This non-fiction book of Laura Bates’ essays reminds us that sexism isn’t just discrimination against women by some omnipresent wicked individuals, but rather a series of micro aggressions, institutionalised discrimination and everyday behaviour which culminate and infect society at large, often by people who don’t acknowledge how their actions add to the problem and to some extent, by everyone.
As long as we keep thinking about sexism as overt acts rather than a cog in a systemically sexist mechanism, we aren’t going to be able to dismantle and rebuild society better.
Breaking it down into how women are treated across all aspects of their lives, including relationships, workplaces, the media, homes and on the streets, Laura has painted a thorough, unflinching picture of the sheer range of sexism in Britain, which can be applied to the rest of the world, too.
Most of the essays were previously published elsewhere, namely in The Guardian, and so they read as really punchy long-form journalism and keeping relatively close to their topic. This means that while a number of the articles have similar sentiment and overall messaging, each tackles a single issue head-on. It’s as if each essay is a puzzle piece – an incident of online abuse, an example of expectations in the workplace, the precautions women follow to stay alive – so that by the end of Misogynation, we’ve put together a full picture of sexism.
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