Jean Elson

Author Photo Jean Elson

Jean Elson  (Jeany) is Senior Lecturer Emerita in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Elson has received teaching awards, including the “Vagina Warrior Award” from the V-Day Committee and the “Pink Triangle Award” from the LGBTQ Community. She taught classes and lectured on the topics of gender, family, women’s health and illness, and sexual behavior. Jean was also an appointed member of the UNH President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Jean holds a PhD in Sociology and a Master’s in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Brandeis University, where she received academic awards and fellowships, including the Graduate Grant Prize for Research in Women’s Studies and the Elizabeth Stanton Michaels Fellowship from the National American Association of University Women.

Jean Elson’s previous book, “Am I Still a Woman?” Hysterectomy and Gender Identity, received enthusiastic reviews from both the popular and academic press. She is also author of a chapter in Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause. Jean has written articles and been interviewed for a variety of newspapers and magazines and has appeared on several radio and television programs.

Jean is married to Tom Arrington and has two children, Dave and Jessica, and two grandchildren, Max and Romi.


Other Books by Jean Elson

Am I Still a Woman?

Hysterectomy and Gender Identity

"A strong addition to the literature on women's health and gender identity, Am I Still a Woman is a readable, original contribution to feminist scholarship. Impressive and fascinating, this book is fluidly written and at times hard to put down. It should enjoy a wide audience."
Alexandra Dundas Todd, Professor and Chair, Sociology Department, Suffolk University, and author of Intimate Adversaries: Cultural Conflicts Between Doctors and Women Patients

Recent scientific findings regarding the potential dangers associated with hormone replacement therapies bring renewed attention to the relationship between women's bodies and gender identity. In Am I Still A Woman? Jean Elson offers the testimony of women who have thought deeply about this issue as a result of gynecological surgery.

For the women in this book, gynecological surgery for benign conditions proved to be a crisis that prompted questions about the meanings of sexual and reproductive organs in relation to being female and feminine. Is a woman who no longer menstruates still a woman? What about a woman who can no longer bear children? Elson looks closely at the differences in responses to understand the impact of surgery and lost fertility on sexuality and partnerships as well as the steps some women take to deal with a sense of a stigmatized identity. Whether they reconceptualized their old notions of what it means to be a woman or put a new focus on making themselves attractive, they made conscious efforts to reclaim their female identity and femininity. This book provides a wealth of insight into the choices women make regarding gynecological surgery and maintaining their sense of themselves as women.