Am I a Woman? A Skeptic's Guide to Gender by Cynthia Eller

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An accessible and provocative look at how we decide who is a woman—and why we find it important

Let’s face it: we live in a time that is highly ambivalent, if not downright schizophrenic, about what it means to be a woman. On the one hand, most women claim to be committed to sexual equality. On the other, feminism has become the new f-word, we venerate the impossible domestic vision of Martha Stewart, and the government invests our tax dollars in science aimed at discovering intrinsic biological differences between men and women.

In this smart, intimate, and conversational book, Cynthia Eller asks what it is that really makes a woman a woman. Is a woman defined by her anatomy? Does she perceive the world differently from 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 whole business of deciding who is a woman and who is not—and why—is far more complicated than it at first appears.

Cynthia Eller, an apparently textbook-case woman, is author of The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (Beacon / 6793-8 / $16.00 pb) and Living in the Lap of the Goddess (Beacon / 6507-2 / $20.00 pb). She is assistant professor of women and religion at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

“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 dry. 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, co-authors of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future

“This is the perfect book to give to your cousin, grandpa, or childhood friend who's not quite convinced about feminism, or who otherwise doesn't quite get it. Am I A Woman? is a compelling, engaging, and witty primer on gender--and its uses and misuses--that demystifies exactly what's in those boxes marked ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine.’” --Lisa Jervis, publisher, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture


About Cynthia Eller

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Cynthia Eller is the author of LIVING IN THE LAP OF THE GODDESS (Beacon Press), a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1994, and of CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
Published July 15, 2003 by Beacon Press. 146 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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