“Everyone is female, and everyone hates it.” This is the thesis of Andrea Long Chu’s performatively edgy, frequently hilarious chapbook, Females, which is both a work of queer theory and a satire on its excesses. It’s feminist theory fueled by contradictions within feminism—and it’s also, unintentionally, an indictment of contemporary Christianity.
To be “female,” here, is to be subjected, “to be defined by self-negation,” to scoop out your own desires and replace them with somebody else’s, desiring only to be what he desires. “I am female,” Chu writes, “And you, dear reader, are female, even—especially—if you are not a woman.”
It’s female to be catcalled. It’s female to dress seductively. But it’s at least as female to hand over your customer’s order with a smile and the corporate-mandated phrase, “My pleasure.”