Unless you have been living under a rock this year, (which, with the way 2020 has gone, I really wouldn’t blame you for) you might have seen the book Women Don’t Owe You Pretty floating around the internet, hailed as the ‘bible’ for modern feminism.
Feminism is never an easy topic. It’s always met with a sigh or a comment about it being too politically loaded, but Florence Given writes about it in such an accessible way that her activism strikes a chord with many of us. With the heightened tensions around social movements this year, her persuasive words (alongside her bright illustrations) should motivate most of us to acknowledge and champion change.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty isn’t just a book about feminism, the hardships of the gender pay gap and the ‘pretty currency’ (although there is a fair share of this too). It’s a book about privilege, self-accountability and allyship. Given discusses with great eloquence the privilege she experiences by being white, cisgender and non-disabled, in a world of Westernised beauty standards, which have been explored this year with the surge of the BLM movement. Among these issues, Given emphasises how important it is to hold people accountable while also allowing people the space to grow.
Whether it’s the politics of body hair, the ingrained desire to impress men, or the ambiguity of queerness, Given has it covered. Having said that, no one should pretend that this book is all the activism that needs to be done; there are still plenty of perspectives, struggles and questions that have been explored in too little depth or not at all. But, to grasp the basis of modern feminism in 2020, this book is a brilliant, and very approachable, place to start.