This Will Be My Undoing
Morgan Jerkins, signed by author
One of the sharpest, fiercest, and most eloquent critics writing right now, Morgan Jerkins’s byline has appeared around the Internet for The New Yorker’s Page-Turner, Vogue, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Buzzfeed, and more; in this highly anticipated collection of linked essays perfect for fans of ‘Bad Feminist’, Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Men Explain Things to Me’, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s ‘We Should All Be Feminists’, Jerkins interweaves the incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism that she’s known for with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today. “Growing up as a black woman is different. It prepares you to remember that you have to navigate two worlds. In this predominantly white, male-dominated world, you will never be white or male. Within the black community, belonging to the world of black women demands strength, wit, and aggression, because space for and by ourselves is small. You either assert yourself or learn to do so through humiliation, a constant shedding of respectability necessary to expose who you really are: just another black girl fighting to exist.” Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”-to live as, to exist as-a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for all Americans. Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country’s larger discussion about inequality. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well the white, male-dominated world at large. Whether she’s writing about Sailor Moon; Rachel Dolezal; the stigma of therapy; her complex relationship with her own physical body; the pain of dating when men say they don’t “see color”; being a black visitor in Russia; the specter of “the fast-tailed girl” and the paradox of black female sexuality; or disabled black women in the context of the “Black Girl Magic” movement, Jerkins is concise, compelling, and often revelatory.