Book Review: Lessons From Fight Like A Girl:50 Feminist Who Changed The World

Gender Is A BattleField

What Makes A Woman A Woman? What Makes Her A Feminist?

Synopsis: Fight Like a Girl introduces readers to the history of feminist activism in the U.S. in an effort to celebrate those who paved the way and draw attention to those who are working hard to further the feminist cause today

 

Lessons and Thoughts 

I learned three things while reading this book

*No matter your, background, ethnicity, economic status and most important your gender–Anyone can make a difference*

Some of the women in this book came from unimaginable places i.e slavery, abusive households, war-torn nations and dealt with so much difficulty, whether it was the color of their skin, their gender, class, mental, physical, and emotional disability, these women broke through barriers-becoming the first woman to run for President (Shirley Chisholm), speaking up and even writing a list of women who’ve had abortions and breaking down the stigma of reproductive rights (Simone D Beauvoir), or even speaking up about education for all especially girl, even if it may cost you your life (Malala Yousafzai). Laura Barcella did a great job weaving this book together. Sharing with the reader the importance of activism, examining diverse women and how each of them made an impact in the Movement (art, civil rights, health, education, women, owning one’s sexuality), in each other’s lives, as well as her own.

*Writing a book about 50 amazing women, is difficult, but writing and celebrating diverse women who’ve made an impact in different arenas around the world is needed for the next generation of movers and shakers*

Rarely do history books focus on the achievements of women in science, art, writing, medicine, and etc–reading this book, was an eye opener, I felt as if I only knew 30 of the 50 women and learned about 15 of them (not in detail) during my time in school. Barcella does an excellent job of adding “Hidden Figures/Heroes” in this book for example, Pauli Murray, an Activist and Lawyer  who was dubbed “one-woman civil rights movement”  she spoke out against racism and sexism, weaved civil rights and women’s rights issues together,was displeased about the fact that black men didn’t see or add black women to the civil rights agenda, spoke out against the treatment of the LGBT community and she was considered a Transgender Pioneer and spoke of her desire to be male. This and more made reading Fight A Girl enjoyable. Barcella was able to fit “the greatness that is the woman” in two to three pages with enough detail–featured each individual alongside their iconic quotes, great accomplishments/credibility, and background. Also adding little more detail to women who we are familiar with, though I would have liked to know more about some women–I understand she wants the reader to seek out the truth and research each woman on their own.

*Be True To Yourself*

No matter what was going on around the world or their community, no matter how many times they were rejected (someone was rejected 4x? from a college), no matter how many times they were seen as a joke or how tired they were of the struggle: ALL these women stayed true to themselves. I know it’s cliche and I think Barcella mentions it too, these women stayed true to themselves even when the world or even their family (Artist Yayoi Kusama’s physically tried to deter her from pursuing her gift) fought against them, these women kept going. Reading their stories, you get the feeling that they weren’t ahead of their time, the world was just too slow and couldn’t keep up. Barcella explored all their obstacles, and explains through each of these powerful women’s stories, the issues that women face *trans, nonconforming, ethnicity, race and etc* face when the world doesn’t see you as an equal or places you below what they deem to be the norm. This quote sums up Fight Like A Girl:

 If you allow them, women bring out their true self, which is strong and talented and powerful. But the world didn’t want to know about that. the world wanted to keep women down.

Final Thoughts and Rating:

While I did enjoy the book, I did find fault in some of her writing, I sometimes felt as if there was more to be said about a particular woman or situation but the author just glossed over it. I also wanted her to speak about the division in the Feminist Movement (or their area of expertise) or at least how some women dealt with that division. Though she does mention it a little, she also glosses over the fact that some WOC felt excluded from certain areas whether it was women’s rights, healthcare, art, and etc not by men but by other women. I did enjoy her tidbits as well as how she placed her own commentary into the book. I think it allows the reader to feel connected to the author and the book itself. Overall, great read: learned about all the diverse women -women who were determined to make a difference in their communities and the world; women who never lost themselves in the process.

Rate: 8.5/10 (An inclusive selection of stories)

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