The Feminist Orchestra Bookclub discussion

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message 1: by Jean (last edited Feb 29, 2016 04:33PM) (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments I'm presuming we don't have to really worry about spoilers given this is non-fiction interviews but if you feel anything in your post is spoiler-y please mark it :D.

Also for any reviews, videos, blog posts etc. regarding this book and the book club I'll make a separate thread to post them in.

I'm also debating doing a live show at the end of March to gives us more of 'book club' get together space if people would be interested.

Anywaaaay, looking forward to reading this book along with everyone and I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts ^_^!


message 2: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vll1990) Great, I can't wait to join in the discussion! I'm probably going to start it in a couple of days, as there's a short story collection I'd like to get to first - is there a timeframe for this read, or just all month long?


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I am so excited for this book! I'm hoping to start it tomorrow and fly through it.


message 4: by Jean (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Jean wrote: "I'm presuming we don't have to really worry about spoilers given this is non-fiction interviews but if you feel anything in your post is spoiler-y please mark it :D.

Also for any reviews, videos, ..."


Yay ^_^ and yeah just going for the entirety of the month, an ongoing discussion throughout the month. People can also share their reviews etc. in the vidoes/blog post thread if they post one during the month of after. Thinking of doing a live show during the final week of March, if that suits :).


message 5: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vll1990) Jean wrote: "Jean wrote: "I'm presuming we don't have to really worry about spoilers given this is non-fiction interviews but if you feel anything in your post is spoiler-y please mark it :D.

Also for any revi..."


Live show sounds fabulous, great idea :)


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Live show sounds great!


message 7: by Joey (new)

Joey (greenapplefields) | 4 comments I'd love a live show! I'm already halfway through the book and I'm loving it :D I borrowed it from the library this time, but will definitely be buying my own copy.


message 8: by Allie (new)

Allie Croghan | 4 comments I am waiting for the book to come in the mail. once it does I will start reading it. can't wait and I hope there is a live show. I'm excited my first online bookclub.


message 9: by Rosie (new)

Rosie | 2 comments I finished reading this book yesterday and I'm now really interested to hear what other people thought!
I ended up giving it a 3* rating. I found some of the essays included in the book sparked some interesting thoughts and were well put together, particularly the entries by Laura Bates and Isabel Adomakoh Young, and a lot of important topics were included by women from diverse backgrounds. But, I also thought they could've addressed the topics that were raised so much more in-depth, instead of doing what felt like skimming over it a bit. Most of the essays were really short, padded out with quotes from other places, and similar points seemed to be made across essays.
Anyway, looking forward to a discussion and I think a live show is a great idea!


message 10: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1 comments I finished the book today and I really liked it. I particulary liked the variety of authors from different backgrounds and the small quotes and segments inbetween the essays. If you've already read some feminist literature, most of the details come as no surprise but I still learned of some new viewpoints. I agree with Rosie that the essays could've gone into more detail and you might still have to research to get more in-depth information but as the title says, I see this book as an overview of different views on feminism and not a thorough analysis. This book will give you lots to think about and I'd definitely recommend it.


message 11: by Cristina (last edited Mar 06, 2016 09:36AM) (new)

Cristina | 3 comments I have just finished the book and agree with the above comments. I was excited to read this because although I definitely identify as a feminist I tend not to read non-fiction, i.e. feminist non-fiction. I think this book provides a good overview to various feminist arguments and helped to reaffirm my own opinions. Nevertheless I do wish the essays were longer and had more depth - but it's definitely a good place to start.


message 12: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (nanawintour) | 6 comments I finished this yesterday and gave it five stars. I agree with Cristina and others, this is a really brilliant taster for anyone interested in feminism but doesn't want to dive straight off the deep end. It gets you thinking, might make you a bit angry at some of the injustice in the world (as I felt with the essay on acid violence). There's some great essays from women I respect and admire as well as their quotes intermingled throughout, Gloria Steinem, Laura Bates just to name two off the top of my head. Maybe we'll see a follow up to this book in the future. There's definitely more that could be added.

I hope you're all enjoying the book so far :). I'd be keen for a live chat too.


message 13: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (nanawintour) | 6 comments Rosie wrote: "I finished reading this book yesterday and I'm now really interested to hear what other people thought!
I ended up giving it a 3* rating. I found some of the essays included in the book sparked som..."


Agreed Rosie, Laura Bates' essay was one of the best. Have you read her book Everyday Sexism? I'm just about to start that.


message 14: by Jean (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments I'm only a quarter in but I agree with what everyone is saying. It's definitely an introduction to the topic, which I kind of expected, that's why I thought it would be good for month one :); so many people said they didn't really know much about feminism at all so I hope they've got a chance to read it. Hopefully it is inspiring enough to encourage further research into feminism and inequality in society. I'm finding it a quick and easy, although sometimes hard hitting, read.

Would love to read some more in-depth non-fiction as we go on :) and I'm glad to see you all feel the same :). There are some great suggestions on the list that deal in-depth with intersectional feminism especially race. I personally would also love to read more about class and feminism. Another case of double discrimination :(.


message 15: by Rosie (new)

Rosie | 2 comments Sophie wrote: "Agreed Rosie, Laura Bates' essay was one of the best. Have you read her book Everyday Sexism? I'm Just about to start that."

Yes! I think I read it last year and I thought it was fantastic! It really inspired me and opened my eyes to how much of an issue everyday sexism is. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone so I hope you enjoy it :)


message 16: by Janet (new)

Janet (swirlygirlyreads) I just finished the book today and I really enjoyed it. It's a great way to start off the feminist orchestra as it gives a diverse overview of the intersectionalism of today's feminism. I found the essays inspiring particularly as all the writers are under 30, I feel like my generation had to shut up and put up with everyday sexism and to identify as a feminist was to be regarded as a man hating crackpot. It has renewed my interest in feminism and in particular feminist literature and I can't wait to get to grips with more in depth reads on the subject.


message 17: by Dani (new)

Dani (danieadie) | 10 comments Almost half way and enjoying it so far. Completely echo what others have said about it being more of an introduction to the topics.I also like that it's intersectional. I've recently read Everyday Sexism and so far this doesn't resonate the same way. BUT still got loads to go!


message 18: by Dani (new)

Dani (danieadie) | 10 comments Almost half way and enjoying it so far. Completely echo what others have said about it being more of an introduction to the topics.I also like that it's intersectional. I've recently read Everyday Sexism and so far this doesn't resonate the same way. BUT still got loads to go!


message 19: by Heather (new)

Heather (guthrie_nicole) I found this to be a fantastic introduction to basic ideas of modern feminism. While it was a bit on the surface and a bit young for me (I'm 29, so edging out of the represented demographic), I plan to pass this on to a friend's 13 year old daughter. It will come at an absolutely perfect time for her.


message 20: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Ng | 2 comments Happy International Women's Day, everyone!! Have a blast!

I'm half way through the book. I agree with what others said so far - the book's target demographic is teenagers. I imagine I'd be very excited to have found such a book when I was younger. I remembered feeling the same as the essay "Silent screamers" by Yas Necati, thinking her classmates didn't give a shit about the discrimination they face everyday, or that feminism is too adult-centric. But that's simply not true(well, maybe the adult-centric part is still true?)

It's quite refreshing to see people of different age, religious, ethnic groups (especially Asian who are so widely ignored in English speaking context!) being represented. The book roots deep in the concept of intersectionality. You have to listen to other people's stories to understand them. There're so many voices in the world. Each of us have our own feminism.

The downside is that each essay is too short and the depth of the discussion is limited, but it's a great introduction to young girls who seek to identify themselves as feminists.

Maybe it's better to discuss each essay individually? There must be a few lines and paragraphs that resonate with you, I hope?

My favourite so far is "Why I am a feminist" by Sofie Hagen (42), "This is not a feminist rant: the language of silencing women" by Alice Stride (73), and "I call myself a feminist" by June Eric-Udorie (83)
I like the line: "It may sound cliched, but feminism saved me. I didn't have a choice; it was either become a feminist or go crazy." (87)


message 21: by Jean (last edited Mar 08, 2016 12:40AM) (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Jenn wrote: "Happy International Women's Day, everyone!! Have a blast!

I'm half way through the book. I agree with what others said so far - the book's target demographic is teenagers. I imagine I'd be very ex..."


I agree with where you're coming from but I don't think the book is exclusively aimed at teenagers at all. I think it is as the title implies for women under 30. I think we assume to often that women in their twenties (and everyone else) will be familiar with and comfortable with the term feminist if they are ever going to be. I think the demographic is just people who are finding their voice, haven't read much feminist lit or would find other's testimonies reassuring and inspiring :).
They're definitely not essays though your right. They're testimonies and I think somebody else nailed it on the head above describing them as resembling blog posts. That is totally it. I think because like you say it is so surface level, the amount of 'blog post' style articles can get a little repetitive if you already strongly call yourself a feminist. ^_^

I also love some of the quotes but think some are a bit out of context and add nothing but heyho.

Also I like the idea of listing favourite articles. I agree that I Call Myself a Feminist by June Eric-Udorie was great - one of my favourites so far (i'm 2/3 of the way in). I also liked Good for a Girl - the first one. This is Not a Feminist Rant & Hotspur stood out from the rest too :).


And Happy International Women's Day too ^_^


message 22: by Joey (new)

Joey (greenapplefields) | 4 comments Just finished reading yeasterday before bed!

I'm not a big non-fiction reader, as I find I get distracted too easily without an engaging story-line, so I greatly enjoyed this format! It was good to have so many different points of view delivered briefly and to the point. It gives you space to do your own research and isn't too invasive (i.e. I disagreed with some of the points made, but they didn't go on long enough to anger me too much or ruin the whole book for me).

It was especially amazing to hear the voices of so many young people and some of their opinions were so close to my heart to make my eyes glisten. It was also interesting to see how I felt about some other perspectives, things that I might have thought in the past but have now evolved from.

I was especially happy to see the inclusion of trans and non-binary opinions and discourse! I was expecting the book to follow the f/m dicothomy, and while it largely did, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a lot of it was inclusive of all genders, not just men and women!


message 23: by Kate (last edited Mar 09, 2016 04:23AM) (new)

Kate (ktweeden) | 3 comments I finished the book a couple of days ago, and generally thought similar things to other comments above: not that it was aimed at young readers, but just those who may not have read much about feminism before. I think it is a good introduction for those readers, with a few caveats (described below!).

I found the descriptions of teenage women becoming involved in feminism and politics more generally really interesting, and quite inspiring. I think I am a little guilty of assuming that they wouldn't be as active as these essays suggest (which is really more of a reflection on my teen years and lack of engagement with, well, much).

I felt that the collection was quite poorly edited. I think that the quotations, whilst interesting and inspiring themselves, often bore no relevance to the essays they preceded or followed, which was a bit of a missed opportunity. The repeated definitions of intersectionality were grating, but not the fault of individual essayists and should have been tidied by an editor. And, this may be personal a preference, I like essay collections to be grouped/ ordered in a way that highlights themes or aspects of individual perspectives that might be harder to see if pieces were read as stand-alone work. I could have read these in any order and lost nothing by doing so. (Happy to have this corrected though if I missed something!).

The biggest disappointment for me, though, was that I didn't feel like it explored the fact that these women were young and living at this specific point in time enough. As mentioned above, I enjoyed learning about teen activism, and that gave me some of this. But, I wanted more about technology and it's impact (both as a tool for activism and a tool for oppression), I wanted something about the impact of the financial crisis (that has loomed large in the lives of many women in the generations covered) on workplace gender relations, house making expectations etc, and, for people not related to one of the main figures in feminist history - what has the legacy of the feminists before left us with, how do we feel about it, what expectations do we place on ourselves because of it, what elements of it do we wish to challenge and how is that being done? There's more that I could list and I didn't expect it to cover everything, just more than it did.

Perhaps this is my own very limited experience talking, and so others felt that made the most of the age of the women - I'd be very interested to know!


message 24: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vll1990) I finished the book yesterday, and I found it to be a very engaging and entertaining read!

I think most of my thoughts will have already been covered here in this discussion thread but here goes...

Pros:
- I like that they included intersectional feminism, and that some of the issues raised included people from the trans community.
- I thought there was a nice variety of subject matter contained in the volume, touching on race/religion/jobs and people from different walks of life with different experiences.
- It was great to hear how engaged younger girls are, even ones just out of school. The number of societies being started up was just fantastic!
- I liked the quotations interspersed for the most part.

Cons:
- I agree that the quotations although a good addition, did not always feel relevant. Also, having them linked to the essays would have been great, but there were definitely ones I would have taken out.
- Probably needed more editing: some of the essays did come across a bit convoluted at times.

Overall I enjoyed it as an introductory read for feminism - it didn't really teach me that much which was new to me, but it definitely got me riled up!


message 25: by Portal in the Pages (last edited Mar 09, 2016 05:48AM) (new)

Portal in the Pages (portalinthepages) I finished this book last week. I would say that my opinions broadly mirror those above.

I felt the quotes were valuable, and would help to break down the text for reader who is seeking this book as an introduction to the topic. I do agree that more work could have been done to ensure that the quotes did relate to the proceeding content but I feel that they were meant as more of a palate cleanser between essays than anything else.

One aspect I did like was that the editors provided detail as to each authors work at the end of the text, which would allow a curious new reader to branch out and seek other texts.

Personally, I don't think the book introduced me to many new aspects of feminism but I still think it's an important book for those who are seeking an 'beginner's guide' to modern feminism. It was accessible, written clearly (for the most part) and I felt it kept pace throughout.

I am looking forward to moving toward some more in depth analysis as the year progresses however!


message 26: by Joey (new)

Joey (greenapplefields) | 4 comments Kate wrote: "I finished the book a couple of days ago, and generally thought similar things to other comments above: not that it was aimed at young readers, but just those who may not have read much about femin..."

You make a very good point! Well, you make several, but I'm talking specifically about the technology issue ^^ I too would have liked to see something more involving technology. For example one issue close to my heart is the way women are portrayed in videogames and how female characters and players are treated in (MMO)RPGs. If anyone here is interested feministfrequency on youtube explores some of this issues in their videos!


message 27: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 10 comments I've just finished the book (I read it in one sitting), and I thought it was certainly worthwhile.

Although I agree with other commentators that most of the essays didn't provide an in-depth-discussion of the subject, I found the collection interesting nevertheless because it gives a broad and up to date account of the status quo of feminism as experienced by young women today. And this is interesting & valuable not only for younger women or teenagers.

It made me a little sad at times, though, to realize that in the almost three decades since I was 'under thirty' so little seems to have improved, in some respects at least (e.g. re everyday sexism, the way women are depicted in the media, equal pay, female representation in government and business). And one of the key issues, in my view, also remains the same, namely that feminism is still broadly considered a 'women's issue'. (Just look at the number of male members in this reading group...).


message 28: by Kate (new)

Kate (ktweeden) | 3 comments Joey wrote: "Kate wrote: "I finished the book a couple of days ago, and generally thought similar things to other comments above: not that it was aimed at young readers, but just those who may not have read muc..."

Thanks!

I was thinking of feminist frequency when I wrote that actually! Not just about what is said on the channel, but also the harassment Anita Sarkeesian has faced because of it.


message 29: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vll1990) I would agree, Feminist Frequency is a fantastic youtube channel. You're right though Kate, it's such a sad thing about what Anita has gone through. Sigh.


message 30: by Jean (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Vanessa wrote: "I would agree, Feminist Frequency is a fantastic youtube channel. You're right though Kate, it's such a sad thing about what Anita has gone through. Sigh."

Oh my gosh I wasn't subscribed - I am now. What great videos, it is so sad she has had to disable the comments on so many :(.


message 31: by Bex (new)

Bex (bex1) | 2 comments I loved this so much. I totally agree with people that it's more of an introduction and I would have loved more depth in some of the pieces, but so many of them touched a nerve, and the book as a whole reminded me of why it's so important for me to act on my feminism. Often I feel like it's enough to just call myself a feminist, and, slightly ironically given the book's title, it reminded me that I need to act like one as well!

Brilliant first pick for the club :-)


message 32: by Megan (new)

Megan (magicandmusingsbooks) | 1 comments I agree with so many of the above comments! This was a fun and informative read, nicely intersectional (which I oddly wasn't expecting but was happily surprised by), but at times repetitive and I found myself doing a fair bit of skimming towards the end. Definitely a good read though :) I would pass this on to people having their first foray into feminist reading, but probably wouldn't recommend to those who have read a fair amount.


message 33: by Francesca (new)

Francesca (utterly_uncool) | 3 comments I finished the book yesterday and I have to agree with what has been said: it's a good introduction on feminism, but I would have liked more depth in some essays, and to know more about the personal experiences of the authors.

Anyway reading it helped me a lot in redefining my view on feminism and gave me the will to read more and educate myself more on the subject.

One aspect, recurring in several essays, that I think is worth discussing is how the word feminism always changes the perspective: the moment you drop the word in a conversation, even if everyone was agreeing with you a moment before, suddenly you feel hostility and defensive behaviour.

I want to quote a paragraph that I liked, from "Women should get to be rubbish too" by Isabel Adomakon Young:
"Women, including fictional women, should have the space to be boring, selfish, stupid, impatient and mean, and to be both empathised with and judged for it as people, regardless of what's under their clothes or how they identify. Same for men and everybody else."


message 34: by Jean (last edited Mar 15, 2016 10:27AM) (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Francesca wrote: "I finished the book yesterday and I have to agree with what has been said: it's a good introduction on feminism, but I would have liked more depth in some essays, and to know more about the persona..."

Yes! The point about dropping the word feminism and everyone acting differently around you really struck home for me. I think I would enjoy a big ol' essay entirely about that aha.


message 35: by Dani (new)

Dani (danieadie) | 10 comments On finishing the book I have to say I really enjoyed it. I've studied feminism but the breadth of perspectives and the personal nature of the entries made it an easy and engaging read. It's a fantastic introduction to the topic.

I thought there were some really interesting common themes, despite the uniqueness of the entries:

Assault - It was really sad, and even sadder that it was unsurprising, that a good portion of the writers had experienced sexual assault in one manner or other. This is a hard topic but it's not talked about enough. The more it's discussed the more people feel they can be open - I was really impressed by how drank the writers were.

Feminism as a safe space - I really loved that a number of the writers discussed how identifying as a feminist or 'finding feminism' gave them confidence and introduced them to some wonderful people and support networks. This was definitely the case for me and I'm glad others have had similar experiences.

The reputation of feminism - In contrast, it was frustrating to read how often the word feminism can be divisive, even with people who support the principles of feminism. Working, living and socialising in quite a feminist environment I'm definitely sheltered from this to an extent. Interestingly not long after this popped into my head a friend asked what I was reading. I explained the about book club and her response was: that sounds like a very man hating place (fear not, I explained that this is not the case). When I told another friend about the conversation their response was that feminism does u fairly have a bad reputation. This was such a reminder of how far we have to go. I know some people distance themselves from the word feminism to manage this but for me it's all about embracing it!

I think this was a perfect first read. I really enjoyed it and loved how inclusive it was. I'm also enjoying reading everyone's thoughts - can't wait for the next read!


message 36: by Dani (new)

Dani (danieadie) | 10 comments On finishing the book I have to say I really enjoyed it. I've studied feminism but the breadth of perspectives and the personal nature of the entries made it an easy and engaging read. It's a fantastic introduction to the topic.

I thought there were some really interesting common themes, despite the uniqueness of the entries:

Assault - It was really sad, and even sadder that it was unsurprising, that a good portion of the writers had experienced sexual assault in one manner or other. This is a hard topic but it's not talked about enough. The more it's discussed the more people feel they can be open - I was really impressed by how drank the writers were.

Feminism as a safe space - I really loved that a number of the writers discussed how identifying as a feminist or 'finding feminism' gave them confidence and introduced them to some wonderful people and support networks. This was definitely the case for me and I'm glad others have had similar experiences.

The reputation of feminism - In contrast, it was frustrating to read how often the word feminism can be divisive, even with people who support the principles of feminism. Working, living and socialising in quite a feminist environment I'm definitely sheltered from this to an extent. Interestingly not long after this popped into my head a friend asked what I was reading. I explained the about book club and her response was: that sounds like a very man hating place (fear not, I explained that this is not the case). When I told another friend about the conversation their response was that feminism does u fairly have a bad reputation. This was such a reminder of how far we have to go. I know some people distance themselves from the word feminism to manage this but for me it's all about embracing it!

I think this was a perfect first read. I really enjoyed it and loved how inclusive it was. I'm also enjoying reading everyone's thoughts - can't wait for the next read!


message 37: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Betts-Green (dr_b-g) As with any essay collection, there were some I enjoyed more than others, but I think this was a great book overall. I have a Bachelor's in Women's Studies, and I thought it was both basic enough for beginners and well written enough for people with some familiarity with feminism. Great choice, Jean! Also, intersectionality!! Yes!


Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks) | 1 comments I just finished this a couple days ago and I have decided to rate it 3/5 stars. Some of the essays were outstanding while others left a lot to be desired. I think I may have enjoyed the little quotes the most. I wish they would have put a description of each person who was writing the essay because I think it would have helped them to make a bigger impact. I know there is a biography of sorts in the back but I couldn't be bothered to constantly flip back and forth. I wanted to know the type of woman I was reading about. Overall I think it is a great place to start with feminist text.


message 39: by Jean (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks) wrote: "I just finished this a couple days ago and I have decided to rate it 3/5 stars. Some of the essays were outstanding while others left a lot to be desired. I think I may have enjoyed the little quot..."

I agree, it would have been nice if those biographies were preceded that persons article :). I didn't even realise they were there till the end and then I couldn't even remember who was who all the time aha.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

I feel odd for really enjoying this as most reviews seem to be otherwise. Both video and blog reviews will be up next week from me so they will be posted in this group if interested.

I just found each testimony really insightful regardless of how much information given and it's made me look at feminism in a broader way.


message 41: by Jean (new)

Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Charlotte wrote: "I feel odd for really enjoying this as most reviews seem to be otherwise. Both video and blog reviews will be up next week from me so they will be posted in this group if interested.

I just found..."


Don't feel odd ^_^ I gave it 4/5 stars - I thought it was a great book that did what it set out to do even if it wasn't perfect.
I also agree only maybe 1 or 2 of the testimonies felt uninformative to me - I didn't need the others to be super analytical and long etc. to have an impact!


message 42: by Jakob (new)

Jakob Tanner Such a good discussion! Confession: this is my first book club (online and irl) and it's just so cool to hear everyone's varying opinions.

I really liked the quotations! But I imagine if you've read a lot of Tina Fey, Caitlin Moran, and others the quotations might feel a bit like filler.


message 43: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (unfinishedbookshelf) | 3 comments I feel bad admitting I'm kind of new to feminism - at least, actively becoming involved in the issues, thinking about them and reading about them. So for me, this book was brilliant. I found every essay and quote interesting and I'm inspired to dig deeper and read more work by each of the contributors.

I can see that for people who have read a lot on these topics it could feel like it was lacking depth, but it's also a perfect book for people who feel intimidated by these issues and don't know where to start to educate themselves.

I loved how broad the topics were and the intersectionality. Brilliant first choice for the club!


message 44: by Tara (new)

Tara Gold (literallytara) | 1 comments I just finished filming my video for this and can now share my thoughts! Like many of the folks above, I liked this and thought it was a good introduction to a very basic concept in feminism: calling oneself a feminist. I loved that it addressed this head-on, considering the current climate in which the very word can carry negative baggage for many.

I knew, based on Jean's review earlier that this month, that the essays would be short and more blog-like. I wasn't disappointed with that aspect, but I also can't wait until we get into books with longer essays and more in-depth content. This will be a great book to pass along to some of the teenagers I know who are budding feminists and I definitely made notes to FINALLY get around to reading some of the great books authored by ladies who contributed essays to this book (Caitlin Moran, Louise O'Neill, and Laura Bates).

I gave it a 3/5 on the Goodreads scale. I'm glad this was our first pick and I look forward to starting A Room of One's Own this weekend!


message 45: by Seonaid (new)

Seonaid | 4 comments Like a lot of other people in the group I feel like this was a really good intro to the idea of calling oneself a feminist and what it can mean. I'll probably pass it on to my little sister once she hits her teens.
A couple of the essays I thought were particularly good but some seemed to take a pretty circuitous route to get to the point, and I wasn't a fan of the endless pages of quotes in between. Less would have made more impact I think.


message 46: by Em (new)

Em | 3 comments i was slightly disappointed as the essays seemed quite repetitive and the message quite similar in each essay.
Yet, a third tackled new standpoints I wasn't aware of, especially when we were given analyses oh what happened outside Europe. This I found quite fascinating as we tend to forget the hardships some women still suffer around the world.


message 47: by Amélie (new)

Amélie  Ara (amliereading-it) | 3 comments I’m a bit late to join the conversation – Easter vacation and so on! – but I really wanted to share my opinion here. I agree with most of the comments regarding the fact that this book is an excellent introduction to feminism (well done, Jean!) but only touches upon the various subjects it tackles.

It was my first feminist read and I highly enjoyed it because it gave me a good overview of what contemporary feminism means and what its core subjects and issues are. This book made me feel like digging more into feminist content and checking out the work of some of its authors. However, as many of you said in this discussion, I would have liked the authors to develop their arguments a bit more and go further into the issue(s) they addressed. I was left a bit unsatisfied by most of the essays, which I found interesting but unfortunately too brief and superficial. Obviously that’s an editorial choice and some authors would probably have been glad to have a chance to develop their point – that’s a shame it was not possible.

I think it would have been a good idea to lower the number of contributors and give more space for each contributor to express themselves. Plus, some entries felt redundant to me. Quite a lot of essays deal with how their author got into feminism, and even though this is interesting and quite inspiring, I don’t think all of these essays were absolutely necessary.

On the other hand, quite a few essays really stood out with their subject or their form (“I call myself a feminist with my elbows” by Amy Annette, “Staring at the ceiling: it’s not always as simple as yes or no” by Abigail Matson-Phippard, “A Typical Engineer” by Naomi Mitchison, “What’s in a word?” by Martha Mosse, “‘Roti Kamana’: stories of survival” by Samira Shackle…). These chapters tend to be my favourite. Some of them were really well written and it was a pleasure to read some essays which were a bit “literary” or showed a personal writing style from their author. And I also really enjoyed reading about remote experiences (from my point of view of course) and things I had never really considered before. The chapters dealing with what happens to women in other countries or with rape victims, for instance, really had a strong impact on me.

I’m going to stop here because I want to write a review on my blog and I feel like I’ve already said a lot about this book. This book was definitely worthwhile reading, it really made me think a lot and I can see from the comments here that it didn’t let anyone indifferent, and this is really great. Looking forward to reading the next book!


message 48: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Foulis (ruthlily) | 2 comments I just finished today eep!

But it seems I'm going all in line with popular opinion of this thread. Depth was a bit of an issue for me in some of the essays. Some of them almost felt like first drafts? And this stood out all the more in the stand out chapters, where I became really aware of the difference in quality of writing. However I'm willing to chalk this up to an earnest attempt to get the voices of women under 30. Not meaning younger writers are not good writers, but more that in some cases this will have been their 3rd essay on feminism and not their 100th.

It's also maybe a taste thing. I was really drawn to the more stylised or topic specific essays like Naomi Mitchison's 'A Typical Engineer', which focussed on feminism in the male dominated engineering industry, and Alice Stride's 'This is NOT a feminist rant: the language of silencing women' , which looked at the all too persuasive 'sexist whisper', and 'My journey to feminism' by Louise O'Neill, which had a similar outline to other chapter, but was full of O'Neill's clever wit, sarcasm and humour. In some essays the author's personal voice or writing style really strongly showed in contrast to the almost schooly personal statement vibes I got of a few.

The effort to include non-white and non-cis and non-straight feminist voices was also so great to see. I felt like my claims of intersectional-feminism were bolstered by these really interesting stories.

So I have finished with the feeling that I could probably manage to get my teeth into some more advanced/academic feminist writing, which is an exciting thought as I'd quite like to have a bookshelf full of feminist books that I've actually read AND understood!

I'll share my blog review on the blog reviewy thread! Now on to Virginia Woolf! Exciting!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 8 comments I'm not the book's target audience, for sure, because I'm 37, almost 38. I found more drawn to the short quotations from older more traveled women but still enjoyed reading the various perspectives. One essay had the best plain-language explanation of intersectionality that I've seen (I tend to come across it within the context of academic jargon, which can make it difficult to parse).


message 50: by Celina (new)

Celina | 3 comments Last week in my English class we had discussed about feminism and I wondered how small the amount of people was who talked about feminism and the all the facts there belong!


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