Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
This is a great, depressing book. When I talked to a friend about what I was reading, she didn’t have a lot of interest in this one because, being a woman, she knows how much sexism is out there. Why read a book that is 400 pages of statistics and examples and narrative describing how rough it is to be a woman in the world when you’re living it?
Because it’s important. It’s important to know that we aren’t alone. Plus, the book isn’t just a giant collection of depressing statistics. It’s also a discussion of how women are fighting back. It’s really well done, with chapters devoted to different areas like how politicians are treated, how young girls are treated, how mothers (or assumed-to-be mothers) are treated. The author is also well aware of intersectionality, and devotes time to exploring how the compounding of harassment comes into play for women of color, or disabled people / people with disabilities, or older women.
I was annoyed that one of the pull quotes on the cover was from Cosmo and said the book was a ‘Must read for all women.’ No. It is a must read for all MEN first. They need to see the reality of their actions. We live it, we know it. We aren’t the ones who need the education so much as men are. It’s a long book, so not as easy a sell as, say, We Should All Be Feminists, which is barely longer than a booklet. But it’s full of such solid information, in such an accessible form, that I would like to see more people reading it. I’d love to see people giving it to their sons in middle school, to start them understanding that women are not objects that exist for the amusement of men. They are people, they are not a monolith, and they deserve, just by virtue of existence, to be respected.