‘Balance and Other B.S.’ by Felicity Harley

Women have been told it’s never been a better time to be a woman- we can have it all, that’s what feminism promised but women are feeling overwhelmed and drowning in feminist guilt for not daring it all 

Felicity Harley is the founding editor of Women’s Health magazine and ‘With Her in Mind’ uses her own experiences, research  and insight from Australian experts in sociology, health and feminism research such as Jane Caro and Tanya Plibersek, real women’s own experiences to discuss how women can cut through the B.S to shed the mental load and find true empower in their life 

About ¼ of the way through the book I was ready to put it down because I was starting to feel it didn’t have much relevance to me, all the women contributing were in their late 30s and 40s, had kids and were juggling full time careers and I was starting to feel despondent that maybe, Even though I feel overwhelmed at time trying to juggle everything, maybe my ‘business’ wasn’t the right kind of business but all it took was one paragraph to bring me back, where Harley answered exactly my feelings- whether you’re in your 20s, 60s and everything else being a woman that feeling of being overwhelmed is common due to the nature of feminism and that ‘busy’ means a lot of different things.

I’m the first to admit I don’t read a lot of feminist fiction but I found this book super relatable and understandable.

Any other books on feminism you could recommend to keep me going?

Love,

Vanessa x

What I’m Reading- April Edition

Red Clocks by Leon Zumas

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What if abortion was illegal in America? IVF was banned? Every embryo had the same rights to life, liberty and property as you or I? This is the future of America in Zumas’ new novel.

Five very different women navigate rules in order to to do what is best for their bodies and to question what it means to be a a woman and a mother

PERSONAL FAVOURITE ‘Speaking Out’ by Tara Moss

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Genre: Non-fiction

In 2016 I interviewed Tara Moss about her recently released book ‘Speaking Out’ and had the opportunity to ask what the motivation behind the book was and the current reaction.

Tara Moss is an admirable woman. Being a journalist, author and TV presenter has given her a strong presence in media for nearly twenty years. Throughout that time she has felt the incredible highs the spotlight can bring but has also felt the intense, furious presence of sexism within the media and cyber abuse against women. Her experiences have championed her to take action against this. Tara is a human rights advocate and cyberbullying campaigner. Tara has also been an ambassador for UNICEF since 2007.

Having written 11 best-selling novels and her critically acclaimed non-fiction book ‘The Fictional Woman’ Tara is no stranger to writing. Her latest book Speaking Out continues her campaign to stop online abuse and help give women equal chances in a ‘man’s world’

Speaking Out is a step-by-step handbook for how women of all ages can openly voice their opinions in today’s society safely and confidently. It provides tips, instructions and personal accounts for women who have done just that, spoken out or written about something that has had it’s messages tainted not by the content but simply because of the sex of the speaker.

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The introduction to the book is all about why it matters that women should care about speaking out about issues that are important to them and Tara puts in a lot of statistics to back herself up e.g. wordwide less than ¼ people we hear about in the media are female and that men outnumber women in parliament by 4 to 1.

Considering that half of humanities perspectives, opinions and possibly solutions are being under-represented women need to learn how to have their voices heard

The book covers many topics:

*When to be paid for your writing and generally how much

*Legal rights

*Dealing with online abuse

*Tips on public speaking

It’s an interesting read, not necessarily something you do cover to cover but you can really appreciate where Tara is coming from. That the issued raised are from her own personal experience, as well as other women (so you get a broad perspective)

The main issue I have with this book is that it’s designed to be a reference for women to pick up when needed and be helpful. The problem is that it’s not set out well enough be like that. The topics are too intertwined and chapters are too dense with text to find what you’re looking for in a hurry or stressed

As a prominent female public figure if this book had had an online presence, in the form of a blog for instance, or had been an ongoing campaign where women could post and interact with one another regarding speaking out, I felt this would have been more effective but as a book, it’s limited.

That being said, I have picked up Speaking Out over the past year before job interviews, radio gigs and even before having difficult conversations to give myself clarity and remind myself of what I can do to made myself be heard.

This is one I think every young woman should have in her bookshelf!

Love Vanessa