Seeing gender: An illustrated guide to identity and expression

Review by Abigail Freeland, Policy Analyst

Gottlieb, I. (2019). Chronicle Books.

Seeing Gender is a beautifully illustrated coffee table book that allows the reader to explore and deepen their understanding of gender in the modern world. The book gives readers a introductory taster of topics across the spectrum of gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and intersectionality. It is a well-synthesised book that encourages understanding and empathy for different gender experiences. 

The author takes a balanced and strengths-based approach to navigating a broad number of topics, flitting from easier concepts such as gender as a social construction and gender expression, to biological topics such as the anatomy of gender, and exploring more complex topics such as gender dysphoria. It also spotlights a range of personal stories of people and their gender identities, difficulties, and experiences. 

The book celebrates diversity, helps to break down stereotypes around gender identities, and explores the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, race, mental health, socioeconomic status, location, and age. 

The author has her own lived experience of figuring out her gender and sexuality, while liviing with mental distress and anorexia. She openly discusses her story of mental health and its intersection with gender and celebrates recovery and working through difficult experiences.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to understand more about gender in an accessible and easy-to-read book.

The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

More book reviews
Seeing gender cover
Download PDF

“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”