Synopses & Reviews
Breaking the last feminist taboo — once and for all.
Even as toweringly successful women from Gloria Steinem to Beyoncé embrace the word "feminism," the word "ambition," for many, remains loaded with ambivalence. Women who are naturally driven and goal-oriented shy away from it. They’re loath to see themselves — or be seen by others — as aggressive or, worst of all, as a bitch. Double Bind could not come at a more urgent time, a necessary collection that explodes this conflict, examining the concept of female ambition from every angle in essays full of insight, wisdom, humor, and rage.
Perceptively identifying a paradox at the very heart of feminism, editor Robin Romm has marshaled a stunning constellation of thinkers to examine their relationships with ambition with candor, intimacy, and wit. Roxane Gay discusses how race informs and feeds her ambition. Theresa Rebeck takes on Hollywood and confronts her own unquenchable thirst to overcome its sexism. Francine Prose considers the origins of the stigma; Nadia Manzoor discusses its cultural weight. Women who work in fields long-dominated by men — from butchery to tech to dogsledding — weigh in on what it takes to crack that ever-present glass ceiling, and the sometimes unexpected costs of shattering it. The eternally complex questions of aspiration and identity can be made even more treacherous at the dawn of motherhood; Allison Barrett Carter attempts leaning in at home, while Sarah Ruhl tries to uphold her feminist vision within motherhood’s infinite daily compromises.
Taken together, these essays show women from a range of backgrounds and at all stages of their lives and careers grappling with aspiration, failure, achievement, guilt, and, yes, success. Forthright and empowering, Double Bind breaks a long silence, reclaiming "ambition" from the roster of dirty words at last.
"Illuminating.... While not an advice book in the traditional form, the experiences recounted and lessons learned seep as if by osmosis, and Romm’s thoughtful aggregation has provided a diversity of voices." Publishers Weekly
"Daring, wonderfully readable, and packed with truth. Double Bind is a work of courage and ferocious honesty. A book to inspire us now and the generations of ambitious women to come." Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir and Crescent
"Wonderful, readable stories that are as complex and compelling as their authors. Double Bind raises as many questions as it provides answers, but they are questions that women and men with wives, sisters, and daughters should be pondering." Anne Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
"In essays that are bold, absorbing, insightful, and wise, the writers in Double Bind explore the complicated realities of what it means to be an ambitious woman today. I was enthralled by this important book, and moved too. I want to press it into the hands of everyone I know and say, Read it: the truth is inside." Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things
About the Author
Robin Romm is the author of The Mother Garden and The Mercy Papers. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, O, The Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere. She teaches at Warren Wilson College and lives in Portland, Oregon.