Verdict: Hilarious, heartwarming, wonderful.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Published by Two Roads, July 2017
Genre: Memoir, Audiobook
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.
In short: I loved every second of this. I adored the warmth, the humour, the pop culture reference, and how very very positive this was. I listened to the book as read by the author and I can only recommend this. Juno Dawson brings an absolute wonderful joy to this memoir that I just really needed.
Compared to other memoirs I read in my month of reading mostly memoirs, this was lighthearted and fun. This does not mean that Juno Dawson does not have a lot to say, which she does, brilliantly so. She just refuses to use a narrative of sadness for her own journey and I am glad. Coming out stories are not always awful and that gives me hope.
I agree with a lot of Juno Dawson’s thoughts on gender – and that felt nice because I am often the most radical in my social circle. I wasn’t at university (not by a long shot) but back in my small town and with in-laws who are very much of the opinion that boys and girls are fundamentally different and that girls should always wear pink (I am exaggerating, of course, but only a little) I do sometimes feel a bit weird. So listening to somebody who so very eloquently has similar thoughts was absolutely lovely.
I am around the same age as Juno Dawson and as such really appreciated a lot of her pop culture references a whole lot; I mean I was always going to love a book that references Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I just had so much fun listening to this. Please do check this one out if you haven’t already.