The Defiant Middle: How Women Navigate Life Between Expectations and Reality

On April 4th, we hosted Kaya Oakes, author of The Defiant Middle (2022).

Women are expected to be many things. They should be young enough, but not too young; old enough, but not too old; creative, but not crazy; passionate, but not angry. Women, in other words, are caught between social expectations and a much more complicated reality. Women who don’t fit in, whether during life transitions or because of changes in their body, mind, or gender identity, are carving out new ways of being in and remaking the world. In The Defiant Middle, Kaya Oakes draws on the wisdom of women mystics and explores how transitional eras or living in marginalized identities can result in a reinvented way of seeing the world and changing it.

This program was presented by the Georgetown University Women’s Center, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and the Gender+ Justice Initiative.

The entirety of The Defiant Middle the public lecture by Kaya Oakes


Kaya Oakes author and journalist

More information and resources on the book:
The Defiant Middle: How Women Claim Life’s In-Betweens to Remake the World