She/He/They/Me by Robyn Ryle: A Journey Through Gender

§ I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel. § 

She/He/They/Me by Robyn Ryle
"She/He/They/Me" is a non-fiction book that discovers and aims to explain what gender is in today's time and western society. Ryle chose a different way to approach this topic, instead of writing long and academic essays about each definition, you are offered a "choose your own adventure" styled book. As it is with most things in life, your story starts at birth and you can pick weither you are born into the "a time and place where gender exists" or it doesn't exists. Depending on your answer you are lead to a certain chapter where you are met with a question at the end, and so on. 

In some of the chapters the choices about your identity are quite literally taken from you: as a reader you are asked at birth which sex you are assigned depending on the length of your genital tissues. Going through the path it become apparent how many of the choices in regards of your gender identity are taken from you. 

As an egoist, I tried my own gender story first and discovered that the chapters are mostly accurate. If one overlooks the fact that I live in an European country - Austria - which can differ from another European country such as the Netherlands which was the closest I could get to mine. The experiences explained during my path seemed very familiar, and made sense. Thus, I decided that I could trust the judgement and information and when I had finished my path, I decided to try a completely different path: a gender neutral person, who had been born intersex. Then I had been a gay trans man, and so on. You can spend a lot of time "trying on" different roles and skins. 

In doing so you are giving various information, some of which might be new and some could be familiar. While I am familiar with the gender neutral identity, I know very little about being born as intersex. Thus I learned that only two (!) countries in the world forbid gender "corrective" operations on minors - Chile and Malta. 

The tone Ryle uses is non-judgmental and factual. In some cases it even struck me as positive - for example: when I had been born as intersex, the first line had been "congratulations! You are perfectly normal" which is not the reaction one would expect. 

What this book lacks is a path to go if you pick "gender neutral". In the end, you either end up at a dead end or are given the options of living as a trans person or as a cis-gendered person with different ethnic backgrounds. Despite this, you are able to pick "queer" and "asexual" as a sexual identity along your journey but you are lead back onto the "binary path" pretty quickly. 

All in all "She/He/They/Me" by Robyn Ryle provides a different read when it comes to gender roles and identity, it is insightful in some areas, and enables you to explore different roles in completely safety and with no negative influences. Furthermore, it helps to create understanding of different gender identity and roles.



She/He/They/Me by Robyn Ryle
Published2019 by Sourcebooks
Pages: 320
ISBN-13:9781492666943
Goodreads:Add to shelf


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12 comments :

  1. I would want to read this to learn something, this seems to show how to understand one's selection of identity. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. This sounds thought provoking, I am intrigued

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  3. This sounds like an interesting read!

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  4. Great reviews! Sounds interesting!

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  5. A thought provoking read. I like the way the author has approached the subject.

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    1. Yes, I really like the idea. It's something new :)

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  6. Great review I am very intrigued about this book I might see if my library carry's this book or not but hopefully they do because I really want to check it out one day. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

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    1. I really hope that your library has it! I would love to see it in one ♥

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  7. Omg, thank you for sharing this one with me. I haven’t heard of it and it looks so amazing.

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