The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White
Everyone, but especially feminists.
In a nutshell:
Comedian Deborah Frances-White, who hosts The Guilty Feminist podcast, brings together previous writing, interviews, and new observations on feminism and the search for equality.
I got the audio book, but I still took this one down in the notes app on my phone:
“When people get angry about gender quotas setting a target for 30% women on boards or one woman on a panel show of five to seven men, we need to remind them that positive discrimination was alive and well and 100% in men’s favor for thousands of years.”
Why I chose it:
I’d not heard of the podcast until a colleague mentioned it to me last year. Then the book popped up as a suggestion so I bought it.
Ah, I loved this book. I even went and downloaded all 200+ of the back catalog of the podcast to listen to in the future. I also plan to buy the paper copy and read and review it next year, as I think there’s a lot that deserves a more closer reading.
This is a fun book, but it’s not a light book, if that makes sense. Frances-White delves into serious topics, and is open about areas she (as white, cis, middle-class woman) is not nearly as well-versed in as others who experience multiple areas of oppression. Each chapter involves an interview with someone who can provide some insight that Frances-White cannot, such as Hannah Gadsby discussing her experience with Nanette, or Leyla Hussein discussing her campaign against FGM.
Frances-White talks about ways to build confidence, using some pretty bang-on examples about why it isn’t just about standing in a power pose (though she doesn’t knock the power pose as a concept). She looks at the history of discrimination, and discussed the intersections that mean a white woman like myself doesn’t experience sexism in the way a disabled woman of color does. She also spends time on discrimination and access issues for disabled women, which I haven’t seen covered as much in other feminist books that aren’t specifically about that concern.
I found the book inspiring, both as a way to speak up more for myself but even more about how to be supportive of other fights. I didn’t agree with EVERYTHING Frances-White had to say (I think she’s probably … nicer than I am), but I found it all interesting.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the I’m a feminist but … statements that she and those she interviewed shared. For those not familiar, it’s a common aspect of the podcast. I’m a feminist but … followed by something that one would traditionally mock or shun or consider too shallow to be reconciled with being a feminist. I love it. We’re all complex. One can do a sit-in for a ban on evictions and also really enjoy wearing high heels. It’s not an either or. Every choice is NOT a feminist one just because a woman made it, but similarly, people are allowed to be complex and have different interests and ways of recharging.
Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it: