“Everyday Sexism” is a book that took my breath away. For both good and bad reasons I was in tears, full of rage, wanting to just scream out loud at the absolute horror of what Laura Bates had discovered in her project.
The Everyday Sexism Project began as a collection of stories from different women in different scenarios, all with the same problem; sexism. Looking at everything from the wage gap (yes, it does exist, just in case any man was thinking about coming along to shout WELL ACTUALLY) to sexual harassment, Laura Bates was bombarded with millions of responses. And so the book was born.
Cleverly written as a combination between facts from around the world and stories from contributions, this book grabs you and shakes you right from the word go. Even as someone who gladly calls themself a feminist and feels educated on the suppression of women’s rights, this book was a slap around the face with what it contained. The amount I learned and the amount I felt is impossible to put into words. I haven’t stopped recommending this book to everyone since the moment I picked it up.
There is a strength that runs through it, wrapped with humour and the brutal understanding that only other women can share. It is also a highly inclusive book, looking at the double prejudice that women of colour, disabled women, and gay women face. This is often overlooked by feminist writers, not in a cruel way, but in the way that we can only truly know what we’ve experienced in life. So coming across the discussion in the book about double prejudice made me want to shout THANK YOU out loud.
The book really is a happy relief in some ways, as there’s always assurances around us that “no one needs feminism any more”, that “men and women are equal now”, and “FEMINAZI!”. That last one is always my favourite, because obviously not wanting to be raped in our millions is the same as being a Nazi.
There are some books that are written that, when you come in contact with them, you know that your life has been changed. In this case I also wonder with all my brain cells why these things are not common sense. I want to make the information from this book magically appear in the brains of the world.
Thank you, Laura Bates, for writing this fantastic book. The world us a better place for having you, and your book, in it.