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Female Masculinity


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A major intervention into the study of masculinity and how it relates to female--especially lesbian--identity.

Table of Contents

Illustrations; Preface 1.An introduction to female masculinity: Masculinity without men; 2. Perverse presentism: The androgyne, the tribade, the female husband and other pre-twentieth-century genders; 3. "A writer of misfits": John Radclyffe Hall the discourse of inversion; 4. Lesbian masculinity: Even stone butches get the blues; 5. Transgender butch: Butch/FTM border wars and the masculine continuum; 6. Looking butch: A rough guide to butches on film; 7. Drag kings: Masculinity and performance; 8. Raging bull (Dyke): New masculinities Notes; Bibliography; Filmography; Index

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.


Halberstam (literature, Univ. of California, San Diego; Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, Duke Univ., 1995) presents a unique offering in queer studies: a study of the masculine lesbian woman. Halberstam makes a compelling argument for a more flexible taxonomy of masculinity, including not only men, who have historically held the power in society, but also women who embody qualities that are usually associated with maleness, such as strength, authority, and independence. Fleshing out her argument by drawing on a variety of sources‘fiction, films, court documents, and diaries‘Halberstam calls for society to acknowledge masculine lesbian women and value them. A dense work that requires some knowledge of gay studies, this is recommended for academic libraries and will appeal to scholars in gay studies, gender studies, women's studies, film studies, and sociology.‘Kimberly L. Clarke, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis

"Female Masculinity is a full-on attack on the idea that masculinity is exclusively or even primarily the property of men. On the contrary, says Judith Halberstam, women have been practising their own, alternative, masculinities for at least two hundred years... Female Masculinity aims to help restore a sense of butch pride, and to validate the entitlement of women to their own masculinity. There's much to debate and disagree with in Female Masculinity ... But the book's the first full-length study in a crucial area and it's a great starting-point." DIVA "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 "Female Masculinity is a very important work. Nothing like it exists, period." Esther Newton, author of Cherry Grove, Fire Island "In this landmark study, Halberstam consolidates her position as a key theoriest within Queer scholarship. Female Masculinity is an immensely persuasive, powerfully-written text that imparts exciting and important theoretical ideas... I do not hesitate in locating this book at the forefront of contemporary gender theory."--Maria Antoniou, Feminist Theory, 1(3) 2001

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