Review: ‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates

Welcome back for another post šŸ™‚

A bit ago I reviewed ‘Everyday Sexism‘ by Laura Bates, and for Christmas I got another book by the same author! Written in 2017, ‘Girl Up’ is a modern guide to being a woman. This book includes excerpts from women, female experiences, as well as handy advice about everything from social media to sex. There’s even a diagram of the vagina… just in case you needed it.

This book is split into different categories that range from ‘That’s Not Your Vagina’ to ‘Sluts, Unicorns, and Other Mythical Creatures’. Each and every one of them is accessible, humorous, and packed full of usual info. and illustrations. Running throughout this book is the key message that women face so much pressure, criticism and sexism in their lives, and society gives them a rough deal.

But despite this, Bates doesn’t just moan and rant. She gives every chapter an uplifting tone, showing the success stories of many women throughout history, and arguing that- despite these pressures from society- women can be whatever they want to be, and should continue to break barriers.

Bates addresses many stereotypes and perceived ideas, both of men and women. She makes it clear that sex and porn are not the same thing, and she addresses the stereotypes of women as ‘sluts’, and the ideas surrounding women and sex.

Bates also looks at the important subject of social media, considering the way in which it can be harmful to girls. Bates wants to exaggerate the message that is continually given to women, which is that they in themselves are not good enough.

I think this is so sad, and the author makes some really good points about this, and how it links to body positivity and accepting that images online are not real.

As well as addressing important sexual and online stereotypes of women, and the impossible standards society sets for women in relationships, life and work, Bates also uses this book as a kind of ‘guide’ to young women. She explains basic anatomy, and provides factual information about subjects such as masturbation and STIs.

This is so important, as there can often be a stigma attached to these subjects, but Bates really spreads the message that there should be no shame regarding these topics. She offers advice about who to speak to if anyone is experiencing mental health issues, or needs to speak to someone about contraception, for example.

I thought this was a brilliant idea, and this book was partly about spreading an uplifting message to young women, and partly a guide for young people about ‘sensitive’ or ‘taboo’ issues that their peers may not feel comfortable talking about. For any girl growing up in society, I would say this book is a must read!

I thought this book was brilliant. The messages of female strength, competence, and power were so strong- and Bates spreads the idea that women should not feel like imposters in this ‘male’ world. Women need to feel good enough in themselves, and they deserve every opportunity to do well.

This book breaks barriers regarding sexual stereotypes, and the role of women in the media and adverts- presenting an alternative view to the ‘perfect’ woman created in the media and by society.

While Bates acknowledges the great problems in society, and her book looks at the ways in which women are disadvantaged, ignored, and misunderstood- she focuses on this overall inspiring and uplifting message.

As women we are good enough as we are. We face a lot of pressure about getting into relationships, living up to sexual stereotypes, and looking like the ‘perfect’ woman every single day. So much so that it can feel unbearable at times, especially when teamed with personal doubts and pressure. But we are strong, and we are good enough as we are, despite the mixed messages we get from society.

Bates makes it clear that society is not always going to have faith in ourselves, so it’s important that we have faith in ourselves. And it’s important to support those around us. Feminism is about supporting other women, and furthering their goals when we can, to give more and more women the opportunities they need.

Overall, this book is packed full of important messages, funny pictures, and factual information- all of which make for a valuable read for a young woman growing up in today’s society. In fact, boys could also probably learn a little something from this book.

What do you think of my review of ‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates? Do you agree with the points I’ve made here? What do you think about the taboo issues discussed in this book?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments šŸ™‚

Happy reading x

Picture credits here

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