Jess Zimmerman

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Jess Zimmerman is the author of Women and Other Monsters and an editor at Quirk Books. Her essays and opinion writing have appeared in the Guardian, the New Republic, Slate, Hazlitt, Catapult, and others. 


Cover Photo: A photograph of five pairs of blue jeans hung from a drying line outside a window. The wall the jeans hang against is in black and white and the jeans appear in vivid blue.
I Gave Up Pants—But Femininity Is Just As Binding

I stopped wearing pants in the name of physical comfort, with the emotionally uncomfortable result that I now present as a woman who wears dresses all the time.

Jun 06, 2022
Cover Photo: An illustration of a female student taking an exam, with a suited man behind her, his hands on her shoulders; the pair is refracted into different student-professor duos in the background
Theory of Knowledge

An example of the just-world phenomenon: If anyone found out, they would think I deserved it. When it’s the girl who gets hurt, they always do.

Jun 03, 2022
Cover Photo: Four hot dogs in toasted buns topped with mustard, ketchup, and relish
Who Is Steven Hotdog? Or, Untangling the “Braided Essay”

A personal essay of the Steven Hotdog form needs the interior experience, the exterior fact, and the meaning that connects them—in order to work its magic.

Mar 30, 2022
Cover Photo: a black and white dairy cow facing the camera, standing in a field of grass
A Cow with a Hole in It

The thing that’s so difficult about personal essays is that they’re awfully personal. There’s an answer to this conundrum, and it has to do with cows.

Jun 28, 2021
Cover Photo: An animated illustration of a woman with long hair in the middle of a field, staring at a house, as the scene shifts ever so slightly around her, as if flickering
twisty little passages

You walk to the house. The door blocks you from going farther.

Apr 09, 2021
Cover Photo: closeup photograph of three blue and two white Chanukah candles against a black background; two tapers lit, three recently extinguished with smoke trails rising
A Year Without an Ending

Is it strange, in a vortex of absence, to cherish endings? Only if loss and endings are the same.

Dec 18, 2020
Cover Photo: white marble sculpture of a bandaged, severed head (intended to be John the Baptist) resting on a plate
It Doesn’t Hurt, It Hurts All the Time

What if we thought of emotional trauma the way we do physical: as a wide class of wounds whose healing is unpredictable, whose scars take different forms?

Aug 11, 2020
Cover Photo: Carl Rahl, ‘Orestes Pursued by the Furies,’ c. 1852
Anger That Can Save the World: On Justice, Feminism, and the Furies

“Our anger exists to scourge the world, and to save it. Not everyone wants it saved.”

Aug 30, 2017
Cover Photo: image via Josu Goñi Etxabe/Wikimedia
When It Is Considered Monstrous Not to Want Children, and Monstrous to Want Them Too Much

“Most cultures have a female monster who preys on pregnant women and children. In ancient Greece, her name was Lamia.”

Jul 31, 2017
Cover Photo: image via Carole Raddato/flickr
Claim Your Complexity: The Monstrous Upheaval of the Chimera

“When you’ve spent all your life smothering your contradictions, their eruption can undo you.”

Jun 27, 2017