24 November, 2020

The Female Made True

Essays by young feminists speak true, but could have spoken sharper

The Female Made True

I storm-plucked this book off the shelf, planting kisses on its earlobes, wiping its feet with my hair. Young feminists—under 30, some still teenagers—write to salvage the most transformative yet stereotyped word. We need feminism, the book says, because women are burnt alive for refusing to submit to grotesque male desire, our bodies are fetishised and assaulted, we are shot in the head for speaking out, we face discrimination in everything. Stating the obvious has ritualistic power and the essays in this book invoke that power. Though the contributors are British, this is not a white woman’s account. We hear a trans-woman, a Muslim, an actress who plays Hotspur in an all-female Henry IV, a banker. The feminism of this book is coloured, immigrant, in exile, diverse. It sets your blood racing and assures you that feminism is thriving, though a tad vulnerable and apologetic.

These youthful essays give the gooey complacence of post-feminism a nice elbow but lack the argumentative punch that has powered feminist discourse. The writers don’t...



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