Get to Know a Section: Gender & Sexuality

Article by liz

If you’ve browsed our store in the new year, you’ve probably noticed some changes to a few sections along the back row of shelves. We’ve been doing some rearranging and decluttering to make your browsing easier, and here’s one of our first new changes: our Gender & Sexuality section! Get to know this newest addition to the Brazos shelves with this look at some of its most fascinating titles.

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307952493
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - September 16th, 2014

The title makes you think about roving girl gangs, right? The truth is better: THE UNDERGROUND GIRLS OF KABUL relates investigative journalist Jenny Nordberg’s time in Afghanistan meeting and learning about bacha posh: women who are raised as boys in their families and presented as such to the world. The stories of her “characters,” as she calls them, reveal the incredible gulf in gender parity in Afghanistan--and the incredible differences in gender roles as seen by Western and Afghan communities. There’s both an incredibly emotional, personal narrative here, and a completely engrossing and provocative cultural and historical story, as well. Nordberg is a completely captivating writer, and she tells the stories of her sources and confidants with tact, grace, and a journalist’s ability to seamlessly integrate personal and political. Read it.

Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays Cover Image
ISBN: 9780814786383
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New York University Press - August 22nd, 2014

This gripping and deeply affecting examination of the lives of LGBTQ Americans in the Bible Belt will send chills down your spine--I literally shivered in sympathetic emotion as I read some of the more intense passages. No dry academic text, this: the heart of the book lives in direct quotes from Bible Belt gays and their conversations with Barton, her own experiences in digging into the Bible Belt attitudes toward homosexuality, and more. Barton, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Morehead University, relates the thoughts and experiences of Bible Belt gays, explores the context of Christian conservatism in which they live, and provides an important and necessary viewpoint of the front lines of the battle for equality in our country. Check out the chapter where she takes her class to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum for a perfect microcosm of the “Bible Belt panopticon”: it’s a wild ride.

Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution Cover Image
ISBN: 9781620406892
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - September 16th, 2014

I had to stop writing and read passages from this book out loud to Mark as I was reviewing it for this column. Laurie Penny goes no-holds-barred in her writing--it’s funny, lewd, and sharp as a switchblade. She can move from topics like body shaming to the normalization of hate speech to the damaging effects of toxic masculinity on both women and men as effortlessly as you or I would switch tabs in our browser windows, and she ties all these topics together with an incredible deftness of expression (for just one example, section heads like “What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape Culture”). Penny is unflinching in sharing her own pain and discoveries--like the stinging rejection for not being pretty enough to be the kind of girl this one drunk asshole wouldn’t kiss, or the time she spent as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl--and speaks for a new brand of feminism that refuses to apologize and refuses to accept the status quo.

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