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Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars: The Politics of Sex by Dr Finn Mackay

Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars: The Politics of Sex by Dr Finn Mackay


Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars provides important theoretical background and context to the ‘gender wars’ or ‘TERF wars’ – the fracture at the forefront of the LGBTQ international conversation. Using queer and female masculinities as a lens, Finn Mackay investigates the current generational shift that is refusing the previous assumed fixity of sex, gender and sexual identity.


Transgender and trans rights movements are currently experiencing political backlash from within certain lesbian and lesbian feminist groups, resulting in a situation in which these two minority communities are frequently pitted against one another or perceived as diametrically opposed. Uniquely, Finn Mackay approaches this debate through the context of female masculinity, butch and transmasculine lesbian masculinities.


There has been increasing interest in the study of masculinity, influenced by a popular discourse around so-called ‘toxic masculinity’, the rise of men’s rights activism and theory and critical work on Trump’s America and the MeToo movement. An increasingly important topic in political science and sociological academia, this book aims to break new ground in the discussion of the politics of gender and identity.




"By turns witty and deeply serious, Finn Mackay has managed to find a way through and even around the messy gender wars currently raging on and offline. With calm precision and clear rhetoric, Mackay lays out the nuts and bolts of sex, gender, gender transition, sexual orientation, hormones, masculinity, femininity and much, much more. Whether you are a seasoned gender warrior or an armchair observer of the debates swirling around these topics today, you will find answers to your questions and concerns here. More than that, you will hear from trans, butch and gender-questioning people who, far from being examples in an argument between feminists or doctors, are living with contradiction, surviving for the most part, and, often, modeling new ways of being in the world." - Jack Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity (1998) and Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (2018)


"This book confronts, explains, explores, deconstructs and then quite beautifully and reasonably creates space, safe space, ordered space for discussion and a far greater depth of understanding. I kept thinking throughout the book that the little kid in the baseball cap has grown up to become brilliant, brave and generous. A vital spacious text." - Juno Roche, Writer


"While most people will experience my work and my being as a far left leaning enterprise in actual fact I am more interested in 'the middle ground', 'the grey areas', what I call the space of 'queer liminality'. The first thing that strikes me, (like an ever so gentle slap in the face), about Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars, Finn Mackay's latest public intervention, is how very similar we are, despite having a vastly different personal narrative and social circle. Finn draws upon lived experience as a female bodied person with a presentation that causes others to make assumptions about both her sex and gender identity. Finn is a questioner who eschews the comfort of binary thinking in favour of a more nuanced approach. I would even go as far to say that Finn embodies 'true genius' in their ability to recognize how two or more seemingly oppositional ideas can be true at the same time." - Del LaGrace Volcano, Artist and Activist


"Nodding along furiously and getting all sorts of feels about how none of this has been understood very much, on butch masculinity. What Finn writes is so in sync with my childhood perception of the butch women around me, those perceptions are my compass for truth because, well, I was a child, and had zero consciousness of any issue about anyone being who they are. Finn's writing nails it so well I think, it's kind of revelatory. All too often I read stuff in LGBTQI+ arenas, or feminism, and can't see it chiming at all with those women back then. Which is not necessarily a failing or criticism, just what I think. Everyone would have been passing this writing around at The Gateways though; I'm really sure of that." - Gina Ware, daughter of Gina and Ted Ware, owners of The Gateways Club; artist, designer, and film maker


Finn Mackay is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England and completed a PhD in the Centre for Gender & Violence Research at the University of Bristol. A longstanding feminist activist, Finn founded the London Feminist Network in 2004; and is a frequent media commentator on feminist and LGBTQI+ topics

  • Details

    Imprint: I.B. Tauris

    Publication Date: 21 October 2021

    ISBN: 9780755606634

    Format: Paperback

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Germany and Republic of Ireland: Due to a high return rate of parcels, we are sadly no longer shipping to Germany and the Republic of Ireland. 

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