When I received an ARC for this, I was equal parts excited and frightened. Excited because it was a feminist anthology, a collection of essays on a topic I’m not just interested in, but a field, a force that shapes my life and challenges my views every day. Frightened because I got the Hillary reference; and I was afraid that it would focus solely on straight, white women and their problems and struggles. That’s not to say cishet, white women do not face any problems; it’s just that this is a story I’ve already heard/seen/read about a million times. These struggles have monopolized mainstream media for far too long; and I’m not here for it. I’m searching for more diverse, more complicated books.
Fortunately, Nasty Women was not an endless collection of essays on white feminism. Its essays were written by women of colour as well, women discussing important issues like r*pe, mental illness, and current political events. It’s an incredible book, covering all sorts of “feminist topics”, discussing and analyzing them thoroughly.
I feel like a review won’t do the book justice. So I’m going to share some of the quotes I highlighted, hoping that these will offer a far better insight than any review ever could.
“It would merely reveal the nasty, rotting heart of what America has become, what I daresay it has always been since it built a throne on stolen land and tried to crown itself king of the world.”
“[…] white supremacy was allowed to rip land away from the Indigenous, make slaves of Black people, segregate a nation and without irony still call it ‘United’.”
“Dr Karen Salt describes diversity as “the sprinkle approach”, devoid of any structural change.”
“Forget about tax avoidance, forget about the richest continually screwing over the poorest, forget about cuts to welfare, it’s immigrants who are the problem.”
“I think it says a lot more about the fragility of society as a whole – this pathological need to fit people neatly into two gender categories with all their rules and identifiers – than it says about those of us who choose to rebel against these rules.”
“A woman is bossy where a man is ambitious. A black or brown man is a terrorist; a white man mentally unwell.”
“Take a moment and ask yourself who are the real Nasty Women? Those of us who struggle to empower all women or those of us who empower men that ensure we remain second class citizens?”
“Black women don’t need ‘white saviours’ who think they’re helping by saying ‘I’d love a curvy body like yours’ or ‘You’re not being discriminated against. We live in a meritocracy, so just work harder’. No. We need allies. We need support, we need you to acknowledge your white privilege and we need to be believed when we open up about the shit we’ve had to deal with our whole lives.”
These are just a drop in the ocean of what this book has to offer you and, if you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
*The quotes were taken from an Advanced Reader Copy, so they may be slightly different from those in the finished copy.
**An ARCopy was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.