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Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

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Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.

Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. Come on in, turn the pages, and be inspired to find your own path to feminism by the awesome individuals in Here We Are.

Welcome to one of the most life-changing parties around!

240 pages, Paperback

First published January 24, 2017

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About the author

Kelly Jensen

7 books1,211 followers
Kelly Jensen is a former teen librarian who worked in several public libraries before pursuing a full-time career in writing and editing. Her current position is with Book Riot, the largest independent book website in North America, where she focuses on talking about young adult literature in all of its manifestations. Before becoming a fully-fledged adult-like person, she worked in the swanky Texas Legislative Library entering data into a computer while surrounded by important politicians, scooped gelato for hungry college students, and spent hours reading, annotating, and scanning small-town Texas newspapers into a giant searchable database.

Kelly lives in the Chicago area with her husband, her daughter, her rabbit, and five needy-but-awesome cats. In her free time, she teaches yoga, writes for her personal blog STACKED (stackedbooks.org), drinks a lot of tea, and enjoys disappearing for days reading good books. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, at Rookie Magazine, The Horn Book, BlogHer, and School Library Journal.

Please note: I don't take review requests via Goodreads and I don't respond to comments on reviews that are more than 6 months old.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 418 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
November 8, 2017
This collection is EXTRAORDINARY. I am 100% going to get my hands on a finished copy so I can dive back into this book whenever I need it (which is probably a lot).

It is perhaps never possible to adequately collect enough perspectives to present all aspects of feminism in its entirety, but this book comes damn close. Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World covers a wide range of intersectional feminist topics, featuring authors of all colours, races and religions, gay and trans authors, authors of all shapes and sizes, those with physical and mental disabilities, as well as the able-bodied. It is a truly fantastic work that deserves to be read and celebrated by all.

When reviewing collections, I tend to either post a short review for each piece - if the book has only a small number of authors (which this doesn't) - or highlight the standout pieces - if the book has a long list of authors (which this does). But I just can't do that here. Who do I single out in a collection about the importance of a vast array of voices? So I'm going to briefly mention them all. Bear with me.

I feel quite emotional thinking back over all the wonders this book has to offer. From Malinda Lo's opening piece about her youth and feminist influences, which sets the tone for the rest of the work with this rousing speech:
Feminism is about recognizing power and fighting to distribute it equally, regardless of race or class or ability or gender. Feminism is not static, and it never has been. In fact, feminism demands change.

Followed by Suzannah Weiss' informative history of the word "Feminism", Kody Keplinger's feminist playlist, a powerful excerpt from Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist (which is incredible and should be read in full), and musings on different types of privilege from a "straight white man"- Matt Nathanson. This concludes the first and introductory section.

The second section is "Body & Mind", featuring Anne Theriault's moving (and, for me, relatable) story about her mental illness; then Anfie Manfredi's proud reclaiming of her own body and the word "fat", Alida Nugent's thought-provoking discussion of white beauty standards and growing up with Puerto Rican features, Liz Prince's (author of Tomboy) graphic story about overcoming her own internalized misogyny, and Lily Myers' thoughts on her obsession with food and dieting. This section ends with Constance Augusta Zaber's wonderful piece about female image as a trans woman.

"Sex & Sexuality" opens with Courtney Summers talking about the demand for females and female characters to be "likable", not mixed-up, damaged human beings.
What are we saying to girls when we cannot accept difficult, hurting female characters as being worthy of love because they are difficult and hurting?

Kayla Whaley's letter to her younger self comes next - a painful, beautiful, uplifting addition about her physical disability. Then Rafe Posey discusses being a trans man and a feminist, considering how allowing someone to define their own gender identity is a key component of feminism:
When you deny a person his or her or hir name, or when you say, "You are not the kind of woman I recognize as a woman," you are also saying, "Hey, you there - who you know yourself to be is less important than who I need you to be."

Then there is Amandla Stenberg's instagram post about how female black lives also matter, Tricia Romano's interview with Laverne Cox (the first trans person to appear on the cover of TIME, Sophia from Orange is the New Black, and just an all-round incredible person), and Mia & Michaela Deprince's shared piece about women in Sierra Leone and other poor regions - Michaela focuses specifically on FGM, and Mia talks about the use of rape as a weapon.

In "Pop Culture", Zariya Allen opens with an extremely powerful poem called "Somewhere in America", about the lessons being taught to American kids about race, class, and sexual assault. Brenna Clarke Gray discusses fandom and fanfiction, particularly slash and queer representation. Mikki Kendall talks about the different facets of feminism that make up intersectionality and the need for marginalized representation in pop culture. Brandy Colbert lists real life friendships between black women. Amandla Stenberg makes another appearance with a video transcript where she addresses cultural appropriation. Then Kelly Jensen interviews Laurie Halse Anderson and Courtney Summers about sexual violence and speaking up.

"Relationships" sees Sarah McCarry talk about girlhood, growing up and her own hatred of girls - McCarry also lists great girl friendships in fiction, followed by Wendy Xu's graphic story on the fetishization of Asian women by white men. Then Siobhan Vivian's deeply personal and moving letter to her teen self about losing her virginity, and Kaye Mirza adds her unapologetic Muslim feminist perspective to the mix, challenging assumptions made about wearing the hijab.
The narrative of who I was and what my faith was based upon, what I believed in and preached, and ultimately where I stood as a woman, was not in my hands.

Brandy Colbert returns to talk about "sisterhood" - the importance of black female friendships, and Jessica Luther discusses what it means to have a heterosexual feminist relationship.

In "Confidence & Ambition", Ashley Hope Perez talks "breaking the nice girl commandments", Lily Myers' returns with a free verse poem - "Shrinking Women" - about the ways women make space for men (and shouldn't), Erika Y. Wurth offers her perspective on growing up as a Native American girl by writing a letter to her teen self, and Shveta Thakrar writes an evocative piece about self-harm and anxiety. Former Texas senator, Wendy Davis, tells us to fight for our dreams but also own our failures and don't let them define us.

And, finally, "Go Your Own Way". In this section, Daniel José Older opens with a lyrical musing about the many journeys to feminism, the many stories being told, the many different forms of oppression and privilege. Nova Ren Suma follows with a personal story that was equal parts enraging and inspiring (her experiences with an all-male syllabus and sexist teacher made my blood boil). Brenna Clarke Grey offers a list of comics by women, about women. Kody Keplinger talks personal choices and deciding not to have kids. Allison Peyton Steger & Rebecca Sexton add a humourous illustrated guide to becoming a superheroine. Mindy Kaling urges us not to worry if we're not popular and having crazy, exciting times in high school - the quiet, studious individuals have all the good times to look forward to after.

Kelly Jensen closes this collection with a thoughtful essay about embracing her own "quiet feminism". Not all of us are the banner-waving, shouting type of feminists; not all of us have that kind of personality, but that doesn't mean our own quiet forms of feminist expression are any less important.

Also a special mention to the art contributors:
"Bad Hair Day" by Stasia Burrington
"Judgements" by Pomona Lake
"Drawing for Inspiration" by Michelle Hiraishi
"Opportunity" by Risa Rodil
"That’s What She Became" by Jen Talley
"Intersectional Rosie the Riveter" by Tyler Feder

In the end, this is just a really really great book. It's thought-provoking, informative, inclusive, and FUN. With graphic stories, illustrations, playlists and reading lists, this book is both important AND an absolute pleasure to read.

Bravo to all the wonderful feminists who made this book possible. Every single one of you rocks.

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Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
Want to read
July 20, 2017
This book now belongs to every person who needs it & who deserves it. Keep fighting the good fight.

Have you read and enjoyed HERE WE ARE? Between now and the end of July, pop a short review on Amazon to be entered for a chance to win $30 to the bookstore of your choice. Details about the promotion, as well as where to drop your information, is here. Totally okay to copy/paste a review from Goodreads over there!: http://stackedbooks.org/2017/07/givea...
Profile Image for Kelley Cantrell.
56 reviews10 followers
April 19, 2017
tl;dr Save for very brief parts where trans women wrote, this whole book was full of cis-centric feminism and treated the trans/nonbinary/genderqueer community as an afterthought, or just didn't mention us at all. It's like the brief mentions of us were just to say "look, we included people who aren't cisgender! We've succeeded at intersectional feminism! Give us brownie points!"

Tl;dr Feminism that’s cis-centric is not intersectional.

Note: I’m only going to address the issues that pertain to me/my lane. I’m not going to delve deeper into issues with identities that aren’t mine. That’s for other people to address. I’ll link their critiques as I find them.

I’m always wary of cis white feminists who use the label of intersectionality. That’s why when I saw that the editor of this book was in fact a cis white feminist, I already had my hesitations. After all, her recent thread of exclusionary tweets directed at the ace and aro communities (https://twitter.com/KidLitPSA/status/...) was enough to make me believe otherwise about her “intersectional feminism.”

The book is a collection of essays from women (mostly cis) and a couple of men that was seeking to, but failed, to fully address the wide variety of feminist experiences. Yes, nothing will ever be perfect, but when you fail to include the transgender/nonbinary/genderqueer community save for a token voice or two? It’s a glaring error that shows you’re only including us for the brownie points.

The book prioritized the voices of cis women over anyone else. And yes, while including the experiences of cis women is important, so is including (prioritizing, even) the voices of trans women. You’re not representing the full range of womanhood if you’re only including cis women. For a better, more inclusive and detailed analysis of this, read a nonbinary trans woman’s perspective here: https://twitter.com/faulknerpainter/s...

There were a couple of essays and other sections of the book I wanted to analyze specifically. Let’s start with the beginning of Chapter 2.

Chapter 2:“Sometimes they perform the female identity and sometimes they perform the male identity; still other times, feminists choose not to identify as any particular gender at all.”

Okay. Some other trans and genderqueer/fluid/nonbinary people may not have any issue with this wording. I fully accept that this will vary from person to person, and I respect that. But for me, personally? As a genderfluid masculine person, it bugs the hell out of me. Here’s why.

People do not choose their sexualities. Ever have someone ask you or another person “but why can’t you just be straight?!”? That’s the same problem I’m finding here. The wording reminds me of the wording bigots use to describe the orientations of gay and lesbian people. Gender identity has nothing to do with sexuality, but it’s still an identity. One does not simply choose to be cisgender, transgender, or nonbinary and so forth. It’s simply who they are. Painting gender identity as a choice is insensitive to the plight of transgender and gender nonconforming people everywhere who have lost their families, jobs, housing, and even their lives simply for being who they are.

Okay. Let’s move on.

Lily Myers’ essay I Have Always Eaten The Bread tackles the issue of eating disorders, but fails in one area: She focuses entirely on the issue of cis women who have eating disorders, failing to be inclusive and mention the struggles of other marginalized gender identities who suffer from this. She even goes on to say, and I quote, page 44:“Yes, men can feel insecurity about their bodies, too. But the same level of importance is not attached to body image for men.”

Okay, first of all, I’m gonna assume she means cis men because y’know, trans people are either an afterthought or just flat-out nonexistent in the majority of this book. But, assuming she meant cis and trans, her aforementioned statement was full of erasure. Like, look at me. I’m the living antithesis. It’s complicated, but bear with me here.

In the world that I move around in every day, I’m read as a cis woman. Many other masculine genderfluid people and trans men struggle in this way too. Therefore, we’re still subject to the same bullshit that society pushes for cis women: Be skinny, be femme, be conventionally attractive, be pleasing to the male gaze and so forth. Even asides from that, for those who are AFAB and can pass as their masculine gender, there’s still a bunch of bullshit pushed at cis men that they have to endure: Be lean/fit, have the right amount of facial hair, have a certain dick size or you’re not a “real man”, etc.

I hesitate to criticize essays in general like this, because I don’t want to take away from what good they have done. I don’t want it to seem like I think they don’t have a good message at all. There are things that can do good, but simultaneously do harm. Messages like these benefit cis women, but exclude and harm marginalized cis and trans men who are struggling with body image issues. It’s exclusionary af to claim that men don’t suffer from body image issues and just brush them off. You’re ignoring our intersections of oppression and privilege.

Let’s move on to Chapter 3. On the introductory page, it lists a few different gender pronouns and identities:“He. She. Ze. They. Hir. Queer. Trans. A.”

A lonely “A.” sitting all by itself. What do they mean by this? Asexual? Aromantic? Agender? WHO KNOWS?! Apparently, neither of those three groups exist to the writer because they won’t say the damn words.

Later on page 64, again, gender identity is portrayed as a “choice.” “ ‘Gender’ refers to the identity an individual chooses to take...the only person who chooses their gender identity...is the individual.” Ughhhh. This reeks of the “cis people are their gender! Anyone else just chooses it!” attitude that I despise.

Somewhere along the line, Amandla is misgendered.

Way later in the book, on page 173, the writer tackles the issue of sexism. “...men do not experience prejudice and discrimination in our society.”

Whoa whoa whoa. Hold the fuck right up.

Not even tackling the issue of cis men who experience fatphobia, ableism, and other -isms in society, what about us trans men and masculine genderqueer/nonbinary/fluid people?

I’m going to pull a page from my own personal experiences here to illustrate my point: If any of you were following me on Twitter during my pregnancy last year, you saw how much harassment I got from trolls (by the hundreds!) because I stated that I was a boy and I was pregnant. “You’re a woman!” and a bunch of other exclusionary bullshit clogged my mentions for awhile. My boyhood was erased simply for my ability to support life within me.

So look me in the eye and tell me again that men don’t ever experience discrimination ever when I was harassed multiple times last year and misgendered simply for being a pregnant boy.

Basically, to sum this all up, I was really disappointed in this book. Not only was some of it basic 101 stuff, it was exclusionary as fuck and treated those of us who are transgender, gender non-conforming and so forth as an afterthought. As if we were only included so the writers could say "look, we included people who aren't cisgender! We've succeeded at intersectional feminism! Give us brownie points!"

No. You have failed greatly at intersectional feminism when you treat marginalized communities like a fucking afterthought just for fucking goddamn brownie points.

*all the middle finger emojis*
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
814 reviews205 followers
May 26, 2017
Usually I'm a bit tongue-tied (finger-tied?) when it comes to reviewing non-fiction books.

But not this one.

I wasn't sure what to expect from a collection of feminist essays aimed at YA readers (although I've followed Kelly Jensen around online for years, so I trusted her to make something terrific). This book lived up to all my hopes for it, and more. It's feminist and also highly intersectional, with contributions from white women, white men, POC women, POC men, transwomen and one transman, able women and disabled women. Which makes it look possibly preachy as I type this, but it's not at all. Each of the essays is deeply personal, addressing one person's experiences in the world. Some of them are solemn in tone while others go for humor. Some of them are just plain fun ("A Guide to Being a Teenage Superheroine.")

They all speak to how much better a world we can make if we allow people to be themselves; if we view everyone as a worthy individual rather than as "a woman," "a man," "a black person," "an Asian kid," "a fat chick," or "that girl in a wheelchair," etc.; if we encourage everyone's potential instead of trying to put people in boxes; if we offer everyone we encounter the respect and privilege we'd like to be offered ourselves. (Why is this so hard? And why is there so much resistance to something so seemingly simple? Sigh.)

I'd recommend this book to everyone, regardless of whether you think of yourself as a "feminist" or not; whether you identify as female, or not; and whether you're a teen, or not. It's full of interesting people and interesting thoughts, and will expand the way you look at and understand other people, and maybe yourself, too.

I got this from the library, but I'll probably buy a copy. And that's high praise from me! :D
Profile Image for laura (bookies & cookies).
692 reviews161 followers
January 4, 2018
[Edit: April 14, 2017] I changed my 5 star rating to a 2 star rating because of the recent worrying aphobic, biphobic, and panphobic statements and messages from Kelly Jensen, the editor, on Twitter and BookRiot articles.

While this book was illuminating and included a wide array of voices, the lack of asexual representation and an incorrect definition of bisexuality is troubling and not something I wish to support with a higher starred rating.
Profile Image for Laina SpareTime.
478 reviews19 followers
April 15, 2017
Editor is incredibly aphobic and dismissed and tone-policed the ace/aro community over concern over a book blurb https://twitter.com/lainasparetime/st...

The book itself seems to be super cissexist https://twitter.com/faulknerpainter/s...

And from what I've seen of the editing, it's sloppy and allows outdated ideas and misinformation to stand.

For example, "He. She. Ze. They. Hir. Queer. Trans. A."

WHAT IS THIS A? What does this even mean????

Will not read.
Profile Image for Edith.
83 reviews11 followers
April 15, 2017
White Feminism at its finest. The editor does not care about any woman who is unlike herself, and so this collection is a massive fail at intersectionality. The failure ranges from fake allyship at best to outright hatred, erasure, and exclusion at worst.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews313 followers
January 9, 2017
What an impressive and necessary book.

For teen readers who are hearing about feminism (good or bad opinions about it) and want to know more and learn about how different people express feminism, this is a MUST. For teen readers who identify as feminist and want to get different perspectives on it, this is a MUST. For teen readers who have never once thought about feminism in their lives, this is a MUST.

Kelly Jensen has pooled together a really impressive line up of writers and artists talking about what feminism means to them, the different shades of feminism, what made them think about feminism for the first time. I really appreciate all the diverse voices included, both popular authors and some that will be new to readers.

Get this. Get this for your library shelves, your high school classroom shelves, and/or any teen in your life that you care about enough to help their feminist education.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,920 reviews1,258 followers
April 13, 2017
I suppose I should start with one of those disclaimers about how I received a free electronic copy of this from NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers. However, I also preordered two hard copies with my own money (OK, someone else’s money in gift card form) even before that request was approved. But why wait a whole three weeks when I could read it earlier than that? That’s how excited I am for Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak About Feminism for the Real World. It turns out that this book is everything I wanted, and more.

I really like this trend of telling me how many contributors there are in the title of the work, because it saves me from having to count. Suffice it to say, I’m not going to review each piece individually. I will point out that Kelly Jensen has clearly made the effort to be as inclusive and intersectional as possible in this book. Here We are features pieces from white women, Black women, Indigenous women, trans men and trans women, straight women, gay women, and even that rarest of breeds, yes, the straight white male. The contributors are of various ages, professions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Indeed, pretty much the only thing that unites all of them is that they are in this book, and they identify as feminist.

Readers won’t see themselves in every contributor and every piece in Here We Are. And that’s kind of the point. The essays and other pieces in this collection seek to give advice, sure. Beyond this, though, they simply provide perspectives. Readers won’t see themselves in every contributor, but they will hopefully identify with some of the contributors. And they will get a chance to hear from voices whose experiences are very different from their own. For example, Constance Augusta Zaber’s “Dragging Myself into Self-Love” would surely resonate with many boys:

Looking back, I can recognize how hard puberty must have been for them, but at the time, I envied those girls. I envied their pierced ears, their lip gloss, their long hair, their shoes that weren’t boring old sneakers. I was envious that they were allowed to make choices with clothes and makeup that were off limits to me. By the eighth grade, I’d been exposed to the idea that gender roles were created by humans and were more arbitrary than natural (thank you, Internet!), but that sort of abstract information is useless in the face of classmates who would mock a boy for having a purple backpack.

(Emphasis mine.) Although I perform gender in a fairly standard, masculine way, I definitely understand where Zaber is coming from and can identify with chafing at some of the restrictions placed upon people who perform gender as male. For boys who are considering that they might be trans or nonbinary or agender or simply prefer more fashion choices, this is an essay that tells them they are not alone. For the girls who are the primary target audience of Here We Are, it’s a glimpse into how feminist thought and action benefits all people, regardless of gender.

Here We Are is unequivocal in its inclusiveness:

Feminists can identify as female, male, transgender, gender queer, or any other way they wish to. They can choose to choose no identity at all or choose one identity today and a different one next week. What physical parts individuals have or do not have has no bearing on their feminism nor on their right to be part of the feminism party. All that matters is that they believe in equality for every individual.

Whether you identify as a trans man, move fluidly among genders, enjoy having sex freely, or prefer not to have sex at all, you belong here and you matter.

(Yeah, a little asexual representation there. Not a whole lot, unfortunately, but a little. I wish Jensen had included an asexual contributor to discuss how a lack of attraction is normal and OK, and maybe even someone who is aromantic or whose romantic orientation differs from their sexual orientation. Also, in case you’re reading this and wondering: yes, there really are feminism parties. They are every second Thursday, and like the dark side, we have cookies, although we don’t have imperialist oppression of entire planetary systems.)

Mikki Kendall also puts it very well in her essay, “Facets of Feminism”, when she says, “A feminism that is exclusionary, that makes objects out of some women and saviors out of others, is implicitly harmful.… An inclusive feminism is a more effective feminism.” And earlier in this chapter, the book reminds us that liking problematic media doesn’t disqualify you as a feminist either, that “it’s from these problematic representations that great feminist dialogue emerges”, and then cites one of my favourite problematic shows, Supernatural. This is a salient point to remember in an age that bombards us with media representation that is often simultaneously problematic and entertaining, and I appreciate that Here We Are takes the time to counter the myth that feminism means hating men, hating yourself, or indeed, hating everything—it does not.

The word feminist is certainly more in the popular mind than it was when I was a teenager in the early noughties. My adolescence straddled the divide between pre- and post-social media, as well as pre- and post-smartphone; in Grade 8 it was all about the LiveJournal and the GeoCities, and by the time I was graduating high school Facebook had thrown open its doors to the general public and the iPhone had just heralded the beginning of the smartphone era. In this environment, feminism was something we didn’t really discuss too much as teenagers. I ran with a pretty smart group of kids (after my first high school closed in Grade 10, I took to eating lunch in the band wing with the “band geeks”, despite my lack of musical talent, because lots of them were from my old school and it seemed preferable to the noisy cafeteria). We were reasonably enlightened, I’d like to say, and we talked about these kinds of issues. But textbooks and theories and that kind of academic rigour were not yet on the horizon, so we didn’t always have the language required to grapple with them.

This book is much more accessible. It covers pretty much everything and anything related to feminism to one degree or another. I appreciate that it has separate chapters on sex and relationships, since these are very different but often conflated concepts. I like that it has a combination of personal essays, reprinted essays, interviews, comics and drawings, and lists. The “scrapbook style” book is not a form I want to read all the time, but I acknowledge its appeal. As an adult and a professional and (gasp) an intellectual, I can read all the academic theory books about feminism that I want. I can’t really put those into the hands of teenagers, however, and expect them to have the same eye-opening experiences that I do. Instead, Here We Are is a book with ideas, stories, and advice they can take an act on immediately.

Even as feminism becomes more popular, it also becomes a commodity. Corporations are happy to co-opt feminist slogans and terminology if it means they can sell feminism. “Buy this thing to make you more feminist!” “Buy this thing to support our feminist initiatives!” Buy, buy, buy. “Buy this to learn the ultimate secret to feminism…” Except there is no secret. There is no one, right way to be feminist. There is no feminist checklist that, if followed, will make you the perfect, unprivileged, unbiased, feminist person.

OK, I lied. There is a secret. Do you want to know what it is?

Most young people are already feminists.

They might not know it, and if they know it, they might not readily admit to it (because that can come with a social cost they are unwilling to pay). But young people, by and large, believe in their own empowerment. They believe in equality for all genders. They don’t understand what the fuss is about if you love someone of the same gender—or if you don’t fall in love at all. The stories we see in the news about proms being shut down because a girl wants to bring another girl, or wear a tuxedo, or wears a dress that is too short—it’s not other teens shutting down these events, creating this fuss. It’s the adults who are unwilling to open their minds and change their views. I can’t remember who said this, but young people are always on the winning side of history.

Here We Are embraces this youth power and energy rather than talking down to it. It sees the feminist, good and bad and hidden and out, in everyone and speaks to them. It’s a little bit Oprah, I guess: “You can be feminist! And you can be feminist! And you can be feminist!”, but I don’t see this as a bad thing. The worst thing we, adult progressives and feminists and allies, can do at this point is to ignore, condescend, or silence young people trying to speak up, learn about, and claim a feminist identity. Here We Are is a book for youth that is proudly, loudly feminist and tells young people that they can shout about (or not, as they choose) being feminist too. I think that’s pretty cool.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Jacquelyn.
444 reviews204 followers
January 31, 2017
This was a really great collection of stories/writing pieces that was extremely inspiring, eye-opening, and vital to this day in society. I thought that the different pieces and authors were all so interesting and educational. I learned a lot about feminism in general but also about intersectional feminism and what it does and does not mean to call yourself a feminist. There were a lot of diverse authors and topics discussed in this book and I loved seeing feminism discussed by people of all different religions, ethnicities, races, genders, etc. I'd really recommend this book; it's very creative and relative to today's societal issues and discussions.
Profile Image for Mima.
355 reviews20 followers
June 12, 2017
There were a lot of interesting and thought-provoking pieces in this anthology.

My favourite thing about it was that the pieces felt like they were in exactly the right order, they seemed to flow well from one essay into the next.

The thing I struggled with most about the book was the way that the book claimed to be diverse. I felt like the book was just trying to tick diversity off the list, rather than actually be inclusive. I was not represented here.

Overall, I enjoyed this collection a lot, but would have liked to see even just one essay that i could really relate to in terms of diversity.
Profile Image for Demi.
195 reviews18 followers
November 22, 2016
This anthology is so good!! Brilliant and diverse. I wish I'd had this as a teen. I might have avoided a decade of self-loathing.
Profile Image for Megan  (thebookishtwins).
527 reviews171 followers
February 26, 2017
I received this free from the publisher via NetGalley

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World is an inclusive and feminist-as-hell anthology featuring numerous essays on numerous topics and what feminism means to them. It features playlists, reading lists, and illustrations. I believe Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World should be essential reading for feminists.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World features powerful pieces from a diverse collection of authors from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds - authors of colour, from different races, religions. There are gay and trans authors, disabled authors etc. Kelly Jensen has made an impressive attempt to collect and put together an intersectional feminist anthology.

There is something in this anthology for most feminists. There are too many pieces in here to review every single piece, no matter how much I want to, but I will highlight some. I loved Roxane Gay's excerpt from her book Bad Feminist. Courtney Summers piece on 'unlikeable female characters' was also a favourite, where she talks about the demand placed on female characters to be 'nice' and 'likeable' rather than the messy and complex human beings that women are. Alida Nugent essay titled 'Pretty Enough' was very powerful - about how she struggled as a child with her appearance due to the white beauty standards she's been surrounded by.

There was also a great piece by Angie Manfredi about reclaiming the word fat and about reclaiming her own body. I also really liked Constance Augusta Zaber's piece about feminism, female image, make-up, and what it means to her as a trans woman. There was also a fantastic, emotional, and powerful piece by Kayla Whaley about her disability. Kaye Mirza also has an insightful and honest piece about how people think her faith and feminism don't go together, she writes that 'as long as I practice my faith, to many, I am nothing more but a secondhand feminist'. She talks about the racism and Islamophobia she has faced her entire life from people who think she's oppressed due to her faith - an important piece.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World ended with a great piece by Kelly Jensen on 'quiet feminism' that really resonated with me. She talked about how her feminism was quiet and less visible. Her feminism is more about support and being in the background, rather than on the front lines.

'My feminism was, and still is, lowercase. My strengths, listening and thinking, assessing and supporting, matter just as much as the strengths of the louder, more visible feminists.'

There were so many more great piece, so I do really suggest you pick this one up, I highly recommend it.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World is 'a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist.' It's highly important, informative, and a fun resource for teenagers just discovering themselves and their own feminism. So, if you know a teenager - give them this.
Profile Image for Alison.
548 reviews3,654 followers
May 30, 2017
This is a MUST READ for everyone in my opinion. There were so many articles I could relate to and others that were eye opening. This answered so many questions I didn't even realize I had about feminism and I felt it really focused on all topics that fall under feminism. I will be coming back to a lot of these essays in the future.
Profile Image for Sarah.
281 reviews55 followers
Want to read
February 21, 2017
A YA anthology of essays, lists, poems, photos, and illustrations about feminism from a diverse range of well-known voices.
Authors include Courtney Summers and Kody Keplinger?
This is too good to be true.
Profile Image for Hannah (jellicoereads).
792 reviews152 followers
February 23, 2017
An incredibly engaging collection of essays, and one of the most important non-fiction YA reads of the year. Buy it for every teenage girl in your life. Buy it for every teenage boy in your life. Buy it for every teenager who doesn’t conform to the gender binary. Hell, I know many, many adults who would benefit from the messages contained in this diverse celebration of feminism. I know I did.

One thing that really struck me about this anthology is that there really is something for everybody. While it starts out explaining some of the basic feminism concepts, there’s also plenty of material for those of us who are more widely read on the subject. From fat-acceptance and body positivity, to intersectional feminism in terms of class, race, sexuality and disability, we are treated to a range of contributors from all walks of life who share their thoughts and experiences.

The contribution that really resonated with me was the essay entitled “The Likeability Rule” by Courtney Summers. In it, she discusses the way we react to ‘unlikeable’ female characters in fiction, compared to so-called likable ones, who are somehow seen as more deserving and whose stories are much more palatable. This too, in contrast with unlikeable male characters, who are often praised for their emotional complexity while girls are demonized for it.

It’s critical we examine the kinds of standards we hold fictional girls to and consider how it reflects in the way we treat real girls, and most important, what kind of emotional impact that has on them. What are we saying to girls when we cannot accept difficult, hurting female characters as being worthy of love because they are difficult and hurting?

See the full review at The Young Folks
Profile Image for Bryony Nelson.
173 reviews47 followers
February 7, 2017
I absolutely super-duperly hugely loved this collection of art, poems and essays from all kinds of people about 21st Century feminism.

It made me feel all the feels and I'm pretty sure my heart broke multiple times throughout this book.

This is such an important book that I URGE everyone to read. If you're not into feminism or you don't like to label yourself as one, it's still an influential read to hear about others experiences and way of lives in today's society. Gah, just go read it.

I'm so glad this was my first read of 2017!

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jamie (Books and Ladders).
1,336 reviews190 followers
February 11, 2017
There were parts of this I LOVED but the Pop Culture section made me a little meh because of things included (and some things that were not included). as well I would have enjoyed trigger warnings on the essays about what to be expected for potential triggers. However this has a good spectrum of inclusion and information about feminism and what it means to be a modern feminist. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for LynnDee (LynnDee's Library).
517 reviews39 followers
December 23, 2017
This is geared to teens but is really a must-read for everyone. It features a variety of voices, both male and female, also non-binary, gender fluid, etc. Voices of different ages and cultures. All of these voices speak about feminism and it's importance. Myths are debunked, questions answered, and a lot of important points are made. I think no matter where you are on your feminist journey, there is an essay in this collection that will speak to you. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Tiff.
572 reviews538 followers
Want to read
March 8, 2017
Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit:
here-we-are-boss-babes-giveaway-banner-image-mostly-ya-litHi all, happy International Women's Day! Happy Women's History Month! I'm so delighted today to be hosting a special giveaway of two amazing, girl-centric, feminist books: Here We Are: Feminism For the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen, and Boss Babes: A Coloring & Activity Book for Grown-Ups by Michelle Volansky!
A little background on this giveaway:
As a lot of you know, I'm a feminist and a strong supporter of equality. It's been deeply disturbing to see what's going on in the US with regards to President Trump and women's rights. And it's even scarier to see how threads of misogyny, prejudice, and racism are coming out of the woodwork in Canada.

Last year, I did a giveaway of Boss Babes for Workman Publishing, and it was really popular with you guys, but also with friends and family who don't normally read YA. In fact, my best friend's four-year old daughter came over to visit and immediately grabbed for my copy of Boss Babes to colour.

I knew it in my mind, but to see how much people were clamoring for great content that was feminist, that promoted women? That was a joy.

So when Here We Are came out, I contacted my friends at Thomas Allen, who distribute both Workman Publishing and Algonquin Books in Canada. I asked if I could do a promo and giveaway of both of these amazing books, together. And, dare I say it, here we are.

more about Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World & Boss Babes

Instead of telling you just how awesome Here We Are is, here are a couple of pages from it. I haven't finished reading all the essays, but what I love about this book is that it's a guide that's easily read and thought about in chunks. There is great history on the women's movement, and then the book delves into different issues - feminism in relationships, gender identity, sexuality, pop culture, bodies, ambition, and more.



Also, it's super-fun. I feel like I've already learned so much just by thumbing through.


If you're thinking at all about learning more about feminism, intersectionality, how to be an ally, this is the most fun you'll have doing it. It refuses to talk down to teens. It's definitely a book that both adults and young women can read.

I already talked a bit about Boss Babes in my post last year, so this year, I thought I'd share two new pages with you!

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One lucky person in the US or Canada will win finished copies of both Here We Are and Boss Babes! Sign up below to enter - and please share the giveaway if you can! Let's spread some girl power all over the world, today, and this month!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Profile Image for Claire (Book Blog Bird).
1,053 reviews38 followers
June 12, 2017
4.5 stars

I've read quite a few What-Feminism-Means-In-The-Real-World type books recently and it's not really something that is going to get old any time soon for me. There are so many different takes on feminism and so many ways it can be interpreted, I always find some new or interesting way of looking at things. And that's why I think this book worked so well - it has like fifty contributors, so there are lots of opinions to read about.

One of the things I liked most was the range of intersectional feminist topics: we had gay and transgender contributors, contributors of many religions, races and backgrounds. This isn't something you see that often - too many books about feminism focus on what it's like to be a white, straight feminist and while this is valid it was definitely good to get other people's experiences represented.

My favourite contributors were:

Courtney Summers (who is a joy in literally everything she writes) talking about why she writes unlikeable charaters.

I Have Always Eaten the Bread by Lily Myers - about body image

Don't Peak in High School by Mindy Kaling, who is razor-sharp

I Absolutely Consider Myself a Feminist by Laverne Cox

One thing I would say is that the tome of this book isquite different to another (excellent) book on Teen Feminism I read recently, which was Girl Up by Laura Bates (of Everyday Sexism 'fame'). I think it's because this book is mostly American contributors, whereas Bates is from the UK. Girl Up is full of scalpel-sharp wit and humour, wheras this book is a bit more earnest in tone. I think I identified with Girl Up a bit more than with this book, but it is still a really good read and totally thought-provoking.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,098 reviews286 followers
November 12, 2016
I hope that plenty of teen girls read this and learn more about feminism. I honestly don't know if this would have been a difference-maker for me when I was in high school and I didn't come into my feminism until college, but I think it was a less common word ten years ago. I learned everything I needed to know in my Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class, then did a lot of my own reading and directed study afterwards. Since then, it's been a huge part of discourse with celebrities and politics. For teens who don't know much about it, or don't think they're feminists, this book could help them learn nearly everything they need to know about countless aspects of feminism. Hopefully they hear the word and are curious to learn more, then reach for this book. I would definitely consider buying this for my little sister.

I can tell the book is suitable for its intended audience and gives a really good overview. For someone who has taken classes or has read a lot of books about the topic, it won't teach anything new. Don't get me wrong! I loved the style of the book and the variety of stories, comics, poems, and lists inside. The format kept it very engaging even if the material was very broad. I loved hearing from authors and celebrities I know - everyone from Kody Keplinger to Mindy Kaling.

Overall, I can't wait to flip through a finished copy of this to see how it all prints out. The scrapbook style is really fun but harder to read on an iPad. Some of my favorite essays/comics were:
- Bad Feminist: Take Two - Roxane Gay
- So I Guess This is Growing Up - Liz Prince
- Don't Cash Crop on My Cornrows - Amandla Stenberg
- Don't Peak in High School - Mindy Kaling
Profile Image for ana.
272 reviews17 followers
June 16, 2017
This is a great introduction to Feminism, it touches on a lot of important issues like body positivity, gender identity, intersectionality, and much more.
The essays, written by a diverse group of people, showed different, genuine, raw, insightful, at times emotional perspectives of lives lived, lessons learned and hope for a better future.
There were also gems like a playlist full of feminist songs, list of 10 female friendships, 10 amazing scientists who happen to be women among other lists and a lot of feminist literature and movie recommendations which I appreciated a lot, and will be spending some time researching.
At last, I couldn't help but to feel empowered by these voices and also so happy to know that there are people fighting for good causes as Rafe Posey says "[Feminism is] about making the world better, and kinder. Your feminism can be more powerful than any generation's has ever been, if it opens itself to everyone who needs it . You can take over the world with your empathy and inclusion."
I will definitely be coming back to reread a few essays in the future.
I can't recommend this enough, everyone should read it!!
Profile Image for Marta :}.
455 reviews512 followers
February 21, 2017
You need this book in your life, trust me.
This is an anthology of essays dedicated to young adults that want to understand the concept of feminism better and what it means to be a feminist. It has so many perspectives - from the 'low-key' feminist to the 'high-key' feminist - it is so inclusive, it shows how we all as women have different issues and we should use our voices to talk about the things that happened to us and ask for our rights. It also raises the issue that feminists can still be racists, homophobes, transphobes and so on. It also talks about girl-hate, about the nice girl complex and just everything you need to know about how society tries to manipulate us and put girl against girl and have us stay pretty and silent.
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