Females, by Andrea Long Chu
“Everyone is female, and everyone hates it.” So begins 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, Chu aims her searing wit and surgical intuition at targets ranging from performance art to psychoanalysis, incels to porn, and even feminists like herself. Each step of the way she defends the indefensible claim that femaleness is less a biological state of women 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 with her 2017 n+1 essay “On Liking Women,” Chu shows readers how to write for your life, baring herself with a morbid sense of humor and a mordant kind of hope.
“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
“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