I don’t know why I can’t seem to get enough of books that make me kind of angry at the world, but… I’m definitely on a binge through. It’s certainly important, in my opinion, to think about these issues and challenge our own ways of thinking about the world. This week’s pick, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women definitely gave me a lot to think about.
This book takes one unruly woman as the focus of each chapter, with each chapter named for that woman’s primary “offense” in terms of being too much of something. Of course, each woman is accused of unruliness across many sectors, because sexism is complicated and widespread.
Chapters such as “Too Fat: Melissa McCarthy” or “Too Loud: Jennifer Weiner” shed light not only on their title public figures, but on the offenses lobbied against them and what those actually represent in society. To be too fat is to refuse to exercise the demanded control over your body, curtailing it to behave. To be too loud is to have opinions as publicly as men do–especially if those opinions go against the status quo.
One thing that I liked best about this book was that it really, really challenged me and my own perceptions of the world. Figures like Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, and Lena Dunham are complicated in the public eye, and seeing their stories through the lens of why we label women as unruly helped me re-examine my opinions of these women an how they’re portrayed in the media. This book made me sit and think about things I hadn’t thought about before, like what it means for Serena and Venus Williams to take center stage in the world of tennis, or whether Lena Dunham should be shamed for saying she doesn’t like “airport chick lit.”
I recommend the hell out of this book. It made me uncomfortable and a little bit angry in the best of ways. I think I’ll be diving back in to this one time and time again as I continue to think about how I think about other women.