THE GUILTY FEMINIST by Deborah Frances-White


You Don't Have To Be Perfect To Overthrow the Patriarchy
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From the London-based Australian co-creator and host of The Guilty Feminist podcast comes a book-length version of that program.

A stand-up comedian who also hosts the award-winning BBC Radio 4 series Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice, the author opens her chapters with the phrase “I’m a feminist but” and proceeds with an example of a cause of remorse, such as lying about one’s weight by 20 pounds or mistaking Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique for the name of a classic perfume. Throughout the narrative, there are abundant examples of Frances-White’s weaknesses and the rifts between good intentions and human behavior, and she encourages feminists to shed their guilt and take up their “most unapologetic and persuasive voice.” In Part 1, the author provides a capsule history of the feminist movements and her opinions on their significance. In parts 2 and 3, Frances-White broadens her reach, taking on the air of the podcast, which she describes as a microclimate where women are given power, space, and the assumption of brilliance. The text features a mix of various pieces from the podcast. She includes her own angry speech about Brexit, her stand-up comedy bit satirizing how women undermine themselves, an irony-filled piece on Harvey Weinstein, and her feminist rewrite of the famous speech in Henry V, which ends with the rousing cry, “God for Women, Feminism, and Saint Angelou!” Frances-White also muses on the diet industry, the fun of makeup, being open to other people’s struggles, toxic masculinity, Donald Trump, female fertility, sexism in religion (now an atheist, she was raised as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses), and women’s own sexual submission fantasies. Confidently opinionated, the author gives other feminist writers a voice, introducing them proudly and interviewing them intelligently. Fans of the TV series Fleabag will relish her lengthy interview with Phoebe Waller-Bridge, its creator and star.

A bit of a potpourri but a witty book full of insights, opinions, and good advice.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-58005-954-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Seal Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019