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What a woman is, and who decides, in 'Girlhood' by Melissa Febos

It's almost like we're two different people before and after puberty. It's not only fascinating to us, but certainly noticed by the rest of the world. Just ask any woman... the expectations of who they are becoming and what that means are huge.

The essayist Melissa Febos realized she had allowed others to define what being female means, and was perfectly capable of coming up with her own definition. She unfolds the story in a book of essays called simply Girlhood.

The book is a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner and a bestseller, now out in paperback. The author talks over the subject matter in a visit to the JX.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.