Fifty shades of feminism, compiled by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach & Rachel Holmes

fiftyThis will probably be the most argument-provoking book I’ve yet reviewed: feminism tends to do that. From the people who don’t think feminism is any longer relevant to the committed feminists who think all other feminists are doing it wrong, it’s pretty unusual to find people agreeing about any aspects of feminism. While that might not prove very helpful for feminism itself, it does make for a great book! 
Inspired by the success of the fifty shades books (and possibly by a bottle of wine or two, from the interviews I’ve heard with the editors), they set out to collect 50 pieces about feminism by women. The pieces were written independently by different people with different opinions and life experiences, which leads to nice serendipitous agreements and clashes between the pieces (my favourite being one women saying that anyone calling themselves a post-feminist must have burnt their brains and kept their bra, and almost the next piece saying ‘I think the label I feel most comfortable with is post-feminist’.)
The tone of individual pieces ranges from acerbic humour to academic, the subjects from how feminism intersects with colonialism to the politics of high heels and pubic hair.  
I loved this book. I found pieces that were thought-provoking, funny, irritatingly stupid, brilliantly irreverent and even deeply emotional. The piece on sexism in publishing should be read by every reader, librarian, book seller and everyone in the publishing industry.
Strongly recommended! 

One response

  1. […] class system of the UK; Feral by George Monbiot- on the successes and failures of conservation; and Fifty shades of feminism, compiled by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach & Rachel Holmes- a very readable series of essays on […]


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