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Author Serano to visit NIU for talk on sexualization

Published: Thursday, March 4, 2010 9:28 a.m. CDT

California-based writer Julia Serano – who has gained national attention in transgender and feminist circles for her unique insights into gender – will visit NIU in March to deliver a public lecture on the topic of “rethinking sexualization.”

The event will be held from 7-9 p.m. March 22 in the Capitol Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Sexualization occurs when sexuality is non-consensually imposed upon a person, or when a person is reduced to their sexual body or behaviors. As a feminist, biologist and femme-identified trans-woman, Serano moves beyond an examination of the ways in which women are often sexualized by men in culture and explores less familiar forms of sexualization. At NIU, Serano will discuss why sexualization is such an effective tactic to intimidate and invalidate people and what can be done to confront and challenge sexualization.

Serano is the author of “Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity” (Seal Press, 2007), a collection of personal essays that reveal how misogyny frames popular assumptions about femininity and shapes many of the myths and misconceptions people have about transsexual women. Her other writings have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and Web sites.

Serano holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Columbia University and works as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the field of evolutionary and developmental biology. Her NIU talk is sponsored by the NIU Women’s Resource Center; Women’s Studies Program; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies Program; Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity; Campus Activities Board; and Department of Psychology.

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