Sunday, June 18, 2017

shockingly real: too fat, too slutty, too loud: the rise and reign of the unruly woman by anne helen petersen

one of the things that struck me most about the elections last november was the amount of misogyny out there. when hillary lost it felt like i'd been bathed in ice water and the shock of it made me see how far women still had to go in order to be truly equal. i'd always resisted the idea of labeling myself as a feminist. but the pride i felt in hillary's nomination, in voting for her, told me that there was no reason for me to be uncomfortable to identify as a feminist, even as i recognized that labeling myself as such would open me up to confronting sexist attitudes from sometimes surprising quarters.

in too fat, too slutty, too loud: the rise and reign of the unruly woman anne helen petersen takes all the critiques society throws at women and analyzes them through the eye of celebrity. petersen has a particular interest in celebrity and the media and culture of celebrity and the role it plays in society and its norms, and this interest is perfectly suited to the topic at hand. from serena williams to kim kardashian to hillary clinton to madonna, these women both flout society's strictures while suffering through incredible scrutiny and blatant sexism.

petersen may be working as a journalist now, but she is first and foremost an academic and at times her writing lapses into phrasing more suited to an academic paper than a nonfiction work on celebrity and feminism. there were certainly also moments where i was frustrated by the fact that it felt like she was simply reporting on sexist behavior without providing analysis and positing remedies that feel necessary. but ultimately the topic and the structure of the book really works, and even as petersen asks us to question our own judgments of the women spotlighted in her novel this is a very easy book to relate to. especially if you are a woman.

**too fat, too slutty, too loud: the rise and reign of the unruly woman will publish on june 20, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of penguin's first to read program in exchange for my honest review.

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