Release Date: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Two Roads
Why we are all being messed up by gender, and what we can do about it.
‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.
Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men. From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.
Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world where what’s in your head is more important than what’s between your legs.
I received a copy of this beautiful book from John Murray Press in exchange for a blog tour review. This doesn’t affect my review or opinions on this book in the slightest, kkz?
So, let’s just talk about the attractiveness of this book for one sec because I’m shallow like that. Underneath the dust jacket it is BRIGHT YELLOW and beautiful, so when you see the dust jacket cover it is pure fantastic. Seriously Juno, where did you get those mermaid leggings girl, because I want some!
Anyway, aesthetics aside now, what about the content? This book follows Juno’s life as James in childhood all the way up until her transition and what Gender means to her and what it is doing to our World. I think this book will open up some people’s minds into how Gender influences us and just how much it is thrust into our faces, especially as children. TV, film, books, nursery rhymes, music, they all instill a sense of gender ‘norms’ to us, kind of like propaganda. I totally agreed with Juno’s views on our society’s gender expectations, including boys in blue and girls in pink which is something that grates on me as a female who wears literally every colour minus pink!
However, I didn’t agree with Juno’s rant about expectant parents not wanting to know the sex of their child. There are clear definitions of sex and gender at the beginning of this book, so I don’t really see the problem with knowing the biological sex of a child as long as you agree not to push the child into gender ‘expectations’ when they’re born. As a cisgender woman who wants to have children in the future, a child is a child to me, they can be whoever they want to be and I’ll never push gender onto them. I will make them feel free to do, act, wear, say whatever they want and not feel under pressure to conform to gender. Obviously, I can’t stop the media influence unless I make the child a recluse, but I should hope that when that media influence comes into their life, I will have already instilled a sense of ‘you are who you are’, ‘you can be and do whatever you want in life’.
That was one little thing I found to disagree with, but otherwise, I found that this book brings more awareness of gender and is a rare jem that actually brings this to light. I found this book incredibly interesting and insightful. It really made it clear to me that we always have an ever-changing relationship with gender and how you feel now may change in the future.
One more thing that I totally forgot to mention above was that I am not normally a non-fiction reader but where Juno is involved I must pick up any book by her. I loved her YA fiction books including, Say Her Name and Under My Skin and Margot & Me, but also couldn’t put down her non-fiction books including This Book is Gay and Mind Your Head. This book was no exception to the Juno does all rule. Please read this book and then pass it on and on and on. The more people read this, the more people will realise how, as Juno puts it, fucked by gender we are.
Interesting, insightful and rare.