If you are like me you are looking at a millennial pink book with “Buzzfeed” on the cover and thinking, Hm. That just can’t be all that substantial. Unfortunately for us, that reveals our biases. Fortunately for us, we are wrong.
This book holds up a magnifying glass to ten women and tells us why we hate them. Anne Helen Petersen shows how, through their actions, looks, or voices, they’ve violated an unwritten behavioral code for women. Each of the chapters is fair, not just a celebration of the women but also not a critique. Petersen shows the ways they’ve been brave in throwing off the yoke of the patriarchy, but also the times they gave in, or the ways they just violated our social codes on accident.
“Which is precisely why I wanted to write this book: these unruly women are so magnetic, but that magnetism is countered, at every point, by ideologies that train both men and women to distance themselves from those behaviors in our own lives. Put differently, it’s one thing to admire such abrasiveness and disrespect for the status quo in someone else; it’s quite another to take that risk in one’s own life.To be an unruly woman today is to oscillate between the postures of fearlessness and self-doubt, between listening to the voices that tell a woman she is too much and one’s own, whispering and yelling I am already enough, and always have been.”