…as Florence Given writes in her new book ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’.
I have (admittedly more recently) thought of myself as a feminist. As I was growing up I would shave every inch of my body and dismiss the idea of a gender pay gap. The idea that men quite literally ruled the world was so crazy to me. I just couldn’t believe it.
Imagine someone being paid more than you (doing the same job), just because they have a penis. Not ok, right? After attending an all girls school, I was thrown out of my comfort zone by exploring our patriarchal society which I didn’t think existed. However, this led me to gaining confidence in myself and my newly formed opinions. Now I don’t shave unless I want to (which is hardly ever) and I get ANGRY at the idea of a gender pay gap, satisfying the male gaze and all things sexist and unfair.
For this reason going to an all girls school was an excellent experience for me, one of the best to date.
However, after reading ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’, I was thrown out of my comfort zone again unexpectedly during my continuous journey to feminism. I felt uncomfortable understanding changes that I needed to make. My favourite films are no longer chick flicks where females seek male validation, I am outraged at the fact gingerbread men are not in fact gingerbread people (Mcvitie’s expect an email) and I get frustrated if my behaviour changes around men (at least I notice it now). These are all thing that Florence Given suggested would happen, well maybe not the gingerbread men part.
“Feminism and self-discovery will uproot your entire life, but it’s going to be worth it” – Florence Given
So, here is a book review (Women Don’t Owe You Pretty) mixed with my opinions, experiences and some quotes that might just change your life.
This new book written by Florence Given is an excellent eye-opening book that you all need to read. It addresses ‘pretty privilege’ and how if you aren’t white, slim, cis and straight then life is a whole lot harder and it shouldn’t be. For example, if I didn’t shave my armpits because I already do not fit into the ‘slim’ category, I may be deemed even less feminine so thus even less desirable and thus even less successful than firstly a white man and secondly a white woman who performs to patriarchal expectations.
Who can blame those who do though? Life is a whole lot easier.
“We live in a patriarchal society which prioritizes our desirability above anything and everything else” – Chapter 2
There are 22 chapters that cover a huge range of relevant topics. You will find that the book takes you on a personal journey about learning to love yourself, not settling for less than you deserve, social media, dating, being gay, sex, consent, self-worth, relationships and pretty much anything that you can reclaim control of. Some chapters may not be relevant to you personally but you can definitely see how they will be relevant to other women. I wish I could name you my favourite chapter but I genuinely believe that they are all so interesting and important.
“A new person is born in the moment you say to yourself, for the first time, “I deserve better” “. – Chapter 3
Chapter 3 is all about learning to love yourself and not settling for less than you deserve. Florence also says that one of the most radical acts under capitalism is to love yourself especially if this love is enough to fill you, without the need of a romantic love to feel validated. So, whilst writing this blog post I took myself on a date. I ordered two ‘Rose Garden’ drinks and a vegan BLT. Btw, I definitely recommend one of ‘The Lounges’ as a tasty place to eat (that’s where I went today).
TRIGGER WARNING / OVER 16 ONLY – Sex & Sexual Assault
Chapters 11-14 discuss sex, consent, sexual assault and rape culture. I won’t go into much detail about these chapters as a wide audience read my blog and I am not a professional. However, these chapters are extremely eye opening and should be read and understood by everyone even if it is an uncomfortable read.
Some basic takeaways from these chapters are:
- Women enjoy sex too
- Sex & female masturbation should openly be discussed to eliminate the stigma and allow exploration (with those you trust)
- Stop judging others on their sex life
- Ask for consent
- No means no
- Believe those who trust in you
“Learn how to admit when you are wrong…view mistakes as opportunity for growth” – Chapter 19
The final chapters in the book discuss accountability and checking your privilege. These are very important chapters that really help with self-growth and finish your journey through the book excellently. Through-out the book there are colourful drawings and quotes illustrated by Florence that really made me feel empowered. You see a diverse range of women illustrated in a range of clothing. They really add to the book and make it even more of a must read.
This book has made me feel even more confident in my own skin, with my opinions and helped me to understand my privilege. Here are some photos that didn’t make social media, that I thought I would share with you here. Because, I am not ashamed of my body, or the way I look. I love myself and so should you.
Do you really love that chick flick?
I am just waiting on the day that gingerbread men get rebranded and named gingerbread people.
(You can buy this book from Amazon btw, that is where I bought mine from).
Please read it if you can.
Love Charlotte x