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Book Review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies) by Scarlett Curtis


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In an age of constant controversy over women’s issues, including the #MeToo movement and the likes of Trump and Kavanaugh scandals, it is with perfect timing that a new collection of stories on feminism is welcomed into the publishing world.

Curated by Scarlett Curtis, a journalist and activist, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) brings together 52 women to talk about exactly what the ‘F-word’ means to them. These amazing women include: authors such as Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love) and Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary); actresses including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Keira Knightly; YouTubers Zoe Sugg and Tanya Burr; and a whole host of other empowering female figures with a story to tell.

Not only does it contain a plethora of recognisable names from all different fields, the royalties from every sale of the book go to Girl Up, a global leadership development initiative that strives for gender equality and achieve a world where every girl has the same opportunity as the next person, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, age or ability.

The book is split into different sections, with five main elements detailing the pathway to understanding feminism – epiphany, anger, joy, action, and education. There is also a ‘poetry break’ halfway through, full-page quotes, suggestions of further reading from Emma Watson (‘Our Shared Shelf’) and, finally, a few lined pages at the back to jot down any notes you have while reading or inspiring quotes you want to remember.

This book combines everything you need to know about feminism in one handy volume that you can dip in and out of at your leisure. It isn’t there to judge you for not knowing as much about feminism as you feel like you should, or to overwhelm you with so much knowledge on the vast topic that you have to try and wade through to get some sort of understanding from it.

It also hopes to (and arguably successful in its quest to) eliminate the common misconceptions of the term. Curtis herself says that she used to think she didn’t want to be a feminist. She didn’t understand it past its misconception of a make-up free, non-pink wearing woman who hates men and doesn't shave her armpits.

One of my many favourites from the book was “An Interview With My Mum” by Jodie Whittaker, a hilarious few pages that show where ‘feminism’ as a term began for her and for her mother, during which she admits that she is dominating the chat and asks her mum to remind her to ask her more questions. Then they stop for a takeaway and half a bottle of wine before resuming their chat.

As Girl Up says in its foreword, “Just as every girl around the world has her own unique story to tell, she also has her own particular version of what feminism means to her.” And that’s exactly what this book is about; it is about showing that everyone has their own opinion of what feminism encompasses, and that’s okay.

From its serious chapters to the light-hearted, witty ones, this book is important in beginning to change the narrative of what we all understand feminism to be – a necessity in today’s society if progress is finally to be made.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) is published by Penguin. Retail price £12.99.

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