Who's Afraid of Gender?

Regular price $ 30.00

by Judith Butler

Farrar, Straous, and Giroux

3/19/2024, hardcover

SKU: 9780374608224


From a global icon, a bold, essential account of how a fear of gender is fueling reactionary politics around the world.

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2024 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Los Angeles Times, ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Kirkus, Literary Hub, Autostraddle, The Millions, Electric Literature, and them.

Judith Butler, the groundbreaking thinker whose iconic book Gender Trouble redefined how we think about gender and sexuality, confronts the attacks on "gender" that have become central to right-wing movements today. Global networks have formed "anti-gender ideology movements" that are dedicated to circulating a fantasy that gender is a dangerous, perhaps diabolical, threat to families, local cultures, civilization--and even "man" himself. Inflamed by the rhetoric of public figures, this movement has sought to nullify reproductive justice, undermine protections against sexual and gender violence, and strip trans and queer people of their rights to pursue a life without fear of violence.

The aim of Who's Afraid of Gender? is not to offer a new theory of gender but to examine how "gender" has become a phantasm for emerging authoritarian regimes, fascist formations, and transexclusionary feminists. In their vital, courageous new book, Butler illuminates the concrete ways that this phantasm of "gender" collects and displaces anxieties and fears of destruction. Operating in tandem with deceptive accounts of "critical race theory" and xenophobic panics about migration, the anti-gender movement demonizes struggles for equality, fuels aggressive nationalism, and leaves millions of people vulnerable to subjugation.

An essential intervention into one of the most fraught issues of our moment, Who's Afraid of Gender? is a bold call to refuse the alliance with authoritarian movements and to make a broad coalition with all those whose struggle for equality is linked with fighting injustice. Imagining new possibilities for both freedom and solidarity, Butler offers us a hopeful work of social and political analysis that is both timely and timeless--a book whose verve and rigor only they could deliver.


"A brilliant writer and thinker, Butler . . . offers a long-needed text clarifying confusion by design . . . Their newest offering is urgent, returning breathable air into a toxic cloud . . . The result is exhilarating and life-changing." -- Booklist (starred review)

"A cogent and deeply thoughtful case against the right's attempts to limit ideas of gender to male and female, offering philosophical and historical evidence to support a fluid system in which all people might present authentically." --Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

"In their first trade-press book, Butler makes a concerted effort to keep Who's Afraid of Gender? accessible and jargon-free. It is, without question, a demanding read, but not because the author is obfuscating or showing off. Rather, the difficulty derives from the rigor of the thought itself, and the work of accompanying the movement of that thought brings its own kind of pleasure." --Dana Stevens, Slate

"Judith Butler is the most important philosopher working in the United States today, and the one whose legacy is most likely to survive the test of time. Here, in clear, precise prose, and with devastatingly analytical precision, they dismantle the global attack on 'Gender Ideology', revealing it for what it is--an attack on democracy's freedoms. "-- Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works

About the Author:

Judith Butler is the author of several books, including Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex, " The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection, Excitable Speech, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, and The Force of Non-Violence. In addition to their numerous academic honors and publications, Butler has published editorials and reviews in The Guardian, New Statesman, The Nation, Time, London Review of Books, and in a wide range of journals, newspapers, radio programs, and podcasts throughout Europe, Latin America, Central and South Asia, and South Africa. They live in Berkeley, California.