslims--especially since her collaboration with Theo van Gogh on the short film Submission: Part One. That is a short film about the way the Koran and hadiths subjugate women, and in response to which some maniac murdered van Gogh--and pinned to his corpse a death threat for Hirshi Ali.

Ayaan was the eldest of three children born to Somali parents in the late 60s. She grew up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya. The influence of religion on her life was profound, and typical. She and her sister had their genitals mutilated as children. She went through complicated relationships with religion and society, before finally emerging as a dynamic and forceful woman after escaping a forced arranged marriage and gaining asylum in Holland.

Interestingly, this book affected me much more strongly than Stone Butch Blues.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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