Amanda Reads: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

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.

Too Fat Too Slutty Too LoudThis 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.

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Amanda Reads: Dear Emma

Ahh, ghosting. As someone who has done the OKC circuit a few times round, I’m quite familiar with the concept–someone is into you until, quite suddenly, they’re not. But do they tell you this? Nah. If they just stop speaking to you, you’ll figure it out… after a few days (or weeks) of driving yourself crazy over-analyzing every last thing you said and did, of course.

Dear Emma cover photo. Blue trim with orange center, featuring a girl on her couch with laptopA ghosting is one of the primary plot points for this week’s read, Dear Emma by Katie Heaney. The protagonist is Harriet, a young woman who runs an advice column called Dear Emma in her college paper. (See what she did there?) The book, which centers around a girl who’s happy giving advice to anyone but herself, is somewhat inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma. Thankfully, though, Harriet’s a great deal more likeable and a lot more relateable.

At the start, we see that Harriet has stopped hearing from a guy she hung out with a few times and made out with once or twice. No texts, no response on social media, and, worst of all, he avoids her in the class they have together! Harriet puzzles over what she could possibly have done and talks to her friends about the situation, reminding me of myself in every ghosting situation ever.

Of course, the plot thickens when the guy’s new main squeeze also happens to work with Harriet at the library.

This book had a lot of great things going for it. The premise was excellent, considering how common a piece of our dating culture ghosting has become. Each character is well drawn and nuanced, and Harriet navigates relationships with other women far more often in the book than she does relationships with men. I liked how her friends and her relationship with the guy’s new girlfriend are the central focus of this book. Although I’m a sucker for a love story, it’s refreshing to see a girl who survives a ghosting not by falling in love with someone else, but by strengthening her relationships with her friends.

While an anxiety-inducing choice for me to read when re-entering the dating pool for the first time in over a year, I greatly enjoyed this book. Read for advice column antics, ghosting, and girl squads.