Girl Up by Laura Bates || Book Review



Author: Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism project and the bestselling author of the book Everyday Sexism. She has a BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to Gender equality and is considered, at 29, to be one of the most important feminist writers of the day.

Rating: *****

Review:

Girl Up is definitely one of my books of the year, if not only for its topic but its description, illustrations and down-right amusing content. To give you an idea of what you’ll be getting yourself into by reading this book, here is the warning given in the blurb:

‘WARNING: This book contains feminist limericks, colour-by-numbers genitalia and dancing vaginas.’

It’s fabulous.

Although this book is specifically aimed at teenagers it goes across to all feminine audiences in my opinion. There are chapters on everything from body image to porn and how this affects girls in their daily lives in ways we might not expect.

The chapters are insightful, full of great advice and house interesting theories and questions as to why we have let society get into this stagnating pool of sexism and how ‘normal’ (for want of a better word) sexism has become.

There are heavy hitting topics about consent and rape, but also reassuring words about sex, careers and lifestyle. It is a guide to life, but also a manual to what is not appropriate in life: and this is not masturbation or watching porn but rather accepting groping at a music festival as normal or being kicked out of school for wearing shorts as they are deemed distracting to boys.

It creates frustration, but not against the book but rather the system.
Laura Bates' other book: 'Everyday Sexism'
 
There are testimonies from a collection of all-age, all-races girls who have experienced sexism in school, university, home-life etc and it points out all of the things that are wrong in the world. It is mature and eloquently written and more often than not makes you laugh and want to cheer or start a riot.

I particularly enjoyed recounting titles of movies – re-named to fit their sexist standards to my parents, i.e. The Hobbit: An Unexpected lack of female characters or 500 Days of how unfair it is that a girl isn’t into you.

Bates has a way of taking something which should be obvious yet isn’t and casting a neon sign over it and saying: ‘SEXIST BULLSHIT.

Most importantly though it is an enjoyable book. It is very well-written and never appears patronizing, in fact it is fun. I have never had to colour in a vagina before, particularly in turquoise or hot pink, nor have I ever read a chapter entitled ‘clitorish-allsorts’. It’s marvelous.

The only fault with the book would be the lack of anger in it. Sometimes it is clear that Laura Bates is incredibly frustrated at something but has been told, either by her editor or herself, which she mustn’t be too angry or else she’ll appear off-putting. These things that are happening day-to-day should make us angry and a little more anger on her side would have been appreciated I think.

I was particularly enraged by the story of a girl being sent home from school for wearing a skirt because it was distracting her male teacher. If the teacher is distracted by a female student for wearing a skirt should he be teaching in a school???

All in all though this is a book I would happily recommend to my teenage cousins, my friends, my family or a stranger on the tube. It is everything I could hope for in a book about feminism and it does not shy-away from topics that are often ignored.

I thoroughly recommend it!

 

Happy Reading!

2 comments

  1. Fantastic review! I haven't read Girl Up yet but I LOVE Laura Bates, whether she's writing books, columns or appearing on TV/radio. She is just an incredible campaigner! I will have to get a copy of Girl Up now :) xx

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    Replies
    1. If you love Laura Bates you just have to! It's really good! And so much fun as well as informative! :)

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