Female Masculinity

Front Cover
Duke University Press, 1998 - Social Science - 329 pages
35 Reviews
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 of virility, but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders.


  

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Review: Female Masculinity

User Review  - Sassafras Lowrey - Goodreads

Accessible theory that explores the variations of butchness and other women assigned folks who embody masculinity Read full review

Review: Female Masculinity

User Review  - Kristen Ridley - Goodreads

I love this book. It's slightly outdated at this point, as a lot has happened in the queer world since it came out, but it remains the only serious (and accessible) work devoted to the topic of female ... Read full review

Contents

Masculinity
1
The Androgyne the Tribade the Female
45
John Radclyffe Hall and the Discourse
75
Even Stone Butches Get the Blues 11 1
141
A Rough Guide to Butches on Film
175
Masculinity and Performance
231
New Masculinities
267
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Judith Halberstam is Professor of Literature at the University of California in San Diego. She is the author of Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, also published by Duke University Press, and writes a regular film review column for Girlfriends magazine.

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