feminism

All posts tagged feminism

The Sun And Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Published June 23, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

What did I think?:

Hello everyone and welcome back to another review on bibliobeth today. I’ve been away for a little break, perhaps longer than I would have liked as I’ve had some life “stuff” to deal with that has led to me being offered a new job. It’s been a tough decision for me to make as it involves uprooting myself from a place I love working, but practically and health-wise it’s going to be the best move to make as it will involve a reduction in both travelling and travelling costs! Anyway, today I’m here to talk about the second volume of poetry by Rupi Kaur who also wrote the astounding Milk and Honey (which I’m a huge fan of). Let me be frank, I’m not any kind of poetry connoisseur and I know the author has had a lot of criticism about her poetic style but all I’m here to say is, different things work for different people and personally, her poetry DEFINITELY speaks to me.

Rupi Kaur, author of the poetry collection The Sun And Her Flowers

Unlike most fiction/non-fiction books I review, it’s going to be pretty hard to give a synopsis regarding the particular content of The Sun And Her Flowers but there are overlapping themes between Rupi’s first collection and this, her second. It is divided into five chapters, all in turn connected with the growth cycle of flowers so we have: Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising and Blooming. As you may have suspected (or if you read the author’s previous collection,  we start out on a somewhat darker note with Wilting and Falling where the author explores more heart-breaking nods to her life experiences so far. This includes her struggles with insecurity and body image, the break-up of relationships, her relationship with her mother and emotional and sexual abuse. Rupi uses her own simple but effective illustrations to complement her poetry which varies in length from a few paragraphs to merely a few lines but it seems every word is chosen so methodically in this latter case that just one sentence can be devastatingly moving.

After the initial few chapters, The Sun And Her Flowers embodies a much more positive message than Milk and Honey which at times, went into some very terrifying emotional places. The author focuses much more on learning to love yourself as a woman, accepting yourself for who you are, connecting with family and friends more often and accepting your past whilst trying to move on. The messages in her poetry that promote self-worth are dazzlingly effective and something I can see myself re-visiting myself if I’m having a bad mental health day and need a little boost. She still goes to some murky places and if you’re particularly sensitive to the topics I mentioned in the above paragraph, I would approach this collection with caution but generally, I could feel the optimistic change in her writing compared to Milk and Honey.

It’s almost as if Rupi Kaur has got everything out of her system, released a lot of anger and negativity regarding her past and although she understandably still has demons that haunt her, she is managing her own emotional well-being a lot better. She is able to discuss things that have happened to her in her past, confront the debilitating emotions that she suffered (and still continues to suffer on bad days) but can see the light at the end of the tunnel and approaches things with a much more positive outlook. For me, after Milk And Honey, my expectations were exponentially raised and although it isn’t the five star read that Kaur’s debut collection was and didn’t have as much of an emotional impact on me, it’s still a moving piece of work that I would be happy to read through again in the future, especially when I’m having particularly trying points of my own life.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

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Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently – Emer O’Toole

Published March 10, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The fiercest new voice of feminism – Emer O’Toole is the perfect mix of Caitlin Moran, Germaine Greer and Lena Dunham.

Emer O’Toole once caused a media sensation by growing her body hair and singing ‘Get Your Pits Out For The Lads’ on national TV. You might think she’s crazy – but she has lessons for us all. Protesting against the ‘makey-uppy-bulls**t’ of gender conditioning, Emer takes us on a hilarious, honest and probing journey through her life – from cross-dressing and head shaving, to pube growing and full-body waxing – exploring the performance of femininity to which we are confined.

Funny, provocative and underpinned with rigorous academic intelligence, this book shows us why and how we should all begin gently to break out of gender stereotypes. Read this book, open up your mind and, hopefully, free your body. GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS is a must-read wake-up call for all young women (and men).

What did I think?:

Girls Will Be Girls was the third book on my Five Star TBR Predictions post and one I had high hopes for after reading some fantastic reviews and learning about some of the content. As an ardent feminist myself, I am always hungry for books that explore the topic in a new, fresh and exciting way and I’m delighted to announce that Emer O’Toole gave me everything I had been looking for. Using her personal experiences, brutal honesty and novel ways to look at gender equality, Girls Will Be Girls was a fascinating read that I found difficult to put down. Although it wasn’t quite five star, it was extremely close and I have no qualms about highly recommending this to everyone if you’re intrigued by the subject matter.

The book is divided into twelve chapters and a conclusion and explores a variety of topics surrounding gender interspersed with tid-bits from Emer’s own life to illustrate the points she is making. She starts off completely honestly, admitting that she hasn’t always been the best feminist in the world and often conformed to those pesky female stereotypes to fit in with a group of friends or her male friend/boyfriends points of view. She laughed at their sexist jokes, dampened down her own vibrant personality and ambitions in order to “be like a girl.” It wasn’t until a bit later on in her early adulthood that she started realising she didn’t have to do all that, she could be her own person and there was no need to bow to the whims of society. So started her journey of experimenting with her gender – dressing like a boy, refusing to shave her legs and underarms and even shaving her head to try and understand how deeply rooted gender stereotypes really are in our world and if there was a possibility she could bend things so other women wouldn’t feel so pressurised to act/be a certain way.

I absolutely loved that Emer used her real-life experience to approach the gender debate and this book was packed full of humour, heart and real honesty as she embarked upon her journey of discovery for the good of womankind. I had heard about her infamous interview on This Morning here on the UK where the presenters quizzed her about her refusal to shave and I was delighted to discover an genuine, intelligent woman who was just as funny and “real” as the writing in her book. She had some incredibly sound points to make about how society constrains young girls and puts unrealistic, sometimes very unnecessary pressures on them. I admire her bravery and resilience for standing up for what she believes in and think all women could take a leaf out of her book in their approach to being a woman. If we’re ever going to have anything close to gender equality, I really think we need to challenge things like the media, people’s expectations and how we raise our children if we’re ever going to teach the next generation that women are in fact, not second-class citizens to men.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0