There’s a tweet doing the rounds
at the moment about the experience of loving a book but not remembering a single thing about it. As relatable content goes, it was absolutely on the money for me. I can confidently declare that I loved reading something and have no recollection of the plot or anyone’s names. It happens with nonfiction, too – I won’t be able to recall most details or even broad strokes about something I enjoyed. But that’s with a few notable exceptions. I know how I understood the world before reading Julia Serano’s
first nonfiction book, Whipping Girl
, in 2014 and I distinctly remember feeling like I saw and understood it better afterwards. Reading the cult nonfiction book about transmisogyny
, the ways that gender, gender expression and sex are intertwined but not bound to each other, and the scapegoating of femininity
felt like scales falling from my eyes. Before Instagram-friendly slideshows and viral TikToks it showed me how the experiences of cis women and trans women intersect
, how our understanding of gender is influenced and why femininity is demonised by the world around us. It’s informed my feminism and my thinking ever since.