Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Review & Giveaway: Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti

Despite my review fatigue at the moment, I knew within two pages of starting Full Frontal Feminism that it was going to be the kind of book that I would want to give to everybody I know for at least the next year. I will admit this is mostly due to how much Jessica Valenti swears in it, but because the swearing totally reinforces her points rather than clouding them in gratuitous bad language.

I've always identified myself as a feminist to greater and lesser degrees - it started off as backlash against growing up among Catholics who thought my ambitions weren't important as I'd only be working till I had kids anyway so why bother even having aspirations? (Just to clarify, I'm not talking about my family here, who are kick-ass, but just random others...) I have to say part of me hates myself for liking the idea of staying at home with Benji, and how much I like cooking and want to earn my living through crafts, but then another part of me understands that it's fine for me to make those decisions, because, and here's the most important thing, I am making them for myself, not having them made for me.

Full Frontal Feminism is pretty much an answer to all those people who say things like 'oh but we don't need feminism anymore, because women are equal now'. Just to clarify, they aren't. Really, really aren't, and if you want all the statistics and information about just how much they aren't, you should be reading this book. I will say that it's very U.S centric, but just because things seem to be a lot more extreme over there, doesn't mean that we don't have a lot of the same problems over here in the U.K. and they aren't just problems for radicals and man-haters, they are problems that all women need to be thinking about and engaging with so we can keep making the world a better place for us and our kids.

I liked the message of the book, which is basically that you should always be aware of your motivations for doing things so that you know when you're doing them for other people or because society expects you to, rather than because you want to, and that we can help make things better and that it's pretty easy to get involved.

Some bits I particularly liked:
"Don't diet. Fuck them and their bullshit beauty standards. Eating can be a powerful act when the world wants you to disappear"
"You're not too fat. You're not too loud. You're not too smart. You're not unladylike. There is nothing wrong with you"
"Shouldn't getting married be about, well, the marriage rather than the party?" (YES!)
  • There's a group in America who released a study which says if you have sex before you're 18, you're more likely to be poor and divorced.... Just wow.
  • Many interesting points are made about how society defines masculinity and how much pressure there is on men to 'be men' (angry wrestler noise). I hadn't really thought about it all that much before but actually I've known people in the past who are seriously messed up because of how hard they're trying to 'be real men' and 'not be girly'.
I don't want to rant on too much. There is some seriously interesting and important stuff in this book about rights women should (and often don't) have and about safety issues and suchlike and I can't really do Valenti's writing justice, but if you are at all interested in living in a world where women and men actually are equal and nobody thinks they're entitled to more than anybody else for purely anatomical reasons, you should be reading this book.

Which is whyyyyyy...... I'm hosting what will very probably be my last giveaway for a while! You can have your very own copy of Full Frontal Feminism, as long as you live in a country which The Book Depository ships to! Just fill in the form and spread the word! :-)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

8 comments:

  1. Ooooooh, gimme gimme gimme! ;) But for reals, I feel like I've read a lot ABOUT this book and I've never actually gotten it because THERE ARE SO MANY FEMINISTY BOOKS, HOW CAN I READ THEM ALL?!?!

    "I have to say part of me hates myself for liking the idea of staying at home with Benji, and how much I like cooking and want to earn my living through crafts,"- Noooooooo! Cause, you know what? THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THINGS THAT ARE TRADITIONALLY 'FEMALE' ACTIVITIES! There's no kind of thing that says that being a feminist means you have to 'be like a man' because, well, doesn't that devalue everything women have done forever? The only problem with it is, like you say, when women don't have a choice about doing such things. Which they never used to AT ALL, which means that women who may have been excellent business minds had to stay at home ALL THE TIME and resent their children, whilst men who were maybe really good at looking after children had to go out and be miserable and bad at making money.

    IT'S ALMOST LIKE THINGS OTHER THAN THE GENITALS YOU HAVE ARE IMPORTANT TO WHAT YOU DO IN LIFE! WHO KNEW?!

    (I'm so sorry I just used genitals on your blog. Twice. But I feel very strongly about this kind of thing!!)

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  3. This book sounds amazing... COUNT ME IN. So, feminism. For me I just feel kinda sad that there still seem to be so many people who think feminism is only for man-hating bra-burners. There are women who think like that and want to BE that kind of feminist, and there are men who still seem to stereotype all feminists that way.

    But feminism ISN'T about hating men, is it? It's about wanting equality for EVERYBODY. Personism. To me it just means striving for equal opportunities in everything, in the workplace, in the home - and being able to make your choices as an individual without being condemned for it based on what you look like and which anatomical bits you've got. This may be the crappest response to this question ever... I'll work on it... :)

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    1. "But feminism ISN'T about hating men, is it? It's about wanting equality for EVERYBODY"

      You just nailed it!

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  4. Feminism has been given a hard time over the years. I don't believe being a fanatic achieves anything, but strong resolve can.

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  5. " "Shouldn't getting married be about, well, the marriage rather than the party?" (YES!)"

    YES! My sister is genuinely confused as to why I don't want a big wedding and would rather spend the money on, I don't know, a HOUSE or a vacation or something that me & the bf would like a lot more.

    Soooo this does sound really interesting. I feel like I might like Valenti more than Moran on this issue... plus Valenti has another book called "Why Have Kids?" that I've been meaning to read! So she sounds interesting and cool on all fronts.

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    1. I love Caitlin Moran but even so i have to admit I preferred Valenti. She's really on point and focused and obviously strongly believes in it all but at the same time she believes in choice and letting people do what they want as long as theyre aware of their reasons for doing things.

      Around the time we got married (we had a small celebration mostly homemade!) a friend was going through a rough time and she kept apologising for 'ruining my hen night's and couldn't understand when I told her it didn't matter - I have the rest of my life to be happy with my hubby, I wasn't hingeing it all on one day!

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  6. i really enjoyed this article,because this was me many years ago,and to a certain degree,this is who i am today
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