Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution



[Download] ➾ Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution Author Laurie Penny – E17streets4all.co.uk Smart, clear eyed and irreverent, Unspeakable Things is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty first century which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sex Smart, clear Sex, Lies Kindle Ð eyed and irreverent, Unspeakable Things is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty first century which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sexual violence, menial work, mental health, queer politics and the InternetJournalist and Unspeakable Things: eBook ↠ activist Laurie Penny draws on a broad history of feminist thought and her own experience in radical subcultures in Britain and America to debate cultural phenomena from economic justice and the Occupy movement through eating disorders and social control to online dating and freedom Things: Sex, Lies ePUB ☆ of speech A new sexual revolution is starting and it s up to us to fight for the future.Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution

Laurie Penny Sex, Lies Kindle Ð is a journalist, an author, a feminist and a net denizen She is Contributing Editor at New Statesman magazine, and writes and speaks on social justice, pop culture, gender issues and digital politics for The Guardian, The Independent, Vice, Salon, The Unspeakable Things: eBook ↠ Nation, The New Inquiry and manyShe is the author of Cybersexism, Penny Red and Meat Market Female Flesh Under Capitalism, as well as Discordia Six Nights in Crisis Athens, co authored with Molly Crabapple Her book, Unspeakable Things, was published by Bloomsbury in Things: Sex, Lies ePUB ☆ In , at the age of , she was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing She is a frequent guest on national television and radio, has appeared on Question Time, Any Questions and Newsnight for the BBC, as well as Al Jazeera and Democracy Now, and has given talks at the Oxford Union and the London School of Economics.

Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution MOBI ✓
  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
  • Laurie Penny
  • English
  • 04 January 2017
  • 1408824744

10 thoughts on “Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution

  1. says:

    As with The Speed of Dark , this was a birthday gift for my friend Rebecca I like my original review, so here s just a few new thoughts from this second reading.Second review Finished on February 6, 2018This time around, I read Unspeakable Things Sex, Lies and Revolution with a slightlycritical eye I was trying to imagine how Rebecca might see it, curious about the things that will jump out at her I underlined and annotated and asked questions, part of our ongoing conversations abo As with The Speed of Dark , this was a birthday gift for my friend Rebecca I like my original review, so here s just a few new thoughts from this second reading.Second review Finished on February 6, 2018This time around, I read Unspeakable Things Sex, Lies and Revolution with a slightlycritical eye I was trying to imagine how Rebecca might see it, curious about the things that will jump out at her I underlined and annotated and asked questions, part of our ongoing conversations about feminism and gender and society.I still really like the second chapter, Lost Boys , detailing Penny s thoughts on how patriarchy sets men against women to obscure the fact that most men have very little power in society beyond their power over women Over the past three years, as I ve continued my journey of learning about feminism, my understanding and positionality has evolved from, What is privilege to How do I have privilege to How can I use my privilege to dismantle patriarchy So lately I ve spent a lot of time thinking about my place, as a cis man, within feminism And I pinpoint this chapter as the origin of some of my first thoughts along these lines I have to think about how I can use my voice to help other men understand the privilege from which they benefit and createspace within mainstream society for other genders to speak and function without fear of reprisal.Penny s writing remains as unapologetic, incisive, and acerbic as ever She has a great way with words I can understand, though, some of the critiques others have levelled at this book It definitely emphasizes the experiences of young, white, and often middle class women over, Penny s style sometimes leads to generalizations madefor dramatic than rhetorical effect As a result, I can see why some readers are going to look at parts of this book and think, No, that s not my experience with things Owing to my personal amount of privilege, however, it s really hard for me to unpack and examine and critique that on my own so I ll leave that to others.I m still really fascinated by the empathy and compassion within this book That isn t to say that feminists need to be nice to men But I think it s worthwhile examining the ways in which intersectionality and other forces, like capitalism, affects everyone s lives Penny concludes that feminism has always been about liberating all genders from the straitjacket that rigid gender roles and expectations put on us and I agree with that sentiment.Unspeakable Things is an imperfect polemic It s gripping and biting in places, general in some, but overall I like the way Penny grapples with these issues.First review Finished on July 13, 2014This book made me angry, and definitely a little uncomfortable However, I m not angry with the book or with Laurie Penny I m angry in the sense that she outlines in chapter 2, Lost Boys, when she says, Anger is an entirely appropriate response to learning that you re implicated in a system that oppresses women but the solution isn t to direct that anger back at women I m angry at the abuse and suffering women undergo in our society I m angry that as a man I m expected to act in ways that, directly or indirectly, facilitate such suffering And I m uncomfortable because Penny discusses painful and, as the title promises, Unspeakable Things This book is part catharsis, part rallying cry, and it s entirely polemical and political in a brilliant way This is a feminist book It is not a cheery instruction manual for how to negotiate modern patriarchy, with a sassy wink and a thumbs up From the very first page of the introduction, Penny lays her cards on the table and is absolutely clear about what to expect from Unspeakable Things And so, from that first page, I found myself nodding along in agreement I ve taken aactive interest in gender issues for years now, so I m relatively familiar with the concepts, the ideas, the jargon Hence, I m not going to claim that the average reader will have the same reaction to page one as I did But that doesn t matter, because the point of the book is that it gradually and carefully lays out an argument for why all of us men, women, and other genders need to talk about these things It s all there in the title Penny s concern is that there are people on both sides of these issues of sex and gender who are trying to shut the discussion down There are certain things too sensitive, too sacred, that we just shouldn t talk about them We need to shut them away, maybe so we can protect the children This silencing is implicit, codified in the way we socialize men and women through upbringing and schooling and media, as well as explicit, waged as attacks, physical and verbal, against women and their allies in print and digital media In many ways, Unspeakable Things isn t about defining or recapitulating particular notions of feminism so much as it is an exponent of free speech in a feminist way This is a powerful and, for some people, scary idea But Penny s writing isthan equal to the challenge of being accessible while still avoiding the pitfalls of popular non fiction As she promises in the introduction, this is not one of those cheeky books written and published under the banner of new feminist success stories, guides and tell alls about how to have it all in the world of work and childrearing Rather, this is a frank polemic As I said at the beginning, it is painful and discomfiting, and if it doesn t stir you to anger, then you re reading it wrong.It would be ironic if I tried to describe what every reader, including women readers, would get from this book I can t even claim to speak for all men But let me describe my reaction, as someone whose external appearance and performance of gender means I receive a great deal of privilege in this society One reason that this book just works so well for me is how Penny seems to have made a conscious effort to address as diverse an audience as possible In my case, I of course identified with that second chapter, in which she chronicles the detrimental effects of patriarchy on men Penny systematically dismantles the argument that feminism is something that benefits only women This is perhaps one of the most pernicious and pervasive myths about feminism that make many people, men and women, balk at discussing it or embracing it But once again, Penny states it loudly and clearly for all to hear Feminism has never just been about liberating women from men, but about freeing every human being from the straitjacket of gender oppression For the first time, men and boys as a whole are starting to realise how profoundly messed up masculinity is and to ask how they might make it different.In particular, Penny argues that patriarchy does not actually benefit many men, just those at the top The oppression of women is, in part, a sop to men who actually have very little power otherwise their power over women and children essentially there to compensate their relative powerlessness in other spheres of society And she highlights the way media often portray men in hyper masculine ways It s not just women who suffer at the hands of commercials, music, film, television Men too find expectations thrust upon them as a consequence of their gender Men, just like women, were bound by certain rituals of etiquette and unspoken codes of conduct the difference being that men, unlike women, experiencedperks under this system and were punished unduly for deviating This has started to change recently but the fact remains that some people seem terrified by the idea that some men don t want to pursue women, don t want to view them as objects, don t want to act in macho and masculine ways These same people are terrified by the idea that women arethan bodies, that they want autonomy over their lives, that they might want to actlike men or, indeed, cleave to a very feminine identity without the baggage of the male gaze attached to such expression This is where my anger enters the picture again I m normally an easygoing person, but the concept that some people would seek to circumscribe the rights and privileges of the rest of us in order to satisfy their own fucked up idea of normality isthan just messed up It s actually sickening, the extent to which people will hurt one another simply because they don t conform to certain ideas about gender.So in this way, I can empathise with the first chapter, Fucked Up Girls, as well as the second one I can t know exactly what it s like for women to experience the abuse and oppression, the pressure they endure in the face of countless signals from society about how they should behave around each other and around men Yet I have some very good reasons for wanting to make the world aequitable place, one where people of any gender haveequal privileges There is a small but nonzero probability that one day I will reproduce, and that the child I have will identify as a woman And though this merely possible future, I m human enough to feel twinges of anger and sorrow that this child could find her life difficult and painful merely because she doesn t conform to the allowable parameters of womanhood On aimmediate note, I have a fair number of women friends I care for them So the idea that this is what they experience, whether it s daily or occasionally or almost never at all, is unconscionable.You have to be a pretty lousy person to want to perpetuate a system that actively harms half of humanity and subtly oppresses the other half.So throughout the book, there was this undercurrent of anger mixed with genuine distress as I read Penny has come much closer than many other feminist writers in helping me understand how some women feminists do call forradical actions and imagine futures without men Thanks to the Internet, women have so many ways of expressing this anger and sharing the stories of their oppression And this anger is legitimate and painful, as it should be, and the proper response is not to shut it down or attempting to speak over it but instead to step back and acknowledge it However, what makes Unspeakable Things all theimpressive is the way Penny balances this anger with a resilient empathy As bleak as it might get, she always insists that there is a way forward in which all actors, women as well as allies, can benefit and work together for a better future Amidst what is otherwise a somewhat stark view of the current state of women online and in the developed world, this hopeful message is a welcome beacon of light.I m not going to break this book down chapter by chapter, as much as I d like to this review is already getting long enough But I do want to talk about the major themes of the last chapters In particular, in Cybersexism Penny looks at how the Internet is influencing attitudes towards sex and sexuality I spend a great deal of time online and am very invested in the Internet s role in our world, so I found this fascinating And in many ways, our attitudes towards sex and sexuality and how and when we are permitted to discuss those things are major artifacts of our gendered society.Penny reviews how the Internet has been a boon and a bane for women s self expression, offering new spaces for speech while also throwing up the potential for anonymous trolls to come along and shame, silence, and threaten She also mentions porn, and the conflicted and complicated relationship sex work in general has with feminism Canada is currently in the process of attempting to recodify our criminal laws regarding sex work, and it s difficult It s not something I know enough about to comment on indetail, but I really enjoyed reading Penny s thoughts on the subject.Above all else, these chapters on love in the age of cyberspace showcase Penny s anticapitalist approach to feminism The Internet makes it that much easier for corporations to sell certain visions of sex and sexuality to people They do this not because these visions are natural, normal, or just they do this because they want to make money Robin Thicke s Blurred Lines became a sensation last year, and like many songs, it s catchy until you look at the lyrics So it attracted a fair amount of criticism and no shortage of defenders, male and female In response to accusations of sexism, these defenders asserted that Thicke s song actually promotes the liberation of women s sexuality, that he s encouraging her to express herself in ways that are not necessarily traditional Alas, this counterargument misses the point It doesn t matter that a man is singing a song about women beingproactive in their sexuality This is still a song about a man telling a woman what type of sexual expression he wants to see from her, what behaviour on her part gratifies him This is the trap into which we too often fall when discussing sex and media even so called sex positive campaigns are still pressing upon us a specific model of sexuality that we are expected to follow We haven t won as long as media continue to sell us specific versions of permissible sexual expression we will have won when media acknowledges that any expression is as good as the next, that there is no one true way to act in order to be happy or successful And of course, this is not compatible with capitalism, which relies on the propagation of uncertainty and materialistic desire in order to create profits.This thread of anticapitalist sentiment is present throughout the entire book As with her declaration that Unspeakable Things is a feminist book, Penny makes not apologies for this stance nor should she She recognizes, rather, that for feminism to succeed it must be political and radical and that we won t have gender equity until we dismantle this system I think feminists who fail to view intersectionality as crucial to their endeavour are shortsighted Penny acknowledges the importance of race but doesn t spend too much time speaking about it from her personal experiences she declares herselfable to discuss the class based inequities that reinforce gender inequity And this, in turn, links back to what I said earlier about that resilient empathy While Penny does not mince words as she chronicles the hurts of sexism and misogyny, she also offers hope In addition to her call forfrank discussions about these things that we would rather sweep under the carpet, Penny calls for apermissive society, one in which we are not so constrained in our actions by our sex, gender, race, class, or any other label we are saddled with This single element, among all the other reasons I like this book, is its best feature.I won t hesitate to say that Unspeakable Things is one of the best books I ve read this year and one of the best feminist books I ve ever read I ve followed Penny on Twitter for a while now and enjoy her New Statesman posts, but it s good to have a tangible object I can recommend or give as a gift And I do recommend it This is a book everyone should read Hopefully it will make you thoughtful, and if it also makes you a little angry, then that s a good thing too Anger can stir one to action, and it s through action that we can help dismantle the system that oppresses us and build a better world Or, you know, not More likely we ll fail in the process of trying But that doesn t mean we should stop trying Sexism and misogyny might be the way the world is, but it is not the way the world should be

  2. says:

    Two and a half stars Laurie Penny is a powerful writer Her writing is strong, clear, and opinionated and reads with a propelling force I think she s a great young feminist and progressive voice I also think this book is a very worthwhile read But I m giving it less than three stars because of Penny s weakness not just in this book, but in many of her columns for hyperbole It s a flaw in her writing that comes as much from her strength as a writer, if that makes sense, from her strong sen Two and a half stars Laurie Penny is a powerful writer Her writing is strong, clear, and opinionated and reads with a propelling force I think she s a great young feminist and progressive voice I also think this book is a very worthwhile read But I m giving it less than three stars because of Penny s weakness not just in this book, but in many of her columns for hyperbole It s a flaw in her writing that comes as much from her strength as a writer, if that makes sense, from her strong sense of conviction, enthusiasm, and opinion These qualities work in her favoroften than not, but when they backfire on her, they do so bigtime In past essays, Penny has made some major gaffes that have crossed the line into causing offense She once wrote an otherwise very compelling article on the Steubenville rape case comparing its meaning to the public to the Abu Ghraib torture case In another essay, she compared the recent non fatal rape case of the white American teenager Daisy Coleman to the murder of the black American teenager Emmett Till Both these comparisons and others, but especially her very misguided and historically and emotionally tone deaf referencing of the Till murder offended people who really didn t need to be offended, people who are otherwise likely on Penny s side politically And if her writing sometimes has that habit of alienating or offending other progressive folks, imagine how her gaffes can be used to dismiss her points by conservatives and the right wing I bring this up while reviewing this book because she makes the same kind of mistake, resorts to the same sometimes offensive, sometimes laughable hyperbole, in this book as in some of her essays For example, at one point while writing about sexism in the Occupy movement, she refers to the Occupy protest camps in various cities as temporary refugee camps I hope I don t have to explain to anyone what s wrong here But just in case No No, Laurie Penny, protesters and their sit in sites are NOT comparable to the camps of refugees, not by a longshot, not unless the protesters are themselves refugees protesting their position and status You can commend the people who protested and organized in the full flush of the Occupy movement as well as their commitment to protesting inasmuch as going so far to staging week and month long vigils and sit ins in the name of equality and justice But they are NOT in the same boat as those people who are running from extremely dangerous and impoverished conditions in their home countries and who have essentially no status or rights whatsoever in the countries they ve run to It s slips like this, which I think Penny employs to jolt the reader into recognizing the seriousness of a situation and her own commitment to and solidarity with a cause , that consistently undermine her otherwise very valid points and necessary reporting Sometimes her tendency to hyperbole isn t so seriously tone deaf, but just silly, as in the last and weakest chapter in this book when she writes things like New York is the holy city of industrial romance or New York is the coliseum of competitive dating whatever the hell any of that means while discussing far too seriously and reverently the world of modern love as represented in the TV show Sex and the City I can t be the only American who reads statements like this and thinks What the hell before bursting into laughter I can only imagine how a reader from New York would react Though Penny has traveled quite a bit in her career as a reporter, it seems she could benefit from spending a littletime talking to the ordinary, po dunk, flyover folks and to people of color while she s in the U.S and less time talking to New York hipsters and London Occupy dudes.But here s the thing I m on Penny s side, especially when it comes to exposing misogyny and sexism something she bravely does in figures and movements of the left as well as the right I think she s a compelling voice and a courageous writer, and I recognize that maybe my expectations were just too high in reading this book Penny is also quite young, only in her late 20s, and her writing flaws are very much the flaws of a young writer I suspect in time she ll write with a littlewisdom and care and a lot less hyperbole and cultural tone deafness At least, I hope so Her voice is definitely needed She is at her best when she writes about cybersexism and the new challenges that the Internet and social media present to women and other marginalized people who insist on speaking out or even on just trying to be themselves She also has a fair and clear view of the prevalence of sexism in all political and social circles Too many feminists and progressives I think suffer the delusion that sexism is only a problem among conservatives or the right wing, that only conservative men and women hold misogynistic views or work to keep women down If only things were that simple and one sided Penny isn t afraid to call folks on the left out on their sexism in fact she s actually a bit of a lone wolf on that I ve said it before in this review and I ll say it again hers is a very necessary voice I will definitely look out for future books from her and will be interested in seeing how her thinking evolves and writing improves

  3. says:

    You can t win If you choose to devote less of your time to grooming as a political statement, you re a hairy bra burning feminist and nobody has any obligation to listen to anything you have to say, but if you embrace conventional beauty standards, or appear to enjoy them for their own sake, you are presumed to be a shallow and manipulative slutOK 1 How about you stop using grooming habits as a means of making a political statement and just do whatever the hell you like Making yourYou can t win If you choose to devote less of your time to grooming as a political statement, you re a hairy bra burning feminist and nobody has any obligation to listen to anything you have to say, but if you embrace conventional beauty standards, or appear to enjoy them for their own sake, you are presumed to be a shallow and manipulative slutOK 1 How about you stop using grooming habits as a means of making a political statement and just do whatever the hell you like Making your appearance a political statement invites instructs people to pay attention to it eventhan they normally would and indicates that it s something that really matters How is it not obvious how counterproductive that is The whole point being made is that women s appearances matter too much 2 I m pretty sure that no one has ever noticed that I shave my legs and thought wow, what a shallow manipulative slut So, yeah ugh The part that I managed to get through sounds like a diary written by a 20 something who just finished a women s studies course and needs to get some shit off her chest She uses outrage and an angry as hell revolutionary tone as a tool but doesn t offer anythan the outrage itself I suspect pieces of this showed up at some open mic poetry nights, so I started reading it in a slam poetry cadence to try to find some humor, but I still threw it down in disgust after the intro I tried it again, but only made it to p 50 There was no one nearby for me to yell to about it at the time, so I ve got some thoughts below The TLDR this book is written for teenage girls who are just realizing that things are kind of fucked up Oooh, she says fuck How anti establishment and need validation for their irritation The most disappointing thing is that the issues are legitimate, but she makes herself dismissible with the approach she takes For example, one of her main goals is to beinclusive than traditional feminism has been, but she seems to speak to a young, middle class, mostly white audience For most readers if you re interested enough in feminism to even check out this title or if you thought Sex, Lies, and Revolution might be about something else , you are probably already familiar with her main points, and you can move along I ve quit this one and will spend my time on Bad Feminist and The Birth of the Pill instead But first let me explain why the first 50 pages of this one were so annoying.This is a 20 something white British woman who uses neoliberalism colonisation to mean brainwashing by a capitalist society, without showing a hint of irony or understanding that she s a white Britain talking about colonization She s allowed to use the word, of course But by about the 3rd mention I really wondered if she understood the history and baggage of the word It feels too soon.One of her goals is to widen the fold as she notes, traditional feminism excluded women of color, lesbians, bisexuals, non identifiers, trans women, sex workers, and probablyThe feminism we ve been left with is primarily for middle and upper class white women and the focus tends to be on how many women are in the board room rather than on issues like getting birth control options to poor women Both seem pretty important p 21The social revolution that s been choking and stumbling down a gauntlet of a century and , the feminist fight back, the sexual re scripting, the tearing up of old norms of race and class and gender, it has to start again, with all this time, not just the rich white kids who needed it leastGreat idea But the people who have been excluded seem unlikely to be her main audience it seems like her main audience is the rich white kids In general, it just sounds like she s screaming at the choir or she s whitesplaining There is a caveat though I m white, so maybe I m not a good judge Maybe some people who are not white, gay, and or trans would feel like she is speaking to them Also, if she s only speaking to the rich white kids, maybe it s because they need this shit explained to them But it seems like she s calling for a gender mutiny from a Kardashian soaked crowd I doubt her anger is enough to achieve that Finally, in the part I got through, she doesn t address the need for grassroots work in the excluded communities which should be welcomed with open arms from the traditional group Instead it feels a bit like she s advocating a hearts and minds campaign by a group of wannabe liberators Maybe she gets to that stuff later on She s upset about gender norms, which is completely reasonable But it s not reasonable to suggest that gender norms are solely a social construct I agree that they are fucked up in a lot of ways, and specifically in a lot of ways that are due to social constructs, but gender norms are a biopsychosocial thing You can t eliminate the bio and psycho parts just because it suites your argumentThe young women of today know far better than their slightly older sisters who came of age in the listless 1990s how much work is still to be done, and how unglamorous it isExcuse me Where the hell did all that inclusivity go How is pitting generations against each other helpful How about a sense of history Honestly, she sounds like a teenager telling her parents that she knowsabout the world than they do because things have changed since they were kids she sounds like a fucking brat p 13Gender is a straightjacket for the human soulOookaaay I have a friend who used to have button on her bag that said gender is a sex toy Isn t that a better take p 28 She implies that young women and some men who don t meet their norms are being diagnosed with adjustment disorder Adjustment disorder was, by definition, a temporary thing, but this diagnosis doesn t exist any Although inaccurate diagnoses still happen too often, young women deemed strange are not being thrown into mental institutions in droves we actually have made progress in both gender norms and mental health since the Victorian erachokengtitiktitikchokeng39 With respect to anorexia and disordered eatingThe reason young women and increasing numbers of young men behave like this, the logic goes, is because they re scared and angry about the gender roles that they are being forced into The notion that they might have damn good reasons for being scared and angry has not yet occurred to the psychiatric professionWhere is she exactly, the 1950s There s a ton of research on gender, race, ethnicity, identity, sexuality, and class and how it influences various mental health issues like disordered eating She hasn t looked at any of that apparently On being institutionalized for an eating disorderIn that place, if you wanted to go out the front door and not in a box, you had to play by the rulesYes, it s a mental health institution They do have rules for behavior, since behavior is what they are trying to fix Not all the rules in all institutions are great, but c monYou had to smile and eat your mealsYep That s recovery for an eating disorder, learning how to eat normallyYou had to be a good girl That meant notrousers, nogoing out with short hair and no make up, finding a boyfriend as soon as possible, and learning to style your hair and do your eyeliner It meant buying different dresses for different occasions, fitting yourself out to have men look at you with lust, learning manners, learning to dip your head and say Please and Thank you and No cake for me, I ve been naughty this weekWas she in the worst eating disorder clinic in the world It s just really unlikely that she d end up in a place in the 90s or 00s that pushed an uber traditional idea of femininity on people with distorted body images , and even less likely to be in a place that encourages people to decline cake when the whole point is to get people to accept that it s OK to eat cake see for example All of which is to say, either she really did end up in a very bad place or she s exaggerating a tad.Regarding the beauty myth i.e., if you re beautiful everything will be ok she says,It turns out they lied to us The magazines lied to us, the movies lied to us, our mothers liedgasp The magazines lied Seriously, her audience must be in cults that worship the patriarchy to need this much explanation and hand holding p 49It s what your boyfriend wants He has not been raised to expect a relationship with a real human being, but a sidekick, a helpmeet, a wank fantasy made only just fleshDUDE What kind of men is she hanging around Bro dawg frat boys MMA fighting fan clubs Sure, these guys exist But when we are not pointing and laughing at them, they should be thoroughly ignored

  4. says:

    This is such a fantastic fucking book Laurie Penny writes about feminism is such a vibrant and powerful way She s a manifesto writer I found myself wanting to talk about the ideas she raises with everyone around me I emailed passages to my friends okay, I emailed a number of passages to my friends There s something about Penny s youth she s 28 that makes this book feel so alive and of the moment Her chapter on the Internet s continued issues with women comes from the place of someon This is such a fantastic fucking book Laurie Penny writes about feminism is such a vibrant and powerful way She s a manifesto writer I found myself wanting to talk about the ideas she raises with everyone around me I emailed passages to my friends okay, I emailed a number of passages to my friends There s something about Penny s youth she s 28 that makes this book feel so alive and of the moment Her chapter on the Internet s continued issues with women comes from the place of someone who has grown up with it and wants to correct the issues there because she genuinely loves it That s also the case with her chapter on Occupy Wall Street, and the feminist issues that seem to plague many movements She s a passionate and empathetic writer in all of these chapters, but those strengths are especially on display in her chapter about men and feminism, which I hope becomes required reading in all schools Her youth sometimes works against her, especially in thepersonal stories, but that s a small thing in a book filled with so much

  5. says:

    I think I just have to cop to the fact I m straight up too old for this book.Penny s problem isn t that she s wrong, exactly, when she talks about things like rape culture and the commodification of female social connections for the profit of Silicon Valley VCs It s just that she neither adds much new insight nor gives any particular clarity to this grab bag of 21st Century Feminism 101 Not to mention that, for all she insists very deeply she s not speaking for all feminists defined specifi I think I just have to cop to the fact I m straight up too old for this book.Penny s problem isn t that she s wrong, exactly, when she talks about things like rape culture and the commodification of female social connections for the profit of Silicon Valley VCs It s just that she neither adds much new insight nor gives any particular clarity to this grab bag of 21st Century Feminism 101 Not to mention that, for all she insists very deeply she s not speaking for all feminists defined specifically as poor feminists , feminists of colour , and so on she does seem to very much fancy herself as speaking on behalf of middle class white queer Western feminists And, I gotta be honest as a middle class white queer Western feminist I don t think I ve ever felt as much alienation from a feminist polemic as I have from Penny s.If she s speaking for someone, it s certainly not me Admittedly, a non zero portion of this is probably due to Penny s Marxist leanings As someone whose family still bears the scars caused by the Really Real World depravities of Marx s successors, let s just say my tolerance for pseudo Communist affect in comfortably Western bourgeoisie 20 somethings is, er, not high, as it were Ultimately, Unspeakable Things is the kind of book I d ve loved if I d found it somewhere in my mid to late teens as an introduction to female slash feminist anger it s a decent primer I guess if the book does nothing else bar inspire the next generation, that s a worthy effort in and of itself

  6. says:

    Disclaimer ARC read via Netgalley Laurie Penny s Unspeakable Things is, in short, a rant It is a feminist It is entertaining It still is, however, a rant In her introduction Penny refers to her book as a polemic In some ways, it is a call to arms In others, it is a cry for awareness In many ways, it is a challenge To society To women To men To government To other feminists It is difficult not to like Penny s writing For instance in discussing how people respond negatively to wome Disclaimer ARC read via Netgalley Laurie Penny s Unspeakable Things is, in short, a rant It is a feminist It is entertaining It still is, however, a rant In her introduction Penny refers to her book as a polemic In some ways, it is a call to arms In others, it is a cry for awareness In many ways, it is a challenge To society To women To men To government To other feminists It is difficult not to like Penny s writing For instance in discussing how people respond negatively to women in power, she writes, the sole regular exceptions is the Queen of England, in whose case it doesn t matter how much Botox you haven t had if you own half of Antarctica and look scary on a stamp Location 497 Try to argue when she writes, one sure test of social privilege is how much anger you get to express without the threat of expulsion Location 39 or the best way to stop girls achieving everything is to force them to achieve everything Location 539 Another plus is that Penny does not try to speak for everyone She correctly points out that her view is just as valid as another and she is not going to apologize because she is not whatever she isn t She also isreactionary than many mass market published feminists This seems to because her politics, as expressed in this book, are a mixture of feminism and social change There is, for instance, the sentence, Public career feminists have beenconcerned with gettinginto boardrooms, when the problem is that there are altogether too many boardrooms, and none of them are on fire Location 86 Penny is refreshing because this take no prisoners approach She doesn t try to be polite, she is upfront, in your face, and doesn t care if she makes you uncomfortable One might think that such an approach would be too narrow, too anger, but it is not She presents at times, ainclusion view In her discussion about rape culture, for instance, she also focuses on what it does to men, something not many feminists do Yet, for all the good, there is still the feeling of been there, and someone else said it first If the reader has been paying attention to the world at large and to feminism in particular, much of what Penny writes is, if not old hat, something the reader already knows or has already read about There are some exceptions the brief discussion about lipstick feminism, for instance, but not many When Penny discusses rape culture, the abortion wars debate, whatever you want to call it , or the demonization of the single mother, there is nothing new in her comments It doesn t quite feel I just discover this and am pissed off but it is close Her analysis in many cases isn t deep for instance, a comparison between abortion controls in Western Cultures vs those in places like Iran, an argument that it is about biological controlthan anything else The book is also somewhat startling in what isn t mentioned It is true, as Penny says, that she is writing from a middle class, white, heterosexual point of view and that she is relying on mostly firsthand experience Okay fine, but if you are discussing abortion in the United States, which considering Penny is British, she most likely does not have experience with, why can t you address the violence against women that occur in places like India, Brazil, or Egypt Why when writing about protests does Penny mention Occupy but totally neglects the Arab Spring and the treatment of female protestors there Because she didn t personally experience it Does that it make it less real or less vital to proving her thesis And that s the problem Penny is right it is important to acknowledge a variety of views and one should not be afraid to speak up Personal experience is important and arepowerful than statistics which Penny mentions but does not cite, interestingly enough , but keeping an argument solely on the terms of personal experience makes it weak and in some ways too general This was also a problem with her kindle single about Cypersexism, which is adapted and included in this book

  7. says:

    This book is exactly what I needed This book was just made for me, in so many different ways Laurie Penny doesn t speak in riddles and bullshit in this book, she doesn t put a cherry on top either She tells it exactly how it is, and speaks freely and confidently about these Unspeakable things that society today, all shrink away from openly discussing Laurie Penny is angry She s angry about so many things, but all boiling down to women and the way they are treated in society, the everyda This book is exactly what I needed This book was just made for me, in so many different ways Laurie Penny doesn t speak in riddles and bullshit in this book, she doesn t put a cherry on top either She tells it exactly how it is, and speaks freely and confidently about these Unspeakable things that society today, all shrink away from openly discussing Laurie Penny is angry She s angry about so many things, but all boiling down to women and the way they are treated in society, the everyday prejudice they suffer, the ridiculous pressures that are put on women to be the ideal weight and look nothing less than beautiful I felt my blood boiling reading parts of this book I have a rather good perspective about what occurs daily to women, but when it s written so damn clearly in front of you, it makes it all theinfuriating Feminism has never just been about liberating women from men but about freeing every human being from the straitjacket of gender oppression It is made perfectly clear that the author is not a man hater So this book is ideally for male and females alike Difficult questions that nobody wants to ask are usually the most important ones They are the ones that ultimately matter They are the ones that when answered honestly, can have a significant impact The book contains chapters that cover various subjects The author then breaks everything down and takes everything piece by piece to tell us why we need to see change My favourite chapter was Fucked up girls Honestly, I laughed and cried reading this chapter, and, when I d finished it, I wanted to fist bump with Laurie Penny She has put words in my mind, that I previously have struggled to find when it comes to unspeakable things This was such a powerful book, and I d recommend it to anyone who considers the selves a feminist, or, anyone who is simply not sure It s definitely worth a read

  8. says:

    This book changed my perspective on a lot of things trigger warning Massive Identity Crisis

  9. says:

    3.5vague notes would definitely definitely give this to my cousin who is getting into feminism it s unflinching and brave and a ruthless introductory text as for me, this was good and was a way to get back to the basics of feminism through a very contemporary text however, the introduction stresses the importance of intersectionality but the text itself is a bit of let down in that regard from time to time especially re racism it s not that penny s insensitive to these issues, but I d r 3.5vague notes would definitely definitely give this to my cousin who is getting into feminism it s unflinching and brave and a ruthless introductory text as for me, this was good and was a way to get back to the basics of feminism through a very contemporary text however, the introduction stresses the importance of intersectionality but the text itself is a bit of let down in that regard from time to time especially re racism it s not that penny s insensitive to these issues, but I d rather have seen them discussed a bitin detail but anyway, worth reading, important, angry, exciting very quotable

  10. says:

    If you re looking for a well articulated, nuanced, and fearlessly compelling look at feminist activism, look no further.Far and away one of the best activism books I ve read this year, and convincing in its intimacy and rigour This is a book that will galvanize you, that will move you, and that, ultimately, will change you.

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