Friday, 5 August 2011

The Feminism Series: The Equality Illusion, book review

I've finally finished reading The Equality Illusion, which was first on my reading list of the feminism series. It's taken me quite long to finish it, I'm a slow reader, but I'm proud of myself for actually finishing it (in the past I have never been able to finish books, I seem to lose interest). Perhaps the reason why I was able to finish the book is that I'm more interested in factual books now than fictional stories.

Anyway, my review. This book is written in a highly persuasive and emotive manner, in order to persuade the reader that the objectives of feminism haven't been achieved and feminism is still highly relevant today. However, the author uses statistics to verify her statements which make the book more credible, yet simultaneously shocking. A lot of the facts were very surprising, and this is probably because gender inequality issues that we are faced with today are sugar coated or based upon stereotypes. The book also includes countless interviews and stories of real women, to emphasize that these issues are faced by real women on a daily basis. Parts of this book were uncomfortable to read; especially the chapter called The Booty Myth; a night out in the sex industry, which dealt with the truth of the pornography and prostitution industries.  The book explored further topics that I have touched upon in my own blog, including femininity, beautyprostitution and the sexualization of women in the media, which is why I related to it more. This book was a real eye-opener, and provided a much-needed insight into the problems that women and girls still face in the twenty first century. This book acted as a real myth buster, especially regarding rape and abuse, as stats show women are more likely to be abused by someone they already know; so the scenario we're fed in the media of someone attacking us in a dark alleyway is completely false. In the chapter Hands up for a gendered education, I learnt that it is from a very young age that we learn (from teachers, parents & society) what it means to be a girl, how we are meant to behave and act or even which toys we are meant to play with; and I found this to be both interesting and true. The gender boundaries are laid out to us very clearly from a young age, and anyone that tries to act differently, for example a boy picking a pink crayon is labelled as "gay". I was disappointed to find out the "bra-burning tale" is in fact a myth *boo!* :( Anyway, the book ends with a chapter called A New Day, in which the cases of some individuals and organisations who are actively campaigning were highlighted in order to prove that anyone can make a change, and the gender inequality problems we face are not inevitable. However, a lot of support services, for example Rape Crisis Centres are closing despite the fact that abuse and rape incidence is increasing, as it all boils down to funding. This chapter also states that Feminism Helps Men (FHM); feminism is not just for women, and the more men we get involved, the better, since it is vital that men change their attitudes on women. Another key issue is that we need more women involved in Politics, because if more women are in Parliament, it's more likely that issues relating to gender inequality will be tackled by the government which may lead to bills being passed. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book; it was interesting, insightful, shocking yet inspiring. It inspired me to get involved with grassroots campaigning or activism. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I'll leave you with a quote from the book:

"What's clear is that anyone can bring about change, whether it's from a home computer or from outside the Houses of Parliament."

Further Reading:

Why do women become sex workers, and why do men go to them?

Feminism is back and we want to finish the revolution, say activists 


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