Transmisogyny in Popular Culture, Feminisms, and Shakespeare Studies


  • Lisa Starks



In this article, I deal with the disparagement of femininity and trans persons in multiple levels of our culture, including in some feminist theory and Shakespearean criticism. I point out that contemporary culture, patriarchal institutions, and some feminist positions share misogynistic stances towards expressions and embodiments of femininity; and these perspectives carry over into some criticism, as well as our academic institutions and classrooms. I examine the double-standard that is often applied to feminine-gendered behavior and bodies in contemporary culture and the profession. In so doing, I address the points of tension and common ground between feminist, queer, and transgender theories in the field of Shakespeare and early modern studies. In addition, I advocate and suggest ways to implement transfeminist approaches to teaching Shakespeare within the contexts of popular culture and contemporary media.

Author Biography

Lisa Starks

Lisa S. Starks (she/her/hers) is Professor of English at University of South Florida. Her books include the monograph Violence, Trauma, and Virtus in Shakespeare’s Roman Poems and Plays: Transforming Ovid (Palgrave, 2014), the edited collection Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre (Edinburgh UP, 2020), and the co-edited collections Spectacular Shakespeare: Critical Theory and Popular Cinema (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2002), and The Reel Shakespeare: Alternative Cinema and Theory (Farleigh Dickinson UP, 2002). She is currently writing a new monograph, tentatively titled Shakespeare, Levinas, and Adaptation, under contract with Edinburgh UP.