Everyday Sexism.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

I came across this book on recommendation from a friend a few weeks ago and decided to order it on Amazon and read it on the holiday that I have just been on. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates focuses on different sections of the world that we live in and how sexism manifests itself in those sectors, for example, politics, the media and education. As a teenager in England, unfortunately I do face sexism in my life whether that be honking from cars as I go past or more serious issues so I found this book to be an incredible read.

Bates systematically works through the different areas where she believes sexism manifests itself and those are, Women in Politics, Girls, Young Women Learning, Public Spaces, Media, The Workplace, Motherhood and Double Discrimination. She also has a chapter that discusses males and sexism against males as well which is also an important issue that many don’t think is an issue when it comes to feminism. She starts each chapter by discussing important statistics to do with the focus and then continues discussing those in depth with data from surveys and studies. 

The original idea for this book comes from ‘The Everyday Sexism Project’ that Laura Bates started as an online record for women to submit stories of the sexism that they face on a daily basis. She did this to encourage more women to actually speak about their experiences rather than just expecting it because you’re a woman. She also did it to provide evidence to those who say that women and men are equal as, although we have come a long way, there is still a very long way to go before we reach gender equality, from both sides. Hundreds of thousands of stories have been submitted to the project and Bates uses these throughout her book as evidence for the different areas that she discusses. 

One of the most interesting parts that I found in the book was in the Politics chapter where Bates stated that the UK has a lower percentage of women in it’s government than Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Tunisia. To me, that is an astounding fact. I live in a country whose government is less gender equal than countried like Afghanistan and Iraq!? But these raw facts throughout the book prove that women don’t have gender equality and we still have a long way to go.

I did find some parts of the book scary, especially parts where it discusses sexism at university in Fresher’s week for example as I am starting university next year. However, luckily for me, she did state that Edinburgh University’s Student Union is one of the best in regards to feminism over the country as EUSA identifies as a feminist and was the first university to ban Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ song which glamourizes rape culture. 

I believe, as I think many girls would, that sometimes it is very scary to be a girl. I don’t feel safe walking alone at night, I am always anxious if people are walking behind me, I shouldn’t have to carry a key in my hand in case I need to protect myself but in this society, sometimes I feel like I have to. I know some men who think that women overreact and these instances don’t actually exist but they do, I have been witness to horrific incidents and I don’t think any woman should live in a society where it is nearly normal to go through these situations.  

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to any girl, regardless of whether you identity as a feminist of not, this is a really enlightening book and something that I think you should definitely read. Please comment if you have any of your own experiences or opinions that you would like to share as I definitely think this is a discussion that needs to be open and shared.

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