Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars How gender transcends categoric definition!, Nov. 16 1999
This review is from: Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (Paperback)
I had the opportunity to read this manuscript before it was published, while taking a class with Prof. Kulick. My criticisms of it then still stand now...though I have in many ways only deepened my respect for the finer points of this work. I thoroughly applaud the way that Kulick attempts to make clear the way in which the travesti gender identity is a complexity of biological definition, social categorization, and personal identification. Certainly, the way in which Kulick has encouraged his subjects to share their understanding of gender and sexuality SO openly may help all gender theorists and anthropologists better take to task gender issues like these. As criticism, the book simply does not contextualize the travesti experience. Kulick mentions little and/or nothing about the outside understandings of travesti identity...or the ways in which the broader categories of Brazilian sexual identity might encourage the development of a travesti individual. As well, Kulick is almost TOO involved with his sources. I am certainly NOT preaching anthropological objectivity here (an impossible task) but felt that about 60% of the dialogue in the book was about Kulick's personal desire to "share" in the travesti experience and/or to be identified as an "insider," something which we could have figured out from a decisive, close-knit, introspection of the travesti culture.
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