Book Review: Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies – Edited by Scarlett Curtis

What. A. Book. In this new collection of pieces by activists, celebrities, artists and more importantly, feminists we can celebrate the F word. Challenging stereotypes, as suggested in the title, giving insight into the lives of women and so much more, this is a book that will knock your socks off.

The great thing is that this is also in collaboration with Girl Up. They are a charity that supports girls and young women to improve their lives in various ways such as education, leadership programmes and more.

I was getting this book as soon as I heard about it, but something else made me want to read it even more. You may have seen the controversy with Topshop. In their Oxford Street store an amazing pop up was created, within 20 minutes it was taken down due to its sexist owner (full story here). Not only did I go and buy my copy – I also stopped shopping at Topshop.

This is a book full of personal accounts, thoughts and feelings. You see, we all have our own feminism, hopefully with the same goal – equality between the sexes. While some in the book are meant to be humorous such as Evanna Lynch’s Cat Women, others, such pieces on Female Genital Mutilation.

My favourite piece in this is by Kiera Knightly. You may have seen recently she spoke out about the fact she didn’t want her daughter watching certain Disney films because of what they promote (full story here). Her piece talks about how women have been deemed the ‘weaker sex’. It’s a love letter to her daughter talking about the strength of a woman, not shying away from the toll that childbirth takes on the body, challenging sexism. I absolutely fell in love with it. It really was a standout piece for me.

Is it any surprise that I gave this incredible book 5 stars? This is one of my best books of the year (full list to come soon). Not only does this look at every aspect of feminism, but it is also full of diversity and looks at varied experiences of being a woman. This is what we need. If you have a feminist in your life (and hopefully you have many) this will be perfect for Christmas!

Book Review: New Erotica For Feminists – Caitlin Kunkel, Carrie Wittmer, Brooke Preston and Fiona Taylor

Well, things are about to get steamy in here!  New Erotica for Feminists takes our wildest fantasies from equal pay to a reimagining of some of our favourite films in a feminist way and makes them a reality. An excellent mix of humour and satire this is going to get you talking, one way or another.

Ok, ok, this isn’t exactly the next 50 Shades, but it should be a bestseller. This is a collection that takes the worn out tropes of erotica and porn and turns them on their heads. Born from a conversation between friends joking about a perfect feminist world – and so New Erotica was born.

‘Imagine a world where erotica was written by feminists: Their daydreams include equal pay, a gender-balanced Congress, and Tom Hardy arriving at their doorstep to deliver a fresh case of LaCroix every week.’

I read this in a flash and was laughing out loud the whole way through. So much so, I got a few odd looks from my partner and so I had to explain what I was reading – I’m pretty sure it confused him even more. That’s the perfect thing about the collection, it doesn’t try and take itself seriously, it doesn’t attack anyone or anything. This makes a point because it makes you laugh at the same time. It doesn’t take away from the issues – but makes them more relatable.

This doesn’t take away for what we’re fighting for, instead, it injects a little fun and silliness. I can imagine if you’ve had a day of patriarchy fuelled BS this is the perfect book to come home too. Is it a literary masterpiece that will change the tides of modern feminism? Probably not but I think it will give the lift that we need in the current climate.

Of course, I gave this 5 stars! I was completely hooked and even though as of writing, I have just finished – I want to pick it up and read all over again. This is going to make an excellent Christmas present after I’ve bought my own copy of course!

A huge thank you to the authors, publishers and Netgalley for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.

What I Read in October

What I Read In October

October was a BUSY month (if you’re wondering why, check out my favourites here). With that in mind, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked! I did, however, read some absolute crackers, so let’s jump in.

I Hope My Voice Doesn’t Skip by Alicia Cook is a collection of poetry with heart and a love for music. I really enjoyed the collection because of the honesty through the writing – I gave this one 4 stars.

Next up is the new collection of poetry and prose by Nikita Gill, Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul. A collection of Feminist inspired retellings and poetry with a beautiful cover? Umm yes please! One of my best friends fell in love with it and eagerly waited for me to finish. The idea of this and the execution was incredibly well done and I look forward to rereading this – 4 stars!

Following the excitement at YALC this year The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth was also on the TBR pile in October. I enjoyed this novel, there were some issues that I will cover in my review, but on the whole, I think it’s an important read dealing with sexuality, religion and family. I gave it 4 stars.

 

Next is my favourite book of the month, so much so that once you are done reading this blog you NEED to go buy it. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) is an incredible collection of essays from a variety of women on various topics to do with being a woman and a Feminist. My personal favourite was from Kiera Knightley. Full review to come but, of course, I gave this 5 stars.

Finally, we have a Manga, new territory for me! My Lesbian Experience of Loneliness by Kabi Nagata was a birthday gift and it was a brilliant story. Following a woman in her 20s as she tries to live with depression as well as figuring out her sexuality this was a great start – I can’t wait to read the second part when it comes out.  I gave this 4 stars.

And that’s it! That’s all the books I read in October – we’re creeping closer to the 100 book mark! What did you read in October? I’d love to know in the comments below!

 

When We Don’t Listen to Women

Now, I don’t blame you if you don’t spend time trawling over the news. It’s pretty gloomy no matter where you live; here in the UK we’re dealing with the Brexit mess, in Europe we’re seeing a rise in racism and then we have the United States.

In the last few years, I’ve taken a lot more of an interest in politics. Firstly at home, and then internationally. Recently, there has been another set of outrage in regards to sexual assault. The current President was accused by many and heard on tape glorifying sexual assault. Now, his choice for the Supreme Court is also being accused.

While, unfortunately, the accusation doesn’t surprise me the level of shaming the accuser is facing is sickening. There have been calls that she is ‘messed up’ from the very people who will decide if this man is to be given the highest judicial honour in the states, before hearing her testimony. Even the president has waded in on Twitter, saying the following:

Trump Denial

Yep, that’s the President.

Again and again we see women being ridiculed, ignored. Despite the fact that we’ve had the Me Too Movement, Times Up, that there are incredible feminist writers. That women are proving again and again that they are capable and the rights that have been fought so hard for are being denied.

This blog isn’t just about what’s happening in the world of politics. For me, personally, I’ve been ignored many times just because of my gender. In fact, just yesterday during a meeting with a Gynaecologist, he spoke over me, ignored me and pushed an option I didn’t want again and again.

This is despite the fact that I am living in my body. He didn’t care about my questions or queries. His opinion was I had a coil or I had a hysterectomy. I had to push, almost cry to explain to him that this needs looking into further. Now I have another 6 months to wait. There was no concern or care, I didn’t have a voice about my own body.

When we don’t listen to women, we get closer to going back in time. To forgetting everything we’ve been working so hard to pull together and are still working towards. In fact, as a society not listening to women could be detrimental, because if people hadn’t noticed we’re a big part of the world, you know, 50%.

I know that I might be preaching to the converted here. I just had to get it out there because it is alarming, it is worrying. Is it just me that can’t look away? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Book Review: Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu

Book Review: Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu

 

Meet Viv, she’s a quiet 16-year-old who doesn’t break the rules. She works hard, hangs out with her friends and is the perfect daughter, the opposite of her mother as a teenager. Viv’s Mum was a Riot Grrl in the 1990s, all about Feminism and ‘zines, rebellion and riots. Nobody expects Viv to follow in her footsteps until she gets pushed a little too far.

Sick of the sexism in her high school, dress checks, disgusting football players and the expectation of women, Viv decides to start a quiet revolution. Taking a leaf from her Mum’s book Viv starts Moxie, a zine for the girls at her high school. As she anonymously writes and distributes the zine, things heat up. Can one ‘zine make any difference?

Well, this book. This book, what can I say? This is a rebellion in a couple of hundred pages. I finished this, created a playlist of kick-ass women and started planning the reboot of my Feminist Friday series. That’s the impact this book had.

I loved the fact that the author didn’t make the challenge easy either. She looks at the reputation feminism has, the feelings of being overwhelmed, having to try and convince people that Feminism is a good thing. She does it incredibly well and I loved all the Riot Grrl references and the fact that Bikini Kill was mentioned (listen to them here).

I will say, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about this novel and one of the reasons it didn’t get the full 5 stars was the romance. I just felt like it wasn’t needed and it made things a little too cutesy? Obviously, I know people did love it and it was good to see a male feminist but it just seemed a little too perfect timing to me.

Overall I gave this an amazing 4.5 stars! This was a breath of fresh air and while it took a little while to grow on me, once it did it was amazing. This is the kind of book that can inspire, that can make people realise that they have power in their voices. That feminism is still here, it’s still relevant and important. More than that it shows young women as saving themselves and that’s important.

I Won’t Be Silent – A Poem

I Wont Be Silent.png

 

For a while there,

I lost my voice.

I let someone else’s laugh muffle by shouts

for rebellion.

 

But I am a woman,

hear me roar.

I’ve got no time for heels,

or a cat call.

 

Because I broke free,

from the good girl mentality

and now, here I stand

Just as good as any man.

 

I won’t be silent.

I won’t be contained.

Because I am a woman.

I don’t need to be saved.

Feminist Friday Returns!

Yes, you read that right I’m bringing back Feminist Friday.

I was really unsure for a while, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted, feeling generally deflated. Then I read a few books, got mad about sexism and started writing again. Really writing for a few weeks and, well, I decided that I wanted to bring this back.

I’m not sure it will be every week, I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to be writing about. There will be opinions and poetry and hopefully other women writing about things they are passionate about too.

Let’s start a revolution!