What I’m Reading; Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

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Today’s post is, for once, about a book. I’ve decided that once a month I am going to post about the best book I’ve read in those four weeks, in order to create some content that is different from my usual, charity based posts. Recently I’ve been working my way through quite a few interesting feminist pieces, trying to broaden my knowledge about the subject and to understand better the differing opinions and circumstances that occur in the movement. As women’s and feminist issues are not only important to my own life (as a female, duh), but also to the work I do, learning more about them seemed the logical to thing to do.

Everyday Sexism is a project you probably have already heard about, if you haven’t been living under a rock. Bates started this project after realizing that her own experiences of sexism in her life had become normal to her, and that every woman had a story about sexism that made it appear that street harassment, inequality in the workplace, and even sexual violence and rape, had been normalized within society. The project was her way of announcing that this isn’t right, that women should not have to put up with this, and that it is a growing problem in the world. Everyday Sexism became a place for women to share their experiences and explain how it made them feel, but Bates has turned these experiences, as well as some quite harrowing facts and figures, into a book that explains perfectly what it is like to be a woman in the (mostly Western) world.

Now, I understand the idea that men get about how feminists are all man-hating lesbians who want to rule the world themselves. I understand it because that is all feminists are usually portrayed at – you can hardly blame some of the male species for thinking it when they are bombarded by the media with this image. And some feminist pieces do risk coming across that way, simply because the writer becomes passionate about the issue or points out something that many men feel makes them uncomfortable or that is a generalization. But Bates manages to get the perfect balance, in my mind, between pointing out the problem, but not blaming ‘all men’ for it. In fact, I think she creates a very real portrait of how sexism is permeated throughout our society. She uses other people’s experiences as well as her own and more famous women’s, to point out the overwhelming amount of sexism that women AND men face, often created by other women as well as many men.

I enjoyed this book because it shows the problems we face, has sections that are easy to read and not full of jargon or buzz words, and simply, because I feel it opens up a discussion that men and women need to be able to just sit and talk about. Whilst I am always trying to encourage my female friends to identify as feminists – “because the feminism means not female supremacy but very simply equality for all regardless of sex” – I feel that this book needs to be read by my male friends too. I don’t think its patronizing, I don’t think its abusive towards men, and I think its a very interesting and important message that many of my friends just haven’t understood yet.

If you haven’t read it yourself, I’d say just give it a go. Even if you disagree, the way that Bates writes makes it an educational experience.

Although I tried to get my friend Kieran to read it, he took one look at the words, some of which are in bold or multi-colored, and joked about how it was printed like that so that stupid women could read it.

Needless to say, I hit him with my copy. Several times.

Au revoir.
xxx

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