Self-made men: identity and embodiment among transsexual men
In Self-Made Men, Henry Rubin explores the production of male identities in the lives of twenty-two FTM transsexuals--people who have changed their sex from female to male. The author relates the compelling personal narratives of his subjects to the historical emergence of FTM as an identity category. In the interviews that form the heart of the book, the FTMs speak about their struggles to define themselves and their diverse experiences, from the pressures of gender conformity in adolescence to being mistaken for "butch lesbians," from hormone treatments and surgeries to relationships with families, partners, and acquaintances. Their stories of feeling betrayed by their bodies and of undergoing a "second puberty" are vivid and thought-provoking. Throughout the interviews, the subjects' claims to having "core male identities" are remarkably consistent and thus challenge anti-essentialist assumptions in current theories of gender, embodiment, and identity. Rubin uses two key methods to analyze and interpret his findings. Adapting Foucault's notions of genealogy, he highlights the social construction of gender categories and identities. His account of the history of endocrinology and medical technologies for transforming bodies demonstrates that the "family resemblance" between transsexuals and intersexuals was a necessary postulate for medical intervention into the lives of the emerging FTMs. The book also explores the historical emergence of the category of FTM transsexual as distinguished from the category of lesbian woman and the resultant "border disputes" over identity between the two groups. Rubin complements this approach with phenomenological concepts that stress the importance of lived experience and the individual's capacity for knowledge and action. An important contribution to several fields, including sociology of the body, gender and masculinity, human development, and the history of science, Self-Made Mewill be of interest to anyone who has seriously pondered what it means to be a man and how men become men.
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The Logic of Treatment
Lesbian and Transsexual Identity 97
Betrayed by Bodies 141
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adolescence anosognosia authenticity become behavior belief body dysphoria body image body modification boys Brandon Teena breasts butch and femme chapter claims consolidation core identity cultural desire Dillon disidentifying dykes embodiment ence endocrinology estrogen experience feel felt female bodies female homosexuals female-to-male transsexuals feminine feminism feminist FTM identity FTM transsexuals FTMs without lesbian gay FTMs gender identity gender inversion gender roles genealogy girls guys hegemonic hermaphroditic heterosexual homosexual identify individuals intersexuals interviews inverts Jake Lavender Menace lesbian careers lesbian identity lesbian-feminist lives logic of treatment male bodies male identities male-identified masculinity MTFs nascent FTMs non-transsexual normative numbers old gay organotherapy penis phalloplasty Phenomenology physical psychologists puberty relationship sense sex change sex drive sexed bodies sexual object choice significant social stereotypical straight FTMs surgeries testosterone thing tion tomboy trans transition choices transsexual identity transsexual trajectory Voronoff woman woman-identified women