shopping cart
nothing in cart
browse by subject
new releases
best sellers
sale books
browse by author
browse by publisher
about us
upcoming events
Jan 30th - Certificate in trauma counselling for mental health professionals: Level 2 [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
Jan 31st - American Psychoanalytic Association National Meeting [American Psychoanalytic Association]
Jan 31st - Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for health anxiety [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
Feb 1st - Trauma-informed care from a social justice and strength-based perspective [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
Feb 1st - Children’s grief and bereavement certificate program [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
schools agencies and other institutional orders (click here)
Open for browsing 9-6 Mon-Sat and 12-5 Sunday. Free shipping across Canada for orders over $150. Please read our Covid-19 statement here.
Join our mailing list! Click here to sign up.
Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings: The Emotional Costs of Everyday Life | Hardcover
Mari Ruti
Columbia University Press / Hardcover / Jun 2018
9780231186681 (ISBN-10: 0231186681)
Psychoanalysis & Literature
reg price: $42.95 our price: $ 38.66
312 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Mari Ruti combines theoretical reflection, cultural critique, feminist politics, and personal experience to analyze the prevalence of bad feelings in contemporary everyday life. Proceeding from a playful engagement with Freud’s idea of penis envy, Ruti’s autotheoretical commentary fans out to a broader consideration of neoliberal pragmatism. She focuses on the emphasis on good performance, high productivity, constant self-improvement, and relentless cheerfulness that characterizes present-day Western society. Revealing the treacherousness of our fantasies of the good life, particularly the idea that our efforts will eventually be rewarded—that things will eventually get better—Ruti demystifies the false hope that often causes us to tolerate an unbearable present.

Theoretically rigorous and lucidly written, Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings is a trenchant critique of contemporary gender relations. Refuting the idea that we live in a postfeminist world where gender inequalities have been transcended, Ruti describes how neoliberal heteropatriarchy has transformed itself in subtle and stealthy, and therefore all the more insidious, ways. Mobilizing Michel Foucault’s concept of biopolitics, Jacques Lacan’s account of desire, and Lauren Berlant’s notion of cruel optimism, she analyzes the rationalization of intimacy, the persistence of gender stereotypes, and the pornification of heterosexual culture. Ruti shines a spotlight on the depression, anxiety, frustration, and disenchantment that frequently lie beneath our society’s sugarcoated mythologies of self-fulfillment, romantic satisfaction, and professional success, speaking to all who are concerned about the emotional costs of the pressure-cooker ethos of our age.

Table of Contents:

1. The Creed of Pragmatism
2. The Rationalization of Intimacy
3. The Obsessions of Gender
4. The Reinvention of Heteropatriarchy
5. The Specificity of Desire
6. The Age of Anxiety


I returned to university as an adult to audit a course by Mari Ruti, as I have long been a fan of her writing. This book returns me to the joys of being her student, of hearing her lecture, of her lucid and lively intelligence which is grounded in lived experience and is open and probing in its analysis. I always left her classes with a renewed and expansive feeling about life and the human situation, and this book gives me the same feelings of liberty, outrage, excitement, and possibility.
— Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

Mari Ruti is a treasure—equal parts learned, generous, and wise. Whether diagnosing and naming American culture’s ‘gender obsession disorder’ or unpacking its absurd fixation on marriage, she puts the unspoken ailments of our everyday into words, and brings us that much closer to finding a cure.
— Kate Bolick, New York Times bestselling author of Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own

Mari Ruti's Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings is truly a unique book. Seamlessly weaving important concerns from recent queer and feminist theory into a quasi-autobiographical, quasi-polemical fabric, it addresses crucial issues that permeate our daily lives in the twenty-first century. Ruti's book moves from the large-scale to the intimate and back again, engaging both Western societies in general and specific instances of discomfort within their confines.
— Gail M. Newman, Williams College

Mari Ruti’s Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings brings the reader into an intimate conversation with its author, eliciting outright laughter, deep compassion, even heartbreak, and many wincing nods of oh yeah, #MeToo recognition. Fueled by a spirited appreciation of bad feelings and an affirming love of Lacan and language, Ruti deftly turns penis envy on its head into a feisty, feminist source of political agency.
— Jill Gentile, author of Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire

About the Author:

Mari Ruti is Distinguished Professor of Critical Theory and of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of ten books, including The Summons of Love (2011); The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living (2013); and The Ethics of Opting Out: Queer Theory’s Defiant Subjects (2017), all published by Columbia University Press.

Caversham Booksellers
98 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S 1G6 Canada
(click for map and directions)
All prices in $cdn
Copyright 2022

Phone toll-free (800) 361-6120
Tel (416) 944-0962 | Fax (416) 944-0963
E-mail [email protected]
Hours: 9-6 Mon-Sat / Sunday 12-5 (EST)

Click here to read previous issues.
Ruti, Mari
other lists
Canadian Authors
Columbia University Press
Psychoanalysis & Literature
Toronto authors in psychoanalysis
Toronto-Area Authors