Female Masculinity by Judith HalberstamFemale Masculinity by Judith Halberstam

Female Masculinity

byJudith Halberstam

Paperback | November 28, 1998

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Masculinity without men. In "Female Masculinity" Judith 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. She rereads Anne Lister's diaries and Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" as foundational assertions of female masculine identity. She considers the enigma of the stone butch and the politics surrounding butch/femme roles within lesbian communities. She 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 ofvirility, but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders.
Title:Female MasculinityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:329 pages, 9.4 × 6.04 × 0.94 inPublished:November 28, 1998Publisher:Duke University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0822322439

ISBN - 13:9780822322436

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From Our Editors

Judith Halberstam takes aim at the protected status of male masculinity and shows that female masculinity has offered a distinct alternative to it for more than two centuries. Through detailed readings as well as empirical research, Female Masculinity uncovers a hidden history of female masculinities while arguing for a more nuanced understanding of gender categories that would incorporate rather than pathologize them. With nearly 40 photographs, including portraits, film stills and drag king performance shots, Female Masculinity signals a new understanding of masculine behaviours and identities.

Editorial Reviews

"Judith Halberstam's "Female Masculinity" is truly a pioneering document which disrupts eras of silence surrounding this topic. . . . [S]he crafts her language in a very inviting and accessible manner. She is clearly trying to be understood, which is a refreshing change from too many academic works. In addition, she infuses humor and little personal preferences or irritations (mostly through colorful adjective choices) into the middle of serious analysis, which makes the whole academic process more interesting and less elusive. . . . Whether you agree or disagree with her choices, the ideas are definitely stimulating. It is a book you'll want to sit down with your friends and talk about. You find yourself overjoyed at one moment that someone has finally written down exactly what you've felt but haven't been able to articulate, and in the next moment irritated because you think she's mistaken. It is essentially an opening to the major taboo of masculinity in women . . . . [T]he genuine enthusiasm she brings to her research is catchy and this book could very well be the catalyst for expanding a whole field of thought. And, on a personal level, it simply affirms our lives and ideas." --"Gay and Lesbian Times" (San Diego)