My Goodreads rating – 5 out of 5 stars
This is the most impactful book I’ve read this year, and one of the most impactful I’ve read in my lifetime.
Girl Up is essentially a book about being a woman; about the societal pressures, judgements and expectations that are placed on us in our teenage years (or even younger), that continue into adulthood. Written by Laura Bates (founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, and author of Everyday Sexism), it tackles a number of topics, including the porn-industry, body image, cat-calling, masturbation, sexual violence and slut-shaming.
Girl Up made me feel immensely angry at the sexism that is still rife in our society. It made me think back to all of the times I’ve been cat-called and commented on as if I’m an object, and how I’ve then been told to “take it as a compliment”. It made me think about how society judges sexual activity based on gender; if a woman has sex with multiple people she’s a “slag”, if a man has sex with multiple people he’s a “stud”. Overall, this book just made me think so much about the B.S that can come with being a woman.
But it also reminded me of all of the amazing things that women and girls all over the world have achieved, and how they have took a stand against sexism. It also reminded me that it’s ok for me to actually like my body, that I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy, that I have the right to decide what happens to my body, and most importantly, that it’s OK for me to call out sexism when I see it.
Whilst Girl Up is primarily aimed at late teenage/young adult women, I think anyone and everyone should read it; men, women, disabled, non-disabled, religious, non-religious, LGBTQ+ and everything in between. I cannot recommend it enough.
I’ll finish this review with the book’s preface, written by Emma Watson: