This is a collection of pieces previously published in the Guardian newspaper between 2013 and 2017, from the originator of the pioneering Everyday Sexism Project. The articles have been collected thematically into sections, dealing with different manifestations of sexism. In this way, you can as Laura Bates puts it, ‘join the dots’ and see that one issue is connected to another. In this book she is endeavouring to make people see the bigger picture and not treat one aspect, or perhaps one incident as an isolated thing, but part of a an overall pattern.
It seems sad that you even need a chapter heading title ‘Rape is not a Romp’ but it is apparent from the sources that she quotes, that indeed this does still need hammering home to some sections of the population. She also tackles the insidious notion of ‘banter’ and how this expression is used to excuse many ugly verbal attacks on women. In many respects this book isn’t a happy read, telling us that we still have a long way to go. It is also shocking to read of the level of abuse that Bates has received since first setting out to record examples of Everyday Sexism.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the ‘Shouting Back’ section illustrates. I loved this one mentioning a woman ‘who waited five years to present her contract and a salt cellar to the careers advisor who told her he would eat her paperwork if she ever became an engineer’. There’s always hope!