Florence Given – Women Don’t Owe You Pretty

I was intrigued to read this book after picking it up on a whim in Waterstones. It’s described as an ‘accessible entry point into progressive feminist discussion’, which isn’t my usual reading material, but following these kinds of accounts on instagram made me want to give it a try.

It covers topics such as body shaming, identity building, gender double standards and much much more. I was surprised to realise towards the end of the book that the author is quite young – she talks in the book as if she’s had a lot of personal experience (which she may well have), but it did feel to me like it was stretching to have a personal experience for every single chapter.

The other thing that bothered me was that the author claimed to speak with authority on a very wide range of topics, including things like oppression of black women. Given the book has strong vibes of lifting people up and not dismissing lived experience, it felt very weird for a white woman to be writing on that topic – I feel like she could either have left that chapter out or collaborated with another author to bring a black voice into the conversation.

It did bring me a bit of self reflection and the illustrations were great, but I did feel certain parts felt a bit patronising and I would have liked to hear from more voices – it felt like the kind of book that might better be served by having contributions from a range of authors. A great entry-level book though for people new to these kinds of topics.

“You are never going to be your best if subconsciously you’re trying to be someone else’s best. “

My rating: 3.25Average rating: 3.79
224 pages. Published in: 2020
Read in Hardbackon 10th July – 7th September 2021

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