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Female Masculinity Paperback – 25 Oct 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press (25 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822322439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822322436
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Female Masculinity is a very important work. Nothing like it exists, period. -- Esther Newton, author of Cherry Grove, Fire Island

Thank goodness for the dashing Judith Halberstam! Her new book is a smart, entertaining and informed tour of that most threatening of cultural identities: the masculine female. Oh, yum! -- Kate Bornstein, author of My Gender Workbook

About the Author

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jun 1999
Format: Paperback
A highly readable and stunning history of female masculinity in Britain and the USA, considering court cases, literature, film, pop culture and drag king performances. I learned that the most interesting masculinities are not male, and that the history of the occlusion of butchness is a crucial foundation for understanding gender construction of all kinds.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Aug 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a good introduction to the topic. Helps you think through the difference between masculinity and maleness. Wish there were more about how race and class effect masculinity.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Feb 1999
Format: Paperback
i think judith makes some good points, but she tends to lean toward male bashing instead of raising up female masculinity sometime. Overall, I enjoyed it, and learned something from myself.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun 1999
Format: Paperback
Halberstam's latest book is a rather lackluster rehashing of the latest trend in queer theory. Instead of endless pages of highly problematic ethnographic research, Halberstam would have been much better served if she had included a fem perspective in her unabashed celebration of butch subjectivity. A rather ho-hum effort from an otherwise promising young scholar. One only hopes that she can live up to the promise of her earlier book, Skin Shows.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
radical---and dashing! 24 Dec 2003
By Oli Fabulous - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I know this book takes a lot of flak, but I adore it. Halberstam rips through transhistorical definitions of lesbianism to reveal a multitude of queer 'masculinities,' from female husbands, FTMs, butches...She's been accused of fetishizing masculinity and not critiquing it at all, but I find this to be untrue. I think that, in separating so-called masculinity from maleness, she reclaims what can be striking and powerful about the genders we've labelled "masculine" and in doing so critiques the ways domination has been embedded in traditional male masculinity. This book is truly breakthrough, and I urge you to buy it, and read it, and mull it over. Amazing.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Great ideas, but something is lacking. 9 Sep 2000
By Chris R - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Halberstam's ideas around being a masculine female have helped me gain acceptance of my own masculinty. For this reason, the book was groundbreaking for me. However, it's a difficult book to find pleasure in reading because of the hyper academic language and its emotional distance from anything personal or of human interest. The books that are close to my heart about gender and that have been pleasureable to read are Persistent Desire and Stone Butch Blues because they tell a story about the human side of being a masculine female. I'm glad someone's picking apart gender in 1950's film, but it doesn't do to much for me.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Insightful analysis of female masculinity 23 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When picking up a book that does not purport to be anything other than academic, one must be prepared for the contents to be just that - academic. Halberstam writes well, her ideas are important, and she adds complexity and insight into several areas of scholarly research and debate. I would strongly recomend this to anyone interested in feminism, gender, difference and social justice.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
a stunning history of female masculinity 27 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A highly readable and stunning history of female masculinity in Britain and the USA, considering court cases, literature, film, pop culture and drag king performances. I learned that the most interesting masculinities are not male, and that the history of the occlusion of butchness is a crucial foundation for understanding gender construction of all kinds.
27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
very multicultural, just one complaint 29 Aug 2002
By Jeffery Mingo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The fact that this book was not written by a person of color in no way reduces the racial-inclusion in the book. Halberstam dedicates the book to Gayatri; perhaps having a lover of color influences her racially-diverse perspective. Then again, maybe its the influence of the ethnic studies professors at her college, UCSD. Whatever it was, it's great. Halberstam makes a point of saying how butches of color face different issues from white butches. She states from the start that works on masculinity as it affects men of color and working-class men were much more informative to her research than books on hegemonic masculinity. Halberstam even criticizes white lesbian academics like Faderman when they fail to confront racism in their academic subjects.
I only have one big problem with this book: Halberstam's discussion of the Latina character Vasquez in "Aliens" is all wrong. Halberstam implies that Vasquez is lesbian and she goes on to state that Vasquez dies first, dies tragically, and was in general not dynamic. In the film, they show Vasquez panicked over the death of a man, impliedly her lover. They very consciously render her straight. She was one of the last characters to die, not the first. Further, she died valiently (and heterosexually in the arms of a white man) by killing herself in order to kill more aliens. In such a strong book, I don't understand why Halberstam felt the need to fudge the facts.
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