It’s a bit awkward thinking of what book to write about first. I feel like the first choice is saying a lot about me and about the books itself. But I’m just going to be practical and review the last book I read, although it does happen to have been the inspiration behind the name for this blog so I guess there is something in it. Not to mention that it did something which doesn’t happen often – gave me profound sympathy for Kim Kardashian.
‘Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman’ by Anne Helen Petersen
I picked up this book on a whim. I always enjoy reading more about feminism from different perspectives. Not to mention it’s a Trump world now, we need to be reading more about women – especially women of colour – to make sure their voices are heard. While in the past I have picked up similar books, I often find them a tad too academic and struggle to get past he forward. You see I like the idea of being educated, it is just something these books get a bit too scholar for me.
‘Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud’ was different though. I was drawn in by the chapters which are divided into a different accusation and women who it is often directed toward. ‘Too Slutty’ was Nicki Minaj whose music I love but often struggle a bit to love her as she gives Drake a lapdance and calls out ‘skinny bitches.’ ‘Too Fat’ was Melissa McCarthy who I have always admired for playing leading comedic roles where the joke isn’t her weight, ‘Too Shrill’ was Hillary Clinton who – let’s face it – I can’t read enough about at the moment; ‘Too Pregnant’ Kim Kardashian and so on.
In using an iconic figure it is much easier to relate to the chapter’s subject while Petersen’s writing is down to earth and honest. She presents information in an easy to digest way, balancing pop culture and academia so you feel enlightened without being overloaded. Chapters flicked between pop culture references such as episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s or Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech as the VMA’s (what’s good Miley?) and how they related to the work of women such as bell hooks. I found each chapter left me wanting me, but more importantly it left me seeing these women in a different light.
The Kim Kardashian chapter (Too Pregnant) impacted me the most because it raised something I have thought little about – the way pregnancy is portrayed to women. We are told it is a beautiful and magical time of life when is reality for some women it just sucks. Kim had it exceptionally hard as she was scrutinised for gaining weight and compared to a killer whale, all the time having incredible pain and ending up delivering early in what was an extremely unpleasant sounding birth. Issues such as women being too fat or shrill aren’t new to me, but this was and I appreciate how Petersen touched on such a variety of topics in this book without going into overwhelming detail. The point was not to create a ‘woe is me’ idea of women, but to give examples of the various challenges women face in being who they are.
I flew through this book in two days and have been thinking about it ever since. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of if you are a feminist or not. It’s easy to follow and chances are everyone is going to get something out of one of these chapters.
Five out of five stars.