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  • Catalogues

Women and Other Monsters
Building a New Mythology
By (author): Jess Zimmerman
9780807054932 Hardcover English General Trade SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory Mar 09, 2021
$34.95 CAD
Active 6.2 x 9.3 x 0.9 in | 1.02 lb 224 pages Beacon Press
A fresh cultural analysis of female monsters from Greek mythology, and an invitation for all women to reclaim these stories as inspiration for a more wild, more “monstrous” version of feminism

The folklore that has shaped our dominant culture teems with frightening female creatures. In our language, in our stories (many written by men), we underline the idea that women who step out of bounds—who are angry or greedy or ambitious, who are overtly sexual or not sexy enough—aren’t just outside the norm. They’re unnatural. Monstrous. But maybe, the traits we’ve been told make us dangerous and undesirable are actually our greatest strengths.

Through fresh analysis of 11 female monsters, including Medusa, the Harpies, the Furies, and the Sphinx, Jess Zimmerman takes us on an illuminating feminist journey through mythology. She guides women (and others) to reexamine their relationships with traits like hunger, anger, ugliness, and ambition, teaching readers to embrace a new image of the female hero: one that looks a lot like a monster, with the agency and power to match.

Often, women try to avoid the feeling of monstrousness, of being grotesquely alien, by tamping down those qualities that we’re told fall outside the bounds of natural femininity. But monsters also get to do what other female characters—damsels, love interests, and even most heroines—do not. Monsters get to be complete, unrestrained, and larger than life. Today, women are becoming increasingly aware of the ways rules and socially constructed expectations have diminished us. After seeing where compliance gets us—harassed, shut out, and ruled by predators—women have never been more ready to become repellent, fearsome, and ravenous.

Jess Zimmerman’s last book, Basic Witches (Quirk Books/PRHPS, 2017, co-authored with Jaya Saxena), sold more than 37,000 copies in hard cover.

For Readers of books like Circe by Madeline Miller, and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Each chapter analyzes a female monster from Greek Mythology—Medusa, the Sphinx, Chimera, Charybdis, Scylla, the Hydra, Echidna, Lamia, the Harpies, the Furies, and the Sirens.

Takes advantage of the current interest in feminist cultural studies books. This book taps into a cultural trend of retellings of ancient mythologies, and Zimmerman gives fresh perspective on what these old stories mean for us today

Roxane Gay praised her: “Jess Zimmerman is risking it all so that the rest of us can see the map and the shape of the world and travel through it with a little more confidence, even change it for the better.”

Explores eleven different “unacceptable” female traits, with a different monstrous role model for each

Many books encourage women to embrace “undesirable” traits, but Zimmerman leverages images we’re familiar with from art and literature, and turns them into emblems—not just telling women to accept themselves, in other words, but giving them banners to hoist and follow.

Jess Zimmerman is the editor in chief of Electric Literature. Her essays, fiction, opinion pieces, and prose poetry have appeared in publications including Vice, Slate, The Cut, the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the New Republic. She lives in Brooklyn. Connect with her @j_zimms.

Author Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Author Hometown: Washington, DC

Marketing: Pre-Order Campaign: incentives to push preorders and build excitement

Promotion in the Trade: including advertising and promotion to booksellers

Reader Buzz Campaign: social media giveaways to build reader buzz

Academic outreach: Women’s Studies, Gender/Sexuality, Literary Studies, Creative Writing. Promotion at Conferences including NWSA, Berks, MLA, American Sociological Association

Library Promotion: promoting the title at conferences and outreach directly to librarians

Online Promotion: targeting literary feminists, promotion around themed months like Women’s History Month, taking advantage of author’s social media following to join the conversations

Advertising: print and online advertising targeting audiences interested in feminism, literature, activism



Publicity: Reviews in major literary and culture magazines, print and online

Coverage in women’s interest and feminist outlets

Outreach to writers focused on gender, sexuality, and identity

Interviews with major national and regional NPR programs



Author Website: www.jesszimmerman.com/

Author Social Media: twitter.com/j_zimms

“A graceful stylist who casts a wide literary and geographical net, Zimmerman can make nearly anything interesting…. Nearly every page, however, brings fresh insights into age-old myths or tragicomic observations on 21st-century womanhood…. A sparkling and perceptive critique of ancient ideas that still hold women back.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“A fresh look at female-coded monsters from mythology offers insight about embracing characteristics that people fear.”
Shelf Awareness

“An engaging parsing that addresses the ways that sexism and misogyny constrain women, a provocative weaving of the personal and the political.”
The Progressive

“Many readers will feel the truth of this book in their bones as Zimmerman dissects the mythologies that still constrain women.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Every one of these essays is muscular and dangerous, with a mouth full of teeth. Women and Other Monsters is sure to become a feminist classic.”
—Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House

“A thoughtful and deeply personal set of meditations on two subjects dear to my heart. Though as I read this, I couldn’t help but feel that it had been written for me personally, I suspect that it was written for you too.”
—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

Women and Other Monsters reconsiders and spins anew myths that have long instructed and inspired us, detailing modern and longstanding terrors women face while illuminating the monstrous powers we may yet reclaim. I started to make a list of people I wanted to give this book to, then realized the answer was just ‘everyone I know.’ Jess Zimmerman’s writing is always a gift, and this is a work of epic bravery and beauty, brimming with insights that slice to the bone.”
—Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know

“Jess Zimmerman’s writing is always intimate and fierce, piercing and warm. I loved Women and Other Monsters—I ate it up, and it felt a little like it devoured me right back.”
—Scaachi Koul, author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

“We are so long overdue for new mythologies about women and power. Jess Zimmerman’s book is a pitch-perfect antidote to the sexist hash of our traditional stories.”
—Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her

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