We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If we’re being honest, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Not because I didn’t enjoy We Should All Be Feminists but because I have so many thoughts swirling in my head, the thought of arranging them into a coherent post is incredibly daunting.

I was scrolling through Barnes and Noble’s website when this book was recommended for me and I instantly bought it. Truth be told, I knew nothing about it. As I anxiously awaited it to arrive in the mail, I did some research.

The book is Adichie’s argumentative essay on feminism adapted from her well-known (and spectacular) TED talk.

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From Africa, she discusses what it’s like being a woman in Nigeria. How women are viewed and treated and ties that in with the larger struggle of gender equality across the world.

I warned you with The Argonauts could be challenging to read but I promise this one isn’t in the slightest. In fact, you can sit down (in a comfy armchair, preferably) and read it in an hour. Don’t take less than an hour though. You need to read it slowly, reread parts that are powerful and think about what she’s saying.

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My favorite part of the entire essay is her bringing up the controversy that surrounds the word feminism. So often today people find themselves saying they believe in gender equality but are not feminists or don’t like the word feminists (which seems paradoxical to me).

Adichie argues that by using a broad label such as saying you believe in ‘human rights’  denies the individualized struggle of gender. I don’t want to talk too much about this because she discusses it so beautifully and I’ll just butcher it here but take my word for it, it’s powerful.

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If you’ve haven’t heard Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, I guarantee you’ve heard her magnificent voice before.

Does this look familiar:

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She speaks parts of her talk in the middle of Beyonce’s “Flawless” which, for lack of a more appropriate word, is utterly flawless.

Check out We Should All Be Feminists and/or listen to her TED talk then pop back over here and give me your thoughts.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein

They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I won’t lie here, I absolutely judged this book by it’s cover.

I’m certain this is my favorite book title I’ve ever read.

You see it, read it, let it sink in and then begin the slow clap.

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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is a memoir (as you can obviously see above) by Carrie Brownstein.

Some of you may know her as a member of the punk-indie band Sleater-Kinney. Others may know her as the co-creater of the show Portlandia with Fred Armisen.

Others of you, like me, may have never heard of her but don’t let that stop you from reading the book!

Her memoir mostly covers the time from her childhood up until around the time the band broke up.

She is a good, authentic writer and her book is easy to read (I think there is a negative connotation with something being easy to read but I don’t mean it as a negative at all. I found her storytelling very compelling and, therefore, easy to read).

She talks a lot about the punk-indie music scene which is something I’ve never really cared much for and so it went a bit over my head but her passion for music is undeniable.

What I loved about the book was her insiders perspective to being in the media spotlight. She discusses the frustrations of being asked questions being prefaced with “female” and how she was outed as a bisexual, without her permission, through an article about the band.

I’m not sure about you but I find it extremely reassuring to read memoirs by successful women who discuss their road to success. I think it’s all too easy to look at people we admire or define as successful and only see where they are now.

To be able to have them invite you into their lives to show the difficult times, the failures and the work to get where they are is anxiety relieving to me.

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I enjoyed Carrie Brownstein’s book and would definitely recommend you check it out. If you do read it, be sure to pop back over and tell me what you think!

My Mad Fat Diary, Rae Earl

With school winding down and March Madness at work, I haven’t had a ton of time to read for fun. Before the craziness began, however, I devoured Rae Earl’s My Mad Fat Diary.

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When I was in college, my roommate tweeted at one of the stars of the show (adapted from the memoir) and he responded which she took to mean they were getting married and insisted I watch it.

I settled in to watch it one night before classes started and binged almost the entire first season in one night (you can watch it here). As school got underway, football season began and friends from all over the country were finally all in one place, I never got to finish watching it.

Then, a few months ago, I stumbled across the memoir and immediately bought it.

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The memoir is the actual diary of Rae Earl from the year 1989 when she was 17, living in Lincolnshire and recently released from a psychiatric ward.

I can’t get over how brave Earl is publishing her diary. Have you ever found an old diary from your teenage years? Can you imagine publishing it for the world? I’m so glad she did though! It’s incredibly relatable (a completely generic word but there really is nothing better).

Feeling like your parent doesn’t understand you? Check. Not realizing your friends are using you? Check. Unrequited crushes? Check.

The whole time I read it, all I could think was, you couldn’t pay me to be 17 again!

It also highlights something I don’t think people talk about enough: mental illness and getting trapped in your own head. She writes of her issues with anxiety and food, drawing you into her thoughts and private world in an intimate way.

In an interview with The Telegraph she said, “when the thoughts were bad, I used to burn my arms with match ends or hit myself in the face with a shoe. I just didn’t feel there was anything else I could do to get me through normal life.”

She not only opens her life to the reader but her mind too.

Don’t be mistaken, there are hilarious parts of the memoir but unlike many memoirs I’ve read, she doesn’t cover up the issues and the hard times. Life is never perfect and she makes no illusions that it was at the time.

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I would definitely recommend My Mad Fat Diary. It will make you laugh, cringe and think about what people portray to the world may not be what’s going on in their heads.

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If you have read My Mad Fat Diary, what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Galentine’s Day 2017

What’s Galentine’s Day?

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I love Galentine’s Day! I’m a firm believer in the importance of having strong women in our lives and a holiday that allows you to celebrate these women, what could be better?

If you don’t know what Galentine’s Day is, it was invented by Leslie Knope on Parks and Recs.

“Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

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A holiday that gives you an excuse to eat breakfast food and celebrate the women in your life who lift you up when you’re down, inspire you to do great things and challenge you to be the best you can be. Honestly, can you think of a better holiday?