Saturday, 5 August 2017

Book #33

Nasty Women

With intolerance and inequality increasingly normalised by the day, it's more important than ever for women to share their experiences. We must hold the truth to account in the midst of sensationalism and international political turmoil. Nasty Women is a collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century. 

People, politics, pressure, punk - From working class experience to racial divides in Trump’s America, being a child of immigrants, to sexual assault, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, identity, family, finding a voice online, role models and more, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Zeba Talkhani, Chitra Ramaswamy are just a few of the incredible women who share their experience here. 
Keep telling your stories, and tell them loud.

This is such an important book.

I’m a self-confessed hater of non-fiction. I prefer to be carried away by fiction, to escape the confines of my life and to fly anywhere else for a birds eye view of someone else’s life. I didn’t hate this book for being non-fiction; the deep personal levels of detail given to me were akin to viewing someone else’s life, but this couldn’t ever be escapism because the stories were all so real. 

The strength and honesty from these women’s essays rips right through the pages. This is feminism without the vacuous celebrities, without the neon lights, without apologetic backing down; this is stark female reality served up in a bitter bowl of facts. And it fired me up.

As a white, straight, able-bodied woman (albeit with an invisible disability), I knew I experienced misogyny, but in subtle ways. I also knew that I had sisters all over the world who experienced this discrimination, and worse, on levels more negatively impacting than I did. Before I read Nasty Women this was a mere awareness of the fact, and nothing more. This book has given me a deeper insight into the lives of my queer sisters, my sisters of colour, my disabled sisters, and has given me a far more ferocious attachment to feminism than ever before. I mean, yeah, I get on okay, but there are girls out there who don’t, so there’s absolutely no excuse to stop fighting.

There’s importance in sharing our stories, in banding together, in honesty. These essays address so many important areas; areas I believe many of us identifying as feminists have never even considered before - and that, girls, is pretty disgusting. It blew me away - we all must do better.

I could write for hours on how I felt reading this book, but instead I’d prefer if you all just went on to buy it. Whoever or whatever you are, this is an important one to wake us all up to learning. I’m awake, I’m angry, I’m hungry to learn more, and I am fucking nasty.

‘Feminist’ gets misrepresented as a dirty word, echoing throughout the timeline of experiences of activists in the women’s movement since the 70s and longer; we’ve been seen as the radical feminists who want women to leave their husbands, become lesbians, dye their hair green. If wanting a woman to be able to own her own sexuality, to be able to live life with freedom and dignity and find and make her own choices are these things, then yes, we are nasty women - the nastiest around. - Nadine Aisha Jassat

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