Reads for the Road

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies Review

Title: Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies
Author: Scarlett Curtis

Blurb

A collection of writing from extraordinary women, from Hollywood actresses to teenage activists, each telling the story of their personal relationship with feminism, this book explores what it means to be a woman from every point of view.

Often funny, sometimes surprising, and always inspiring, this book aims to bridge the gap between the feminist hashtag and the scholarly text by giving women the space to explain how they actually feel about feminism.

Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN’s women’s foundation, royalties will benefit the charity.

A perfect read for…

Those trips where you aren’t in one place for too long, I’m picturing the cities breaks where you spend most of the trip walking from one tourist site (or bar) to another. On these trips you typically aren’t afforded the luxury of sitting down with a book for an extended period of time.

Some holidays you can find a lounger in the sun and burn HOURS reading through a good book. Other holidays you’re barely in one place long enough to pick up a book – these are the kind of trips that I would recommend taking this book along for!

The book is comprised of short essays by 52 women, each essay focuses on what feminism means to them or how they interpret the F word. Due to it being a compilation of essays it’s perfect for picking up, reading an essay, and then putting it away until you get another chance to read – you don’t have to worry about losing your place, or forgetting the plot, it was literally made to be consumed it bite sized pieces.

Who would I recommend this book for…

With international women’s day having just passed this weekend, I was prompted to write about this book even though I actually read it over 6 months ago.

The short answer to this questions would be everyone. I’m extremely passionate about the fact that I think feminism is for everyone (something Shaun has become acutely aware of over the years). So plain and simply I think everyone should read this book or books on this topic, there are still many misconceptions about what feminism is and what it means to be a feminist and it’s only by sharing information on this topic that we can begin to break down these barriers.

However, I feel like saying ‘everyone’ should read this book is cheating slightly, so I will try and be a little more specific!

This book is a really great introduction to feminist ideas and feminist literature. Feminist literature can be quite intensive and academic, which means it’s not exactly what somebody new to the topic, or not particularly interested feminism is going to naturally be drawn towards. With that in mind, I think this book is a fantastic gateway into the subject, it’s accessible, non-preachy, funny and digestible.

So it goes without saying that people with an interest in feminism will naturally gravitate to this book. So it would feel a waste of a recommendation to implore these people to read the book. Instead, I would recommend this book for those who are on the fence, who haven’t read a book of this subject matter before, or just want to ease themselves in to understanding what ‘feminism’ is.

My thoughts…

I feel like this book has a lot of personal meaning attached to it for me. Firstly, because it was an unexpected gift from Shaun. I made a passing comment one day that I had been really excited to read this book and without any further discussion I came home two days later to find it sitting on the bed, it felt like a silent gesture of support which meant a lot to me.

Secondly, I was able to share this book with my younger sisters and it was particularly memorable to be able to give it to my youngest sister who was 14 and hear her thoughts and opinions on the book.

As I mentioned the book is comprised of short essays by 52 women on what feminism means to them, I think the fact that the book was structured in this was the key reason as to why I found this book so amazing, here’s why:

Firstly, amongst all the confusion in society about what it means to be a feminist, there is also a degree of dictatorship on what it does or does not mean to be a feminist or indeed a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feminist. The irony of framing feminism in this way is clearly highlighted in the title of the book.

That’s why I think it’s fantastic that the book shares a range of women’s subjective interpretation of what feminism is, in their own words – demonstrating that all of them are personal and all of them valid! Which I think is a really powerful way of tackling this concept that there is a good and bad way to ‘do feminism’.

Secondly, for many people feminism can feel like quite a heavy subject and in truth it it is a heavy subject, it’s deeply important and impacts every bodies day to day life. However, having said that, like most things there is light and shade and in this book amongst the all of the extremely thought provoking essays are scatterings of humour and funny anecdotes, which is so refreshing and in my opinion goes a long way in making feminism accessible to more people.

Without going into too much detail about the importance of intersectional feminism (because honestly that could be an essay in itself!)

I will keep it simple and say that I personally really appreciated that the contributors to this book were from a range of different backgrounds, professions, ages, race etc. This means we got to hear a spectrum of different views and opinions.

I’m sure this was a conscious decision when creating the concept of the book and whilst this seems like quite an obvious thing to mention, ensuring that we adequately give all kinds of people a platform to share their views can often be overlooked which means we end up hearing the same voices speaking about the same subjects

Finally, if you needed another excuse to pick up this book then it can be a feel good good purchase as 10% of the RRP from the book go to Girl Up.

Girl Up is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation dedicated to securing equal opportunities for underprivileged adolescent girls in developing countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Guatemala, and India.

Some of my favourite contributions were:

The Weaker Sex by Kiera Knightly

This essay was such a raw description of childbirth and motherhood, like nothing I had ever seen written in a book before! It felt extremely honest and heartfelt and this contribution above many of the others stayed with me long after reading the book.

The Catastrophizer’s Alphabet by Kat Dennings

This essay actually had me rolling with laughter, Kat goes through the alphabet and explores various scenarios, all ending with kidnap! as a deep overthinker and someone who worries about EVERYTHING I felt as though Kat had tapped into my mind and pulled out all the of the irrational but very real and worrying thoughts a lot of us have just trying to go about our days. Kat has very cleverly captured the troublesome thoughts many of us share in a comedic light.

M is for moustache

You somehow befriend John Cleese. He is an exception to the moustache kidnapper rule and you, therefore, think moustaches are harmless. With a false sense of moustache security you go about your life until you trust the wrong moustache.
KIDNAPPED.’

There were so many chapters in-between which I really loved but these two really stood out to me. I think they show a perfect example of two opposite ends of the spectrum of essays included in this book

Carly x

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