Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think this little book should be read by everyone, and it definitely should be taught in high schools and college. It proves that feminism is still needed, and anyone who tells you we live in a "post-feminist" society is simply full of it. The book began life as the Everyday Sexism Project, a website where women could post their stories and lived experiences. According to the book's frontpage, the site has now collected more than 100,000 testimonials from people around the world.
One of the most heartbreaking chapters, to me, is Chapter 3, entitled "Girls." The first three pages detail stories of sexism from literally every year of a young woman's life, from birth to 18.
My father's reaction when he learned I was a baby girl: "They are twins, and girls to boot!?"
My mom told me repeatedly that men won't like me because I was too opinionated...it started when I was 3.
Aged 5, man leaned over the garden wall where I was playing, asked me to twirl so he could see my knickers.
6 years old, as a bridesmaid, took my cardigan off at the reception and got WOLF WHISTLES from adult men nearby. Straight back on.
Being told by age 9 that getting catcalled, whistled, honked at were to be taken as compliments.
Age 12, at KFC, some guy hands me a note with crap handwriting, but reads pretty much as "I want to fook you."
Told I was pretty and then asked my age. Said I was 14 and he asked me to sit on his lap.
Men shouted at me from their car "get your tits out you fucking slag." I was 15.
Working in a bar aged 18, collecting glasses, man waits until both my hands are full then grabs my boobs from behind.
These stories, and many many more, show that sexism runs through a woman's life from birth to death, whether she's married or single, a housewife or a career woman, a mother or childfree. (Also, for those who ask "what about the men?" there's a chapter on them too.) The sheer number of reports can be overwhelming, which is why it took me over a week to finish this book. However, the final chapter, Chapter 12, "People Standing Up," gives reason for hope and urges people to, as the author says, keep "moving small stones to redirect the flow of the river."
True equality can be achieved, and it will. Books like these are invaluable to show us the way.
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