It took me some time to put this book on my to-read list because, based on the Goodreads reviews, I found it hard to predict if I was going to like or dislike this book. I usually read more serious, academic feminist literature and my fear was – especially after reading how funny this book was supposed to be – that the book would get too ”jolly”. And jolly would be unserious and it would jokingly trivialise some of feminisms issues. Do not like.
I started writing a review for this book too soon, after the first few chapters. I dreaded all the chapters after the first three or so, besides the chapter about not having children. In one of the first chapters there’s this powerful statement:
“ Because we need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying only 29 per cent of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42 per cent of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”
Where I was all like ‘YES!!!!1!’, but then I came to the Bad Part, where it was as if a totally different person had taken over story. What an anticlimax. It all started off so well. And about what I wrote in my review about the first few chapters (below), that we perhaps shouldn’t speak of more of less feminist literature. Well, I wrote that before I got to the chapter where suddenly all women are supposed to have this wish of an extremely expensive wedding. Which came right after the chapters about negative stereotypes.
*** Rest of the review is strictly about the first few chapters! ***
I had been wondering about this literally ’laughing out loud’ business that some people wrote about in their reviews (”you mean, literally laughing out loud? With sounds and all? On the TRAIN?!”), but I get it now. Reading in bed, I was afraid I would keep my partner awake with my occasional chuckles.
I’m sure this book gets a lot of critisism for not being so serious and I totally get where that’s coming from (the fact feminism is needed doesn’t have the most cheerful reason in the world), but I do think feminism needs lighter literature like this to be accessible to all sorts of males and females, not just the ones that read 100% correctly formulated academic feminist literature. It’s not going to cut it to just reach the highly educated, it needs to reach everyone. I do agree some statements are being made too lightly, accuracy is sacrificed to bring a point across, which was also what I was concerned about before reading this book. On the other hand, some of her statements made me think. And also think about it: is there really such a difference in the degree to which a book is feminist? Isn’t the core message the same: we want equality between the genders? We want to be seen as individuals, not defined by the strip of skin between our legs? Shouldn’t we then also be open to different feministic formulations, with different points of focus?
And no, I guess the discussion about what to call your vagina and to or to not shave it is not an as pressing issue as battling rapism, but should it then not be written about at all? Wouldn’t that be part of this whole ’broken window’ thing Moran describes in the start of her book where a building with 1 broken window is bound to suffer more vandalism? Isn’t being a feminist, like many things in life, expressed by wavering between the trivial and the very important? Reading srs feminist literature at daytime and in the evening pondering your hairy leg in the shower deciding whether to shave or not. Sitting in the train and thinking something mean about another woman (don’t tell me you never do that!) and then at home adding some kind of ”women are too hard on other women” quote to your Goodreads.