Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrate YOUR Independence with "My New Gender Workbook" - The Updated Classic That's "A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity"

My New Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein

I'm really excited about this workbook - more crowdsourced, more graphic-novel/comics style, and even more thought-provoking!  Kate sees, and explores, gender as

" of fifteen interdependent spheres of cultural regulation, collectively known as kyriarchy.  The word was coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, and we all owe her thanks for naming the point of convergence of gender, sexuality, race, looks, age, disability, class, mental health, religion, family/reproductive status, language, habitat, citizenship, political ideology and humanity.  This edition of the workbook examines gender as part of that system, and offers up suggestions on how to dismantle the whole f[-ing] mess through a politic of desire, and an activism of radical wonder and radical welcoming - all stuff I've been puzzling over for the last fifteen years."

Rather than do the regular synopsis thing, I'm going to share with you the table of contents, so you get a sense of what this work covers:

Preface to the 21st Century Edition

The first edition of this book was published fifteen years ago. This is the first and - given that I'm already sixty-five years old - the last time I'll be updating it.  Here's why I say why I did the update, and explain some new conventions in this version.

1.  Welcome to Your New Gender Workbook

This is your on-ramp to the book, darling.  You'll find out why studying gender is important for making your life more worth living.  You'll find out about me, Kate Bornstein, and why it's me who gets to tell you all this stuff about gender.  And there's also a fabulous gender aptitude quiz in here that you won't want to miss!

2.  Finding Gender.  Arrrr, There Be Pirates!

That's right, pirates!  And a treasure map.  Why?  Because gender is a buried treasure that very few people know about  and even fewer people try to dig it up.  You'll have a look at the basic components of gender, and how they play out in you.  And there are two puzzles:  one scary simple, and the other just plain scary.

3.  Let X=X

X may mark the spot on the treasure map, but X means so much more.  Getting to X is a journey through fifteen cultural spaces of regulations, of which gender is only one.  And, there's a movie break - no, really, you go watch a movie.  And there are robots!

4.  Let Why Equal Why

So... why is gender?  And just how perfectly gendered are you?  There's an in-depth exam to find that out exactly.

5.  There's Only One Gender:  Yours

This chapter is jam-packed with theory - which is another word for unproven ideas that could be big fat lies.  But if the theory in this chapter is close to correct, you're going to find out a whole lot about your unique gender and the kind of fun you can have in it.  Two big bonuses: rhyme games!!  And 101 gender outlaws name their genders in their own words.  Imagine that.

6.  Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex!

I forget what this chapter is about.  But you won't.  Not ever.

7.  Get Ready To Do Your Gender

Most everyone goes through life without paying much attention to their gender(s).  Yes, you have more than one of them.  Everyone does.  This chapter is filled with drills that will help you become comfortably aware and focused on the performance of your gender(s).

8.  Do Your Gender Mindfully

Just what the chapter title says: you get to consciously make and implement decisions about your gender.  You're going to learn about all the drag you already do in life, and there's a comprehensive look at cultural playgrounds where you can practice any new genders that strike your fancy.  There's storytelling, whips and chains, and a four-page comic you can show your friends and family when they ask you the the f[-] is up with your gender!

9.  The Missing Piece is Nothing, and We're Going To Find It Nowhere

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of paradox.  What does it mean to the dominant culture that two of its fundamental building blocks are collapsing?  Gender as man-and-woman-only and sexuality as homo-and-hetero-only are so last century, and you're going to find out why.  You're also going to read the real story of the Garden of Eden, and God's thoughts on morality.  Yep.

10.  Okay, Now What?

This is where you'll learn how to achieve world peace through sex positivity and gender anarchy.  Tra-la, how fun!

Clearly, what's next is to read - and work through - and think about "My New Gender Workbook!"  Add your review in comments!

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