Redefining Realness by Janet Mock: A Book Review

April 17, 2014

Liberation Collective

-Janet Mock, Author of Redefining Realness (former title: Fish Food)- -Janet Mock, Author of Redefining Realness-

Janet Mock is a transwoman author who has strong opinions on gender and the sex industry shared in this memoir. Mock discusses many topics, but this review will cover five: essentialism, the term “cis”, the term “fish”, hormone blockers for children, and the sex industry.

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13 Responses to “Redefining Realness by Janet Mock: A Book Review”


  1. Gallus, great to see you back!

    The Liberation Collective does an excellent job of critiquing Mock’s book.

    I still can’t believe the casual manner in which the sexist and offensive term “fish” is used. Apparently, this slang word for females has been around for so long that its use is common place among transgender identified males.

    “Mary, you feeling fish now, huh?” Wendi laughed, “we gotta get your more [estrogen], girl.” (p 135)

    When I caught up with the girls, a few were quick to call me out for ‘acting fish’. “That bitch thinks she’s too fish for us,” one of the girls said loudly enough that I could hear. (p 157)

    Heather was one of the fishiest girls on the island with a Barbie body that she stealthily flaunted at a famous strip club in Waikiki. (p 170)

    The Liberation Collective says it more eloquently than I ever could.

    “It was a common joke for me growing up to hear men talking about the “smelly tuna” or “fish tacos” of the women in their lives. Our culture finds women’s bodies to be repulsive and most of the words available to describe our anatomy are meant to degrade and shame us. The term ‘fish” is no exception; it is, in fact, hateful misogyny.”

    Why are obvious and blatant misogynistic slang words for women (our bodies smell like “fish”) acceptable?

    • WTF Is This Nonsense? Says:

      I actually saw a ‘transwoman’ criticizing vaginas on a message board, suggesting men would be happier with a trans-frankengina.

  2. Leo Says:

    Absolutely infuriating. I’m soooo done with playing nice.

    ‘Children who behave in line with their prescribed gender roles are cisgender or cissexual (throughout, I will use the prefix cis, which means “on the same side of” while trans means “across” or “on the opposite side of”), a term used for people who are not trans and more likely to identify the gender that correlates with the sex they were assigned at birth. Most cis people rarely question their gender identity because the gender binary system validates them, enabling them to operate without conflict or correction.’

    Does it not occur to Mock how much conflict and difficulty many girls have with being forced into, or unable to comply with, the feminine gender role prescribed for them? Without ‘correction’ makes me feel ill. No one should have been or be corrected for not fitting into stupidly narrow gender roles, not Mock or anyone else.

    Funny how most of them always state it’s not about gender roles, but some vaguely defined innate sense of gender identity, yet for some reason don’t seem to be lining up to criticise or correct those within their community for whom it very clearly IS about gender roles.

    The one thing I’m puzzled by, is why would children who don’t conform to gender roles be more likely to grow up to be gay or lesbian? I can’t see why there’d be any connection, I’d have thought not conforming to gender roles was pretty common for people regardless of their sexuality.

    Someone tweet the criticism to, say, Piers Morgan? ; ) The main stream media might possibly start to pay attention to this stuff…

    Glad you’re back, Gallus. Your work is so important.

    • Sage Says:

      The trans agenda’s specialty is faulty reasoning.

      Trans: “Gender conformity is so bad! But, really the only solution is to transcend..”

      Rational person: “…any gender roles!”

      Trans: “Oh no, just transcend to the other gender binary.”

      Rational person: (scratching head and twisting brain) “HUH?!”

      • AreUSayingWhatUThink Says:

        I think they call that in politics, “flip flop.” What they called John Kerry, quite effectively.

      • FabFro Says:

        Right, and then they got the nerve to want to tact on ‘Trans Feminism’, which…like…no. Just no.

        It just cancels itself out.

  3. uterusesb4duderuses Says:

    I’m furious that *being molested as a child* validated Mock’s identity as being “Treated like a girl”. Sexist garbage.

  4. Chapeau Says:

    Happy to see you back. I’m just thinking of something (I’m European). A big thing about black feminism is that black women aren’t expected to be weak : they’re expected to be super strong at doing the women’s things and not rely on external help.
    (European, US white) femininity is closer to “self-sacrifice” than weakness, since enduring pain, discomfort, broken dreams, etc. takes a lot of perseverance and giving up you life/health/safety for your kids is no small expectation. We see an inability to assume responsibility and space as a weakness (from a feminist perspective).

    So Mock’s perspective on what ‘femininity’ is neither represents black women’s, nor white women’s. It represents exactly what men think of (white) women.

  5. Lizzy Shaw Says:

    I admire the author of the book review for wading through that misogynistic trash. The idea that everyone who doesn’t claim trans status is comfortable with their “assigned gender” (read: assigned sex roles) has been refuted over and over again. Just because I’m not in denial about being female and I haven’t adopted a sparkly label like “genderqueer” or “agender” does not mean that I’m cisgender or at all comfortable with the sex roles that are imposed on women (ditto for men’s sex roles).

    I’m also beyond disgusted that Janet Mock feels that being molested as a child validated him as a girl. Right, because that’s what girls are, objects for sick adults to use. I must not really be a girl since that didn’t happen to me. This book is about a man’s definition of what a real woman is because women can never define and name ourselves.

    The whole book is hypocritical and contradictory. Slurs are bad, unless they’re misogynistic slurs. (And yeah, I do have to wonder what would happen if the GOP started calling women fish.) Mock claims that prostitution is empowering, but then he acknowledges the rampant abuse that goes on including his own abuse.

    I feel sympathy for anyone molested at as a child or abused as a prostitute, but my sympathy ends at the point when they pull this crap. Mock reminds me of victims of sexual abuse who turn to BDSM and other kink scenes to repeatedly re-create the trauma. (BTW, thanks sex pozzies for promoting the idea that rape fantasies and re-enacting abuse is a healthy way to cope. I hate you all.) Mock’s contradictory statements on the nature of being a prostitute seem to be a way to justify and regain control over what happened to him while being molested as a child was used to justify his gender identity.


  6. […] supports taxpayer funded transgender surgery for a man who nearly decapitated his wife. And Janet Mock, besides his insistence on referring to women as “fish,” he also refers to an […]

  7. WTF Is This Nonsense? Says:

    Hair. I guess many women in Africa are upset about having “the girl” cut right out of them. And then having “the girl” placed on an Apache man.

    Has everyone’s brain fallen out?

  8. Randi Brooks Says:

    Unfortunately,and incomprehensibly,puzzlingly,the great feminist Gloria Steinem tweeted in support of Janet Mock not too long ago!
    https://twitter.com/gloriasteinem

    Gloria had written a great February 1977 article in Ms.Magazine that I read decades ago in her great best selling book,Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, about how transsexuals are victims of the very sexist very gender stereotyped society we all live in,but unfortunately she wrote a 2013 article in the Advocate in support of it!

  9. Randi Brooks Says:

    Besides the all of the myths of gender that this Janet Mock and most transsexuals reinforce,she and men as S said also have insulting inaccurate myths about the vagina.

    As Pulitzer prize winning science writer Natalie Angier explained in her best selling 1999 book,Woman:An Intimate Geography she explains that gynecologist Dr.Sharon Hiller said that the vagina normally is one of the cleanest parts of the body,and has the same healthy bacteria that many people eat in yogurt called,Lactobacillus .And that the vagina is actually much cleaner than the mouth,and much much cleaner than the rectum.

    Only when women have a vaginal infection which is not a normal regular condition,is there unhealthy bacteria that can cause an unpleasant ”fishy” type smell. She also said that Dr.Sharon Hiller told her that very promiscuous women can have this type of odor. The vagina isn’t even a hole or opening,despite the way most men see it,and pornography portrays it,it’s actually the birth canal,a passage way that every baby (incomprehensibly including men) is born out of,unless your mother had a C section which most didn’t.

    And there is a very good reason why babies are conceived and born out of the vagina and not sh*tholes,and we don’t sh* t out of our vaginas. The bacteria in the sh*thole is totally contaminated with unhealthy sh*t bacteria.But men thanks mostly to pornography that reduces women to appear as nothing but openings to serve their worshipped penises,wrongly equate the vagina and the sh*thole.


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