An exploration of gender and desire from our most exciting new public intellectual
“Everyone is female, and everyone hates it.”
Females is Andrea Long Chu’s genre-defying investigation into sex and lies, desperate artists and reckless politics, the smothering embrace of gender and the punishing force of desire.
Drawing inspiration from a forgotten play by Valerie Solanas—the woman who wrote the SCUM Manifesto and shot Andy Warhol—Chu aims her searing wit and surgical intuition at targets ranging from performance art to psychoanalysis, incels to porn. She even has a few barbs reserved for feminists like herself. Each step of the way, she defends the indefensible claim that femaleness is less a biological state and more a fatal existential condition that afflicts the entire human race— men, women, and everyone else. Or maybe she’s just projecting.
A thrilling new voice who has been credited with launching the “second wave” of trans studies, Chu shows readers how to write for your life, baring her innermost self with a morbid sense of humor and a mordant kind of hope.
About the Author
Andrea Long Chu is an essayist and critic. Her writing has appeared in n+1, the Boston Review, Bookforum, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the New York Times. Her work has been translated into several languages. She lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and their cat.
Featured in The New York Times.
“One of the most exciting critics working today.” —Lila Shapiro, New York Magazine
“[A] sweeping provocation, what fascinates is where it leads … the flash of insight produced by a well-thrown-knife.” —Julian Lucas, Harper’s
“Andrea Long Chu is one of the disrupters.” —Stephanie Burt, Atlantic Monthly
“A thrilling provocation, a funny and surprisingly tender memoir, a bold move, a dare. She’s our most reliable trickster, and this is the book everyone will be talking about.” —Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
“Females marks nothing short of a historic cataclysm in public discourse about gender and sexuality. In the grand tradition of the philosophes, Females is crucial not only because of what it is, but for the world of conversations it makes possible. When we talk about transness, when we talk about feminism, when we talk about experimental memoir and the thrilling, unexpected rebirth of the Künstlerroman, there will be a before and after Females.” —Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
“Desire deserves a description. So does the gender self-loathing of the ‘female’ who is, it turns out, ‘all of us.’ With these theses, Andrea Long Chu inspires thrilled and dark passions because she has them and because she believes in smart and smarting arguments for them. The sentences are alive and veer toward surprise but also toward a tender wish for an easier conventional life for gender.” —Lauren Berlant, author of The Female Complaint
“Chu is a deft critic, adept at sliding across broad swaths of history and material, at conjuring the pithy poke or relatable read.” —Eric Newman, Lit Hub
“A lucid meditation on desire as the force shaping our identities, the paradoxes of liberation politics, and her own gender transition.” —Johanna Fateman, Bookforum
“[A] brief and blazing treatise.” —Thora Siemsen, Nation
“Beneath the veneer of Females’ provocation, those indefensible ideas, it is a surprisingly tender book that aims to tend to a universal ache: the frayed knot of selfhood, desire and power through which, Chu argues, we might try to see ourselves and each other more clearly.” —Marissa Lorusso, NPR
“Reading Andrea Long Chu feels a bit like being on the fault line of an earthquake—the ground is undeniably shifting.” —Callie Hitchcock, New Republic
“Astonishing.” —Bryony White, Frieze
“One of Chu’s most ambitious and significant pursuits to date … It’s always smart, sometimes sincere, and unpredictable about when it will pinch your arm or clutch its nails around your heart.” —Maggie Lang, Vice
“Among our most original thinkers on gender.” —The Week