In this smart, intimate, and conversational book, Cynthia Eller delves into the twin thickets of gender theory and everyday experience to ask how we decide who is a woman-and why we find the answer important. Is a woman defined by her anatomy? Does she perceive the world differently than men? Is it her behavior that somehow marks her as inescapably female? Or is it a matter of how others evaluate her? Eller’s answers demonstrate that the question is far more complicated, and its effects more pernicious, than it might at first appear.
“A conversational, thinking-out-loud challenge to the value of sorting all human beings by a two-gender system.” —Gail Schmoller Philbin, Chicago Tribune
“Reading Cynthia Eller’s book is like having a spirited late-night talk with a close friend . . . The intensely personal nature of this inquiry for Eller means that she is learning as much as telling, and material drawn from her own life-musings on the social discomfort of armpit hair, stories of her friend who is known as the GWB (guy with breasts) simply because of her lack of overt emotionalism-shines.” —Elle.com
“Cynthia Eller writes with brilliance and humor, and her book enables us to look at womanhood-among other things-with new eyes. As I read this delightful and subversive book, I often felt the ground shifting beneath me. Am I a Woman? contains equal measures of fine scholarship and common sense. One of the best books on gender-or anything-written this year.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders
“According to Eller . . . sex is ‘inextricably mixed up-at least for now-with sexism.’ If feminists embrace her radical understanding of gender, Eller hopes to instigate a redirection of our unequal society.” —Fran Willing, Bust
“Canny and witty.”
-Michelle Burford, O Magazine
“In this breezy, funny treatise, Eller draws from her own ‘normal’ life to demonstrate the myriad mundane ways in which gender is not cut and dried. Behind this provocative inquiry is her hope to bridge the gap between women who call themselves feminists and the ones who (believe in dignity, independence, and equality, but . . .) don’t.” —Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, coauthors of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future