Review Blog

Nov 14 2018

Feminists don't wear pink and other lies by Scarlett Curtis

cover image

Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780241364451
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Scarlett Curtis assembles a magnificent 'guide book' for the Girl-Up movement, with this anthology of short essays, blogs, narratives, lists, poems, diaries, interviews, anecdotes - including an Alphabet. The Girl-Up brand, spanning over 2,000 clubs worldwide, is transparent but both the foreword and further reading sections encourage any and every level of feminism. Listing websites, books and everyday actions, Curtis is expansive, including books like The Hate U Give and The Bone Sparrow to reassure girls that equality for women runs parallel to equality for all people. Important quotes and truisms loom large covering entire pages. 'Women's history is bigger than one person, so the way we talk about the past needs to be as well.'
Kiera Knightly addresses her young daughter fiercely regarding the lie of the weaker sex. Nothing is sacred as her co-contributors gleefully discuss periods, bras, genital mutilation, masturbation, man-hating, ableism, #MeToo, intersectionality and more.
This historical quest for equal rights across gender, age, race, class, disability is pervading, although the history of the women's movement is extolled in the very last 'Education' section. It's a shrewd device because we have spent 300 pages being highly engaged by comedians and actors with amusing perceptions and fascinating experiences - from transgender girls to traditional Muslim girls. The reader does not want for feminist definitions, but Scarlett Curtis, while pinpointing the gender stereotyping of the patriarchy, opens her feminist arms wide, 'The goal of the feminist movement aims to give each person on the planet the freedom to live their life the way they want to live it, unhindered by sexism or oppression or aggression.'
One of the contributors warns against using the internet abounding with confusing fallacies, encouraging girls to go right to the source - the wealth of books written by historical and current feminists. Perhaps drawing on those higher tier needs and habits of humanist thinkers, Curtis encourages girls not to leave any girl behind, rather support them with understanding and encouragement for their own difficult struggles against aggression. Beanie Feldstein's drama teacher encapsulates the books sentiment, 'Stuff your pockets'.
Although females and males of all ages will devour this funny, uplifting and sometimes shocking collection, school libraries are likely to run into problems with the many colloquial referents for female genitalia - thus an 'M' for mature sticker is mandatory. There's not one picture in this verbal 'mash-up' but there's a brilliant reason for the cover's particular shade of pink - finding out is definitely worth it. Want more? Investigate the podcasts on itunes found on the book's site.
Deborah Robins

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