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 afterward. Reading the cult nonfiction book about transmisogyny
— about 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 demonized by the world around us. It’s informed my feminism and my thinking ever since.