Sunday, 11 March 2018

Book Review: Misogynation by Laura Bates

Title: Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism

Author: Laura Bates

Pages: 360

Publication: 22nd February 2018 by Simon & Schuster UK

1 line synopsis: a compilation of Laura Bates’ journalism on the topic of the various ways sexism influences our everyday life


As someone who loves Everyday Sexism and Girl Up!, I snapped up the opportunity to read Misogynation when it popped up on Netgalley. I like Bates’ matter-of-fact, sarcastic way of writing and I thought that a collection of her writings was just what I wanted to read. Except I was kind of disappointed...

My main problem was with this book was its repetitiveness. Taken individually, each piece is well-crafted, well-evidenced, and shocking. However once put into an anthology alongside articles on similar themes that boil down to the same ideas, the same phrases get recycled. Also, Bates relies heavily on stories from the Everyday Sexism Project, but often uses the same ones. This all results in a (rightfully) angry feminist book but one which has nothing new to add to the feminist canon. And yes, it’s telling that catcalling still needs to be denounced and people need to be told that the wage gap exists but for someone who reads a lot of books about feminism, in 2018 I’m looking for something more than this book had to offer.

My other qualm with this book is that, overall, I don’t feel like it’s going to be read by those who need it most. I wonder how you get the people on the fence about feminism to read this, when it can sometimes come across as quite abrasive. It’s great that it’s riddled with facts, studies, and real accounts, but I can see it putting some people off. Even better, how do you get the catcallers etc to read something like this?

Having said all of that, I did find a lot of the articles interesting and I’m still a fan of Bates’ writing. I also learnt some valuable things, such as funding being cut to rape crisis centres and the problems women face in prison. I really enjoyed the segues between sections that allow Bates to include even more up-to-date examples and information such as the Weinstein case. In the future, I just hope to see something a bit more inventive from her, rather than what definitely feels like her publishers rushing to put something out because she hasn’t had a book out in 2 years. I gave Misogynation 3 out of 5 stars.

If you’ve read Misogynation, I would love to hear what you think about it, or if you plan on reading it in the future. For more of my book reviews, you can visit my book review catalogue.