As a woman myself, some parts of this book left me going YES, EXACTLY!!!! That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along!!!!, and some parts left me shocked with the appalling shit that so many women have to go through. You’d think that as a woman I’d be fully aware of all this, but I wasn’t, not really. I think in the back of my mind somewhere I knew the extent to which sexism, sexual assault, and harassment were rampant, but hearing first-hand accounts of them was incredibly sobering, to say the least. And that’s another thing that this book does extremely well. It’s one thing to read about statistics and news articles—which this book, of course, includes—but it’s an entirely different thing to get direct entries from women who’ve been at the receiving end of sexist microaggressions, harassment, rape, etc. Also, I don’t want to take it for granted that Bates’s approach throughout this book is definitively intersectional. She has a separate section on double discrimination (i.e. about women of colour, queer women, women will mental illnesses, etc.), but also stresses that her intersectionality is not and should not be limited to that one section. In addition to that, Bates’s approach is markedly diverse. She explores sexism in various spheres, such as in the workplace, the media, politics, and the family. Though this book is by no means comprehensive (I don’t think any book can capture the sheer scope of sexism present today), I wouldn’t hesitate to call it expansive: it discusses the little and the large of sexism, and everything in-between.
Speaking of sobering, this book is a tough read. Parts of it almost left me in tears, and at one point I had to physically smooth out my frown line because I’d been unconsciously frowning for so long. I was angry, I was horrified, and more than anything, I wanted to do something to help. That being said, don’t let the fact that this book deals with heavy subject matter deter you from reading it. I know of people who say they don’t read “sad/heavy books” because they’re “depressing,” which is RIDICULOUS. If anything, books with heavy subject matter like this are the ones we should pay attention to, despite the fact that they’re not “feel-good-books.” Did this book infuriate me? Yes. Did this book sadden me? Yes. Did I regret reading it because of that? HELL NO. I want to shove this book at anyone and everyone who is willing to listen.
I’m going to end this review with a simple request: read Everyday Sexism. Recommend it to people. It makes a (huge) difference. It certainly did with me.