Female Masculinity

Female Masculinity

Masculinity without men. In Female Masculinity Jack Halberstam takes aim at the protected status of male masculinity and shows that female masculinity has offered a distinct alternative to it for well over two hundred years. Providing the first full-length study on this subject, Halberstam catalogs the diversity of gender expressions among masculine women from nineteenth-century pre-lesbian practices to contemporary drag king performances.

Through detailed textual readings as well as empirical research, Halberstam uncovers a hidden history of female masculinities while arguing for a more nuanced understanding of gender categories that would incorporate rather than pathologize them. He rereads Anne Lister's diaries and Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness as foundational assertions of female masculine identity. He considers the enigma of the stone butch and the politics surrounding butch/femme roles within lesbian communities. He also explores issues of transsexuality among "transgender dykes"---lesbians who pass as men---and female-to-male transsexuals who may find the label of "lesbian" a temporary refuge. Halberstam also tackles such topics as women and boxing, butches in Hollywood and independent cinema, and the phenomenon of male impersonators.

Female Masculinity signals a new understanding of masculine behaviors and identities, and a new direction in interdisciplinary queer scholarship. Illustrated with nearly forty photographs, including portraits, film stills, and drag king performance shots, this book provides an extensive record of the wide range of female masculinities. And as Halberstam clearly demonstrates, female masculinity is not some bad imitation of virility, but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders.

Title:Female Masculinity
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780822322436
Format Type:

    Female Masculinity Reviews

  • Emma Sea

    Wow, fifteen years old. In many ways it’s kind of depressing that, in general, our culture hasn’t moved beyond a gender binary.I always had three main peeves with Halberstam. One is zir insistence...

  • Stef Rozitis

    This book at times irritated me, but often interested me. I learned a new word "tribadism" (google it but not in a public place like I made the mistake of doing). Many of the observations are true, an...

  • Scott Moore

    Halberstam makes some generalizations about the slippage between butch dyke and FTM identity that come off as troubling (even though her blurring of butch/transman resonated strongly for me personally...

  • Max

    Halberstam’s inclusion of loving, wishful interpretation of often lesbian-free (at best; lesbian-hating at worst) media encourages us to settle for scraps made by others instead of creating what we ...

  • Sara Jaye

    Groundreaking, awesome, and unfortunately, subtly (and on occasion not-so-subtly) less than glowing about femmes! Get with it, people: you CAN glorify one identity without putting others down....

  • Aryeh

    I've taken months to read this one, and taken the time to watch a number of the movies and read a few of the other books Halberstam references. This book is equivalent to a graduate/PhD level semester...

  • Carrie

    I think that part of the reason that I didn't love this book as much as I had hoped is because it's a bit outdated. It was published in 1998, and certainly the queer and gender equality movements have...

  • Yoel

    Basically, "Where's my phallus?" Butch, please....

  • Mary Rose

    Like most theorists, Halberstam sometimes comes across like a person who has never interacted with other humans. This book regularly falls back on using the passive voice (for example, that 'butchness...

  • Angela

    To anyone in technical or hard science fields, "social science" is a contradiction at best, and sociology and queer studies are social science's less rigorous younger siblings. At one point near the b...