Review of Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laura Penny

I truly enjoyed this book. It brings with it a greater understanding of the millenials and their view of the failures and success of feminism as they have experienced it. In my opinion, it is indicative of the fourth wave of feminism that doesn’t just include other marginalized groups of women but men as well. Men should not be forgotten or dismissed when discussing gender equality and Laura Penny certainly does not. Discussions on cybersexism and sexting bring new light to the plight of millenials that some of the older generations haven’t dealt with in quite the same way. It wasn’t always a part of life for us. It came about for many of us when we were already experienced enough in the world and sexism to recognize some inherent risks. Many of our children were not so lucky. They learned on the permanent world that can be online that one bad photo can last forever and it makes the world a bit of a different place for them.
I found this account enlightening, not only on how the experience has changed, but what has stayed the same. It makes the point that gender equality is not done. It is also not just political, it is personal and we should treat it like it effects our personal lives. This is a movement. It needs to keep moving. The author presents a great place to continuing moving toward. She also presents that much of the solution will involve just not doing what we were trained to do, just not being the ideal women and perfect girls and masculine men and boys that we have been told that we need to be. Then it ends with a call for action. Of that last chapter, this is my favorite part:

“There are so many ways to fall of the plinth patriarchy erects for the ideal woman. Eventually you’re going to have to decide if you’re going to wait to fall, or if you’re going to jump.
Here are the worst things you can call a woman: ugly. Slutty. Fat. Bitter. Bitch. Cunt. The worst thing anyone can say to a woman, in short, is that she doesn’t please you. We must get used to giving the answer: is that all you got?”

Unspeakable Things reads a little radical sometimes, but it does not advocate harming anyone in any way. It is well worth getting through the uncomfortable parts and recommended for any modern feminist or gender equality advocate interested in the modern feminist perspective.



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