*I want to thank the publisher for providing me with an e-copy of this book for an honest review!*
I have been wanting to get into more non-fiction novels for a long while now, and that means that I’m always on the hunt for them. I found this gem and instantly was excited to pick it up.
Fortunately I was provided with a free e-copy for an honest review and I couldn’t be happier with what I received.
Goodreads Rating: 4.27/5
Pages: 240 pages
Published: March 8th, 2017
Publisher: 404 Ink
With intolerance and inequality increasingly normalised by the day, it’s more important than ever for women to share their experiences. We must hold the truth to account in the midst of sensationalism and international political turmoil. Nasty Women is a collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.
People, politics, pressure, punk – From working class experience to racial divides in Trump’s America, being a child of immigrants, to sexual assault, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, identity, family, finding a voice online, role models and more, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Zeba Talkhani, Chitra Ramaswamy are just a few of the incredible women who share their experience here.
Keep telling your stories, and tell them loud.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This novel is a non-fiction that contains a “collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a women in the 21st century.”
This first caught my eye because of the title and the amazing cover, but what held my attention was the idea behind it. Promoting womens rights and showing people what they might not see or might ignore in relation to women and their lives.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed all the essays by these strong women and I enjoyed all the things I learned throughout the novel.
I decided that the best way for me to really get across what you should expect from this novel/what you can look forward to, is to go through the title of each essay and give you a brief overview of what it was about. This will give you the option to pick and choose which essay you’d like to read, if there is a specific one that catches your eye.
Independence Day by Katie Muriel
This follows Katie as she speaks about the shock of finding out about Trump becoming president as well as her struggles dealing with her family being divided about their political ideas. Additionaly, Katie speaks toward being of Latinx (gender neutral term used to describe a person with cultural ties to Latin America) and how that effects her life in America and her family life.
Why I’m No Longer a Punk Rock “Cool Girl” by Kristy Diaz
Kristy speaks about being a girl in the punk rock community and how these ‘cool girls’ are expected to act and function when surrounded by men. She talks about how they’re typically thought of as “one of the guys” and the need to constantly defend herself against “challenges of space, ownership, and identity to justify that you’re cool enough to be standing where you are.” This essay is about liberating yourself from the expectations that are put on you and “abandoning constraints.”
Black Feminism Online: Claiming Digital Space by Claire L. Heuchan
Claire speaks about her struggles growing up in Scotland as a black woman and the isolation that comes along with it. This essay brings up thought such as the idea that black women are thought of as “other”, the difficulty of communicating with the black community in Scotland, and then the addition of the internet and how that changed her ability to communicate with other black individuals and create a platform in which she can share her views and ideas.
Lament: Living With The Consequences of Contraception by Jen McGregor
This essay follows Jen’s journey with Depo-Provera as a contraceptive and the different effects it had on her body. She also discusses her struggle with her debilitating menstrual cycle and how it effected her life. Throughout this essay Jen writes a letter to D or Depo-Provera, sharing her time with the drug and what she feels after ceasing to take it.
These Shadows, These Ghosts by Laura Lam
This essay follows Laura as she discusses the lives of her great-grandmother and grandmother and the “curse” that she believes the women of her family carry. Gun misuse, rape, mental health disorders and several other concepts are covered in this essay.
The Nastiness of Survival by Mel Reeve
This essay discusses the concept of being a ‘perfect survivor’ and a ‘bad survivor’ and what pressure society puts on rape victims to fit a mold of being a survivor. Mel goes on to discuss consent and what consititutes consent and the need for ‘consent education’ for younger kids that doesn’t center around the fact that ‘consent is sexy!’.
Against Stereotypes: Working Class Girls and Working Class Art by Laura Waddell
This is an essay discussing the idea of stereotypes being placed on girls from working class backgrounds and how it effects their ideas towards how they should proceed with their careers and aspirations. Laura discusses pursuing arts and the notion that she, a working class girl, should pursue something practical so there is a higher chance of emploment. This brings to light “how many artists and writers have we never known, how many songs never sung, locked out by social inequality?”
Go Home by Sim Bajwa
Sim discusses her experieces with racism living in the UK. Anecdotes of her experiences with racist individuals are included as well as her family’s personal story in regards to how they got to the UK and what they did to gain sucess and comfort in a place that was entirely new to them. Bajwa discusses the positive outcomes of her being raised in the UK as compared to the small towns in India her parents were from and the true beauty of what her parents were able to accomplish without help from outside sources.
Love in a Time of Melancholia by Becca Inglis
This is an essay speaking towards the idea of being an outsider and having a role model to help you accept your differences. Courtney Love’s addiction and several mental problems are discussed and this essay speaks to the idea that “sometimes the role model you need is not an example to aspire to, but someone who reflects back the parts of yourself that society deems unfit.” This essay also brings to light the writers personal depression and how she looked to Courtney Love to provide her someone to look up to, despite everything that she herself is going through.
Choices by Rowan C. Clarke
Rowan discusses her life living with a mother who was less than loving towards her and her incessant need to put everyone around her down to build herself up. Clarke goes on to discuss her mother’s eating disorder and how that negatively affected her sister and her. Discussed later is the pressure Rowan felt to fit the mold as a pretty girl that was being forced upon her by her mother and sister, despite her refusal to do so. Growing up queer and independant with no one in her family to support her, Rowan works toward building a better life for herself and takes steps to ensure that she is being the best individual she can.
“Touch Me Again and I Will Fucking Kill You”: Cultural Resistance to Gendered Violence in the Punk Rock Community by Ren Aldridge
This essay is a discussion of the gendered violence that operates in the punk community. Aldridge speaks toward the idea that the focus of violence on women tends to focus on “what she/they did, what she/they wore, what she/they drank” instead of focusing on why the men keep doing what they’re doing.
On Naming by Nadine Aisha Jassat
Nadine speaks in this essay about the notion that her name is mispronounced not only because it is different from the norm, but because it is their way of making her “other” from them. Jassat talks about the feeling of having her identity erased and a point on which she is constantly attacked. Additionally, the idea that people will take the effort to learn names such as Michelangelo and Tchaikovsky instead of a name as simple as Nadia or Aisha.
Laura Jane Grace: Naming, Speaking Out and the Subversion of Art by Sasha De Buyl-Pisco
This essay covers the story of Laura Jane Grace coming out as transgender as a punk rock artist. Laura also spoke to the freedom of being able to share her ideas through her music and allowing her listeners to adapt their own meaning from it.
Adventures of a Half-Black Yank in America by Elise Hines
This essay speaks about being a black woman who lived in New York – one of the most diverse cities in the world – until she moved to Penn State for university. Hines speaks about feeling a slight culture shock as she realized that people in Pennsylvania aren’t as accepting as people in New York were. Hines then brings up 9/11 and the process of dealing with that and now currently dealing with Trump’s America.
Foraging and Feminism: Hedge-Witchcraft in the 21st Century by Alice Tarbuck
Tarbuck speaks about the idea of foraging and how Scotland encourages their tourists and community to “get [their] hands on these rich pickings of Scottish foraging.” Additionally the writer speaks about the history of Scotland and midwives that would forage for herbs to create medicine, and how these midwives were considered “other” yet still were part of a community and served their needs.
Fat in Every Language by Jonatha Kottler
This essay centre’s around the Kottler’s childhood her experiences with being called “fat” and her weight journey and how it affected her – as well as her experience losing weight with Weight Watchers and the people she met who were on a similar journey. Lastly, Kottler mentions her experience being overweight in different places around the world.
Afterbirth by Chitra Ramaswamy
This essay covers the topic of pregnancy and the idea that the language of pregnancy doesn’t transfer over to the non-pregnant world. She goes on to discuss her experience with being pregnant and realizing that she didn’t know a lot of things about being pregnant and giving birth. Ramaswamy states that women are told to forget their pregnancy after giving birth once the baby is here as well as society’s need to tell women what to do when they are pregnant. Lastly, Ramaswamy discusses the “rule to ban NGOs from providing abortion services or offering information about abortions.”
Hard Dumplings for Visitors by Christina Neuwirth
This follows Christina as she discusses the loss of her mother and her grandmother and how she honours their memory by preparing recipes that were shown to her by her mother and grandmother. She speaks towards missing her mother and going to her grandmother when her mother wasn’t there – then the loss of her grandmother. Neuwirth also speaks about her grandmother’s exciting life and all the things she did that were inspiring and true examples of strength.
Resisting by Existing: Carving Out Accessible Spaces by Belle Owen
This essay followed Owen as she speaks towards having a disability and her experience having Pseudoachondroplasia – which is a “genetic disorder that effects bone growth.” Belle talks about the way she was treated by strangers and her feeling of being left out when it came to going to Punk Rock shows where there wasn’t a lot of space for wheelchairs. This essay covers the idea that “prejudice lies at the heart of segregation.”
The Difficulty in Being Good by Zeba Talkhani
Zeba writes about her want to be good and her belief that goodness is equal to piety. This essay also talks about Talkhani and all the places she’s lived and the treatment she received being a Muslim woman. Additionally Talkhani mentions her opinions towards Trump’s ban of Muslim people in January of 2017.
The Rest is a Drag: One Lesbian’s Journey Through Butch and Femme and Back Again by Kaite Welsh
This essay discusses Welshs’ journey through her different looks, from “long, Pre-Raphaelite curles” to “floaty Liberty print dresses and a crew cut accessorised with rainbow hair clips and an eyebrow piercing” as a lesbian. Welsh goes on to speak to her inability to fit in to the mold that she should, and wondering if she will ever have a certain look.
The Dark Girl’s Enlightenment by Joelle A. Owusu
This is an essay that shows Owusu’s experiences as being a brown girl and the struggle that came along with that title. She speaks upon being labeled an “angry black women” if she complained about anything and the obsession that people have with her hair. Additionally, Owusu discusses her new belief is that her “blackness is a blessing and [her] sense of womanhood is also a blessing.”
There you have my discussion on the novel Nasty Women by 404 Ink. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and all the stories that were told about these strong and inspiring women.
If it were up to me I’d make everyone I know read this novel – but if you don’t have a lot of time I suggest you go through my “brief” descriptions of all the essays in this collection and pick out a couple that interest you. You will thank me later because these essays are truly something that will inspire you.
If you do end up reading any of these essays, please comment down below which ones you’ve read and what you thought of them!
Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to follow this blog and my other social media accounts in the side bar!
Until next time,