Are you a tired feminist who is looking for a book to throw at oppressors? I highly recommend Laura Bate’s Everyday Sexism.
After experiencing a series of escalating sexist incidents, Laura Bates started the #everydaysexism project and has gone on to write ‘a pioneering analysis of modern day misogyny’ (Telegraph).
Back in early 2015, when I first started becoming more outspoken on feminist issues, this was one of the first books I knew I wanted to read. The moment I had a spare chance, I rushed down to my nearest Waterstones (which isn’t actually that near, fyi) and scoured the shelves for this very book. I found the book but I didn’t buy it. I read through a couple of pages and felt completely overwhelmed. Fast forward to a year later and I’m reading it; I’m not going to lie and tell you it wasn’t an overwhelming read, because it was. But it’s definitely an essential one.
When I talk about feminism, one of the most common responses I’m met with is “sexism isn’t real“. If you truly believe that, this is the book you really need to read. A lot of people overlook sexism because they don’t experience it. But the truth is, you probably do; you just don’t know it. That sounds patronising but internalised misogyny is real and it takes a woman years to unlearn all the wrongs she’s been taught. Just because you don’t experience something, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I don’t experience racism, that doesn’t mean thousands of women of colour don’t either. (Spoiler alert: they do.) It’s easy to over look something when it’s not happening to us, but it’s not fair to erase other’s experiences. Thankfully, Everyday Sexism makes it impossible to deny or ignore other women’s experiences. Each chapter tackles a different feminist issue (i.e. girls, women in politics and so on), Bates eloquently summarises what’s wrong and what needs to change for women in the United Kingdom. Every chapter begins with harrowing quotes by women from all walks of life, followed by gut-wrenching stats to back it up.
WHAT DID OTHERS THINK?
There are some books that cut right to the core of your being, that take hold of your thoughts and twist them into the realms of difficult conversations and never ending questions, that make you go through the motions, that show you the world you live in is not the world you believe it to be. Or maybe it is the world you believe it to be, but now your fears have been validated. To me, this book was all this and more.
It highlights that fighting sexism is not about being a ‘man-hater’ (after all, men experience discrimination because of their gender too), it is about the abuse, oppression and objectivity by which women live each day. It is this abuse, oppression and objectification that is accepted as the norm, it is a silent, dangerous and (in some cases) deadly disease that still harbours within society.
This book isn’t just the author’s voice on the matter, it includes the voices of hundreds of women from various age groups too. The hundreds of voices that are failing to be heard and struggling to understand why there is still so much victim blaming when it comes to assaults, harassment, violence, and even murder. Why do we still carry a lower monetary worth than our male counterparts in the work place? Why are our bodies are still not considered our own? Why we are defined by our appearances rather than our intellect and merit? Why we have to carry keys between our fingers as we walk alone (even in broad daylight) in case we are attacked? Why when share our experiences are we told we’re being overly sensitive? Why are we repeatedly told to accept this? Why are we taught to be ashamed of it?
“1 in 3 women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime” – UN 2008
“In the UK over 2 women per week on average are killed by a current or former partner” – Coleman & Osborne, 2010; Department of Health, 2013
Sexism is rife in society and (in the words of Laura Bates), enough is enough.
Next book: The Bloody Chamber
Want to take part? Get in touch!