Everyday Sexism and Feminists Don’t Wear Pink – Snapshot Book Reviews

Snapshot reviews are short book reviews of around 200-250 words.

Everyday Sexism

✨ Spoiler Free ✨

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author: Laura Bates
Genre: Nonfiction/Feminism
Publication year: 2014
Audience: 18+
Content warnings: Sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, abortion and mental health.

Review

Everyday Sexism is a feminist book divided into 12 chapters, each focused on a specific topic from motherhood to women in politics, education, the media and the experiences of girls. Laura Bates draws on research from her project Everyday Sexism – a website where girls and women can anonymously submit their experiences of sexism – and combines the voices of these girls and women with statistics and personal commentary.

In some ways I consider this is a must read because it’s informative on topics around systemic sexism, sexual assault and consent. On the other hand, this book could be potentially harmful and misleading, particularly for young people that read it. Therefore, I’d be reluctant to recommend it to anybody under the age of 18 or those unfamiliar with feminist texts.

My main gripe with this book is that it makes sweeping generalisations, exaggerates and fear mongers by promoting the message that females cannot step outside their door without experiencing sexual harassment or assault. It bombards the reader with horrifying stories of women’s trauma from the harassment and abuse they’ve faced to make a point. This was not only unnecessary, but repetitive and exploitative.

Nonetheless, it is an eye-opening read which touches upon some key aspects of feminism. Bates’ feminism doesn’t match mine but I appreciated the argument that we need to tackle minor incidents of sexism if we ever expect to reduce more extreme cases of sexism which cause real harm to girls and women.

I’d recommend Everyday Sexism if:

You are interested in learning more about the inequalities and discrimination women face, specifically sexual harassment and abuse.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies)

✨ Spoiler Free ✨

Author: Scarlett Curtis (curator)
Genre: Nonfiction/Feminism
Publication year: 2018
Audience: 16+
Content warnings: Sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, mental health, strong language, graphic sexual imagery.

Review

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink is a curated selection of essays from a variety of public figures about their experiences, thoughts and feelings about being a woman and a feminist. It’s divided into three main categories (with a poetry section in the middle) – epiphany, anger and joy – which is supposed to represent the three parts of the journey to becoming a feminist. It’s a relatable and accessible read, which makes it ideal for younger readers or those that are just discovering feminism. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the collection of essays it was marketed as and more a collection of diary entries. The entries were informal and the contributors had too much creative freedom. This resulted in a lot of repetition and entries that varied hugely in quality. Each entry was short but many of them were also fairly pointless such as timelines or random lists. The curator, Scarlett Curtis, needed to take more creative control to resolve these issues and provide more of a template and structure for the book.

These minor issues aside, I found the book to be motivational and I appreciated the diversity of the contributors. There were women of colour, trans women, mothers, business owners, activists and LGBTQ+ women all telling their own stories in their own voices. In terms of accessibility, it’s ideal and is a good starting point for people looking to familiarise themselves with feminist history and issues.

I’d recommend Feminists Don’t Wear Pink if:

You’re interested in breaking into feminism with an accessible book with a diverse collection of voices on what being a woman/being a feminist means to them.

Have you read Everyday Sexism or Feminists Don’t Wear Pink or do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

Female-centric book recommendations for International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day ♀️ (8th March), I wanted to share some of my favourite female-centric books. As someone that identifies as a woman, reading books that capture the diverse voices and experiences of women across the globe is very important to me. In these recommendations there will be a mix of books from different genres so hopefully there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Emma (Jane Austen)

Genre: Classic/Romance

Most of you are probably familiar with Emma even if you’ve never read it. But for the benefit of those that aren’t familiar with it, this novel follows the title character, Emma, a wealthy young girl living with her father who enjoys match-making couples. Like all Austen novels, there’s lots of romance but the focus is on Emma’s character and her development throughout. There’s also a lovely female friendship between Emma and Harriet and fantastic social commentary on issues surrounding gender, feminism and marriage.

Eloquent Rage (Brittney Cooper)

Genre: Nonfiction

Eloquent Rage is a memoir which interweaves discussion, academic research, reflection and personal experience to explore intersectional feminism from the perspective of a black woman. Cooper’s voice is fresh and distinctive and she discusses topics which are often neglected in other feminist literature such as the toxicity in the black community (particularly the abuse of women at the hands of black men), the place of men in feminism and the judgement that comes with being a straight feminist in a relationship with a man . She also examines racism and sexism from a structural perspective which I appreciated, since a lot of literature on the topic of race and gender tends to place blame for the existence of prejudice and discrimination on the individual and fails to recognise how the sytems in our society perpetuate certain ideologies and favour particular groups.

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)

Genre: Historical Fiction

This is the only book on this list which is written by a male author, but it is 100% deserving of making a feature. Set in Afghanistan, it follows two women – Mariam and Lilah – who are in a plural marriage with the same husband. It is a heartbreaking and emotional tale about female solidarity, facing adversity, motherly love and the importance of hope even in the darkest of times.

The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Stetson)

Genre: Classic

This novella is short enough that you can fly through it in an hour or less. Despite how short it is, it packs one hell of a punch. It’s a fascinating tale which draws on metaphors and imagery to deconstruct ideas surrounding female mental health in the 19th century. Women’s mental health is a topic which of personal interest to me historically speaking, and so this spoke to me directly. There’s so much to deconstruct and analyse with this book and it has so much hidden depth and meaning.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies (ed. Scarlett Curtis)

Genre: Nonfiction

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies is a collection of (informal) essays from a variety of public figures who identify as female. Each contributor was given freedom to write on a topic related to feminism that meant something to them so there’s a wide variety of topics and styles. The quality of the essays differs quite a lot with some being fantastic and others underwhelming, but I appreciated this for the range of voices it captures. It’s also accessible for general audiences and a great introduction to feminism for those that are perhaps intimidated/dislike academic feminist texts.

Girl, Woman, Other (Bernardine Evaristo)

Genre: Contemporary

I shared this book in my previous recommendation post for LGBT History Month, but I had to share it again, because in terms of feminist fiction this is a shining example. It has a wide cast of female characters from a variety of backgrounds, each with their own unique story, voice and characterisation. There’s so many well-written relationships between women and every character is fleshed out.

There we have it, my recommendations of female-centric books. What female-centric books would you include on your list? Please share in the comments, I’m always on the hunt for new feminist/female-centric books!

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.