The release of Scarlett Curtis’ book Feminists don’t wear pink and other lies covered headlines and social media feeds not two weeks ago, when Topshop took down a pop-up promoting the newest feminist book. Intrigued to read different inspirational women’s takes on the F-word and what it means to them, I bought a copy immediately and couldn’t put it down. Here are my thoughts on this empowering title and the stories within it.

 

Compiled by journalist and activist, Scarlett Curtis in partnership with Girl Up, Feminists don’t wear pink and other lies brings us a thought-provoking collection of essays from inspiring women from a range of backgrounds, cultures and professions, discussing what feminism means to them. By reading about feminism from such a range of perspectives and personal experiences, we are reminded that feminism is a varied issue which takes a multitude of forms, and is perceived differently by unique individuals, based on our upbringings and life experiences.

“Every girl has a unique and powerful story to tell. We celebrate these stories and the diversity of our movement across our global community” – Girl Up, global feminist leadership initiative

By presenting such a range of voices, Feminists don’t wear pink celebrates diversity, yet empowers readers towards achieving our shared goal: equality.

That’s what I loved the most about this book: being able to read about the issues from women of different experiences and walks of life. It’s a very powerful format to have taken and, I think, very effective. I found myself relating to many of the stories and anecdotes, namely Evanna Lynch who talks about her mixed feelings towards make-up and dressing up and the worries that enjoying such pastimes makes her not a feminist. Her essay really highlights the confusion so many women feel about what it actually means to be a feminist. Reading Adwoa Aboah and Amika George’s protest about the stigma surrounding periods, the worries of leaking and hiding tampons up sleeves, I found myself smiling; because she describes situations I’ve been in many times before. Being able to hear that such inspirational, well-known women face exactly the same worries as myself left me feeling empowered and encouraged to ditch the shame.

In the same breath, I was incredibly moved and shocked by other women’s stories, especially that told by Nimco Ali who discussed her personal experience with Female Genital Mutilation and her determination to get the rates of such life-threatening surgeries reduced. It was an incredible journey and powerful essay, which reminded me just how desperately feminism is needed throughout the world and how much harder we have to continue to fight for women worldwide.

Whilst the gender pay gap, and gendered toys are significant issue that need to be tackled, this book provides a harsh reminder that feminism is about so much more than that; it really can be a matter of life and death.

I could not have anticipated the empowerment and inspiration Feminists don’t wear pink would give me to keep doing my part for the cause wherever I can: both for the injustices against women worldwide, and those which affect me more personally. Even just the reminder that Jaffa cakes and vodka jellies are considered essential, and menstrual products are classed as luxury (discussed by Amika George) was enough to wind up my desire to fight back against the smaller injustices.

“Whether you are quietly active or loudly roaring, you are an ally” – Angela Yee, Radio Presenter

It was this balanced mixture of serious and light-hearted stories in this book which really resonated with me, and I’m sure I’ll keep thinking about the arguments presented and experiences expressed for a long time to come.

What I really appreciated that Scarlett managed to achieve perfectly was the accessibility of the writings and information. Feminism is known to be an incredibly complex topic and one which I think intimidates a lot of people from reading about and yet Feminists don’t wear pink helps readers gain a clear understanding whilst encouraging an emotional connection to the cause, explaining personal feminist issues in a fun and encouraging way that all readers can enjoy and understand. This really makes this book stand out; being accessible by teenagers and adults alike. It is difficult to write for such a large audience, but I think this book really will strike a chord with all who read it, because it serves to unite us all against the issues of equality: that’s why I will be recommending it to all of my friends and family; male and female.

Interestingly, this is a key point which many of the essays highlight, and one which perhaps I hadn’t considered much in the past: feminism is not just an issue for women. The fight for feminism is a fight for equality and empowerment for all; all genders, races, sexualities. Feminists don’t wear pink raises awareness for the global need for equality, defying stereotypes and raising all future generations in the spirit of equality, because gender inequality harms us all.

    “We have a responsibility to nurture not only ourselves, but the future men who are going to stand alongside future women.” – Alison Sudol, Singer-Songwriter and Actor

This is so essential and why this book is exactly what we all need to read at the minute, with its release coming just days after the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh and Trump’s complete disrespect towards Blasey-Ford covered all major news platforms and social media. Whilst the book indeed celebrates women’s empowerment and how far we’ve come in the last 150 years, its timing reminds us, and writings raise awareness for, how far we still have to go in all countries.

At a time when we are too often being reminded of what divides us, there is common ground to be found when we share our stories.” Emma Watson, in her contribution, absolutely hits the nail on the head; describing perfectly the aim and essence of this powerful book and the importance of coming together in this fight for equality and empowerment.

So, whether you’re intrigued or confused about feminism, are looking to learn more, looking for an introduction to the movement, or are an avid feminist wanting to find out how you can help the cause, this book is a must-read for all and one filled with experiences will stay with you for years to come.

You can buy your copy here to help support Girl Up, an initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation and catch Scarlett’s Feminists Don’t Wear Pink podcast on iTunes.

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