162. Everyday Sexism

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Title: Everyday Sexism

Author: Laura Bates

Rating: ★★★★

On the Shelves: Non-Fiction

Women are standing up and #shoutingback. In a culture that’s driven by social media, for the first time women are using this online space (@EverydaySexism www.everydaysexism.com) to come together, share their stories and encourage a new generation to recognise the problems that women face. This book is a call to arms in a new wave of feminism and it proves sexism is endemic – socially, politically and economically. But women won’t stand for it. The Everyday Sexism Project is grounded in reality; packed with substance, validity and integrity it shows that women will no longer tolerate a society that ignores the dangers and endless effects of sexism.

In 2012 after being sexually harassed on London public transport Laura Bates, a young journalist, started a project called Everyday Sexism to collect stories for a piece she was writing on the issue. Astounded by the response she received and the wide range of stories that came pouring in from all over the world, she quickly realised that the situation was far worse than she’d initially thought. Enough was enough. From being leered at and wolf-whistled on the street, to aggravation in the work place and serious sexual assault, it was clear that sexism had been normalised. Bates decided it was time for change.

This bold, jaunty and ultimately intelligent book is the first to give a collective online voice to the protest against sexism. This game changing book is a juggernaut of stories, often shocking, sometimes amusing and always poignant – it is a must read for every inquisitive, no-nonsense modern woman” (Goodreads 2016)

“The worst thing for a man to be called is girly, a tit, a c^, told to man up…my gender is not an insult.”

Repeat after me: “Feminism is NOT a dirty word”. Got that? Good, let’s continue.

I have wanted to read this book for a while now. Yes, I may be going through the stereotypical “early to mid 20s discovery of feminism” phase, but it really appealed to me. I’ve always been a feminist, to be fair. I’ve never understood why it is simply expected, for example, for women to wear make up to work or to dress a certain way, and if she doesn’t, she has “let herself go”, and yet men don’t seem to get this scrutiny. It was only after doing my university course I started to also think about how the viciousness of masculinity can also help men, both in a way relevant to my degree (for example, men as victims of domestic violence, the victim blaming and victim shaming when it comes to sexual assault cases) but also just the general toxic mess that masculinity can be. The expectations for men to be strong all the time, and how that can actually have a huge strain on a male’s mental health, The pressure women feel in a majority male workplace (which I know all too well). While this book is generally, nothing new exactly, it is full of modern and upto date examples of the aggression everyone feels on a day to day basis, in work, in home, on public transport, and the culture we brits have of just brushing it off as “banter” which is harmful in itself to a certain degree.

I recommend this book, if only because it is an interesting read and perspective on the issue.

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