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The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Women And Men Today

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  675 ratings  ·  72 reviews
"Whoever says that prostitution is just ordinary work has never walked even a minute in my shoes, or any other girl that I know. Prostitution is actually a trap that most women believe for far too long." Rebecca Saffer, former high-end call girl , interviewed in The Equality Illusion. Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And feminism is now gener ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Faber & Faber
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  675 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really good read, especially if you want something of a 'starter book' for feminism. I've read a lot of this sort of stuff before but Banyard always manages to keep things interesting, readable and well structured, building her theories around a structure of a typical day and how pretty much every area of a woman's life is effected by casual, deep seated sexism from the moment you're born. She also includes a lot of really interesting further reading on grassroots feminism and how easy it is to ...more
I will start this review by accounting my own thoughts on feminism, and I will try to be as certain and bold as Kat Banyard. Bare with me.

Years before reading 'The Equality Illusion' - the first book about feminism I've read - I had considered myself a feminist because, in my teens, I became observant of the differences in gender. I felt I had to think about these things, because I was increasingly aware that people's attitudes - on the TV and movies I watched - concerning women's roles were mak
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Equality Illusion

The book was an eye opener for me. It made me rethink some of my stances on the sex industry, and the idea that it is innocuous and that the women in it are “liberated”(the idea of “agency” and “choice” in when there really isn’t any). It is a grim book, and it will anger you, but that’s good because that means you’ve been shaken out of complacency. We don’t realize just how pervasive sexism is until we notice the subtle ways that we conform to it, Day in and day out. This
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone hesitating to call themselves feminist
Recommended to Katya by: Ceilidh
A few weeks ago, I read and reviewed Halo and decided to go easy on the author for the blatant jabs on feminism she made throughout the novel. Now, that was partly due to my long-held beleif that you're not supposed to yell at children for making a mistake, because the children themselves are going to beat themselves over that when they're older and wiser, but it was also because I didn't quite know what being a feminst meant today. In my restricted worldview (and aided by my epic laziness to re ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
"The Equality Illusion" is an excellent, well structured slice of feminist literature. I have read books similar to this before, but Banyard has made an honest and most interesting read. This book studies the issue's that we, as women, still face today. It discusses how important feminism is, and how it appears to many, that Men and Women are equal, when this most definitely is not the case. Unfortunately equality still exists and is still a major issue in many places and situations.
These argume
I have many issues with this book, the biggest ones being about the chapters on body image and sex work, "Mirror, Mirror On The Wall" and "The Booty Myth". The author's view is very narrow, and the way she presents the issues is very black and white. Basically, all women are victims, and doing plastic surgery is never a free choice. She completely rejects the notion of empowerment when it comes to expressing your sexuality.
Furthermore, she cites Sweden as the paradise for prostituted women, howe
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
'The Equality Illusion' is my first foray into feminist literature and I have to say, it's a great place to start. Written in 2008/2009, Banyard's examination of the issues facing women in the West (and in the UK in particular) is thorough and often thought-provoking as she questions the very foundations of our society and how they define gender roles.

Chapter Two - 'Hands up for a gendered education' - is one of the book's major high points in terms of interesting and unusual content. However, I
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has some great insights into the challenges that the women of today face everyday.
She deals with everyday situations that women find themselves in and exposes a range of issues that we have to deal with simply by virtue of being female.
Starting from school where we get entrenched into an expectation of conforming to particular gender stereotypes, and work where women face everyday discrimination viewed as the inevitable norm.

She deals with issues like eating disorders - a byproduct of
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This was one of a slew of books published around 2010 about the problem of viewing feminism's aims as achieved. From having seen the rise of ideas like 'choice' and 'empowerment' for women as proof of the success of feminism (and thus proof that we don't need it any more), writers began to note that words like choice and empowerment conceal the fact that women still aren't equal with men.

Banyard's approach takes a full day in the life of women, from getting ready in the morning to going to bed a
If you are looking for a well-written and interesting overview of why the job of feminism is very much not yet done, you could do a whole lot worse than this. Banyard mixes statistics (the most common cause of death for pregnant women in the US is murder - I've heard that before but it never fails to shock), argument and interviews with women affected by the issues she discusses, many of whom she met through her work with the Fawcett Society. There is a bit of a focus on the UK, and very much a ...more
Simon Benjamin
Feb 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
The amount of misinformation in this book is mind-blowing. Just 3 random examples from the chapter on IPV:

"Approximately 40-50% of women who visit a hospital ER in the US do so because of injuries their intimate partner inflicted on them."

Given that women constitute a majority of ER patrons, that means on any given day, 1/4 patients would be there as a result of domestic violence. Just ask someone who works in a hospital if this sounds anywhere near correct.

"Domestic violence causes more death a
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kat Banyard gives concise, well organised arguments which reveal how important and relevant feminism is today. On the surface it might seem that men and women are equal and women have achieved what we have long be fighting for. We've won the vote, we have financial independence etc. but just scratching the surface a little you come to realise that the things we normalise, the advertisements around us, the strip clubs, the lower pay all point to the fact that there is still inequality and it's no ...more
Gayle Noble
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism, non-fiction
There are some things that I disagree with in 'choice' feminism. I don't believe that we should have to support every choice made by women just because women chose to do them and they are therefore 'feminist'. Women are as influenced as men by the society and culture around them, and make choices based upon that influence. What I like about this book by Kat Banyard is that she goes the opposite route to so many contemporary writers.

Banyard tackles subjects such as body image, domestic violence,
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of this book was arguments that seem very obvious but clearly do need reiterating. The main things I drew from it were -

- Everyone should be a feminist, and essentially anyone believing female equality is right is a feminist. I find it so depressing that people would never positively identify as racist, but would not want to identify as feminist.

- Porn is too heavily infiltrated with violence and domination to be 'enjoyed' without moral quandry. Like drugs, even if the thing you yourself
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely excellent book. Clearly written. Lots of facts and figures, but a readable style. Sometimes hard to read because of the slightly gruelling nature of the subject matter, but it is a book that everybody (not just women) should read.

It is ultimately hopeful as it gives details of all the initiatives being taken to address the problems raised. I, for one, feel that I must be part of them.
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This really made me think about modern day equality. I suppose I thought we had come much further. Great issues raised. Food for thought!
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kat Banyard's well-researched and passionate arguments about feminism serve as a reaffirmation of its importance in present-day time.

In this book Banyard highlights the disparities in work, salaries, education, sex, relationships, maternity and politics with an interesting narrative that reveals what's underneath the so-called equality that many claim already exists. She explores various topics of inequality and underlines the relevancy of feminism and why there's still so much to achieve regard
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
Used this as a starting literature review for my dissertation, helped to put me in the right direction
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
An important book with relevant discussions.
Margaret Houston
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another well-researched book on modern feminism, though not as well-written as Living Dolls. Banyard gives herself a different remit - she covers legal issues and work issues a lot more thoroughly, and sort of skims over objectification, body image, and the false rhetoric of choice that drives modern raunch culture. This means that her first few chapters, which deal with those topics, are a bit patchy - often, she will act as though she has definitively proven something, when actually her argume ...more
Mark Hebden
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The latest in a welcome plethora of non-academic, accessible books on modern feminism comes from Kat Banyard and is predominantly occupied with the old chestnut of sexism and with that the attitudes towards women from men, the media, advertising and government. It’s a very good polemic on equality or lack thereof for women in modern society. Banyard takes umbrage with the modern “empowering” branch of feminism that she feels has conned women in to accepting a world designed for the exploitation ...more
Stef Rozitis
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think this is an important book to read. The language is eloquent and very quotable and mostly I think the research is pretty good. I am a bit hesitant about agreeing with how extreme some of the claims are. I think some time for convenience there is one side only looked at, and while it tends to be a side I agree with I thought it needed to be a little bit better at looking at the complexity (of course rants sell books and complexity really doeasn't). A redeeming feature was a lot of footnote ...more
For Books' Sake
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Carefully structured around the daily routine, Banyard tackles a different issue in each chapter, opening the discussion with semi-fictional accounts of women’s experience, and backing up each argument with some truly heartbreaking testimonials.

By contextualising issues such as gendered education, violence, and raunch culture within the mundanity of everyday life, Banyard is able to effectively highlight the relentless subjugation women are exposed to, and this is where The Equality Illusion‘s r
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this invaluable feminist manifesto, Kat Banyard uses a powerful combination of personal testimony and exhaustive research to dispel every myth you have heard about feminism and gender equality; that feminism is out of date, even irrelevant; that women and girls today make a free "choice" over how to dress, what to wear, and what career path to follow and lap dancing, stripping, pornography and prostitution are respectable industries that allow women to use their sexuality to empower them. For ...more
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Wow. This book is a few years old now, but if the statistics and research evidence in it are sound, it's a startling look at the position of women in the UK in areas of body image, education, work, domestic violence, sex and reproductive rights.

The most disturbing chapter for me was the chapter on education and sexual harassment at school. The qualitative interviews in that chapter were shocking. Pre-pubescent and teenage girls reporting verbal, physical and psychological harassment from boys t
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a good book if you want an overview of gender inequality (nearly all from the point of view of women), but not such a good book if you want to know the actual science between the inequality (the science behind I equality varies in quality in this book). While it is written about, how inequality is a disadvantage to men in many cases is not strongly emphasized, while I believe focusinging on that could be a major catalysator: men realising that their sexist attitudes - that most have with ...more
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction
Important, clearly written, but hardly groundbreaking. Banyard's book lays out main areas in which feminism has work to do, and the areas surprisingly are broader than simply concerns for first-world middle-class white women. I am not convinced on some of the conclusions Banyard draws (i.e. eyelid cosmetic surgery in Japan is because Japanese women want to look white, because those poor asians have been brainwashed by cultural tyranny, lol? It's more to do with coveting youth than whiteness.) bu ...more
Jessica Gaskin
This is a great book. Highlighting the aspects of sexism that still go unquestioned in our supposedly equal society, some points were really eye-opening, whilst others made me think of well-known issues from a slightly different angle. Instead of ranting about unjustices and placing 'men' as the enemy, Kat Banyard manages to write calmly but persuasively, teasing out some home truths that a rational mind just can't deny. With no single segment of society to blame and very few people unable to ta ...more
Official rating 3.5

This book is specifically written for a British audience which I didn't know when I bought it. Overall, I agree with everything written though it doesn't bring anything new to light. It broaches many subjects but not in details. I find it a great introduction for people who never thought about these questions or read any book on the subject. For those of us who've read books related to the issues raised in this one, everything gets a "superficial" treatment which is why I sett
Iain McNab
Disappointing book which trots out a lot of statistics, anonymous interviews and anecdote to build a case for the need for a new feminist 'project'. I absolutely agree with the basic thesis but the prose is leaden and just reads like a collection of articles knocked off for the Guardian's Society supplement. If it helps make the case to people who haven't thought about the issues at all (and to be fair an underlying assumption is that a lot of people haven't) then fine, but this is no groundbrea ...more
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Kat Banyard is author of The Equality Illusion and is the founder of UK Feminista - an organisation supporting grassroots feminist activism. She is also the founder of FEM Conferences - an acclaimed series of national feminist conferences. In 2010 she was named 'the most influential young feminist in the country', and shortlisted for a Liberty Human Rights Award. Kat featured in Glamour Magazine's ...more