I usually compile a round up of the books that I have been reading at the end of each month but I read Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon last week and it has given me so much food for thought that I feel like I have to say it right now while it is still fresh in mind. If you haven’t read it, then I would definitely recommend it. I didn’t always agree with the points that she made (to be fair it would be a bit weird if I did agree with everything that she said given that it covers such a wide range of topics) but it is still very much worth the read. It is pegged as a book for those who see flaws in ‘classic feminism’ and I definitely fall into that category, as do many other women I am sure.
I can sort of see why so many women shy away from calling themselves feminists these days because it can be full of contradictory messages. I mean, what even is a feminist anymore? How do you begin to define it? The thing is that is means different things to different people. And that’s fine. It’s just sometimes hard to know where your own thoughts on feminism fit in a confused modern world.
Hot Feminist isn’t about what women can’t do, it is about what you can do, what you can think, what you can wear and what you can wax. But actually I think I have as much of a problem with being told what I can do as I do with being told what I can’t do. In one breath the book was saying wear what the hell you like, then in the next it was listing in great detail exactly what you should wear and where you should buy it from and even when you should go shopping. I think I’ll just stick to the wearing what the hell I like bit. I’m not sure that I am cut out to be a hot feminist. (To be fair, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a hot anything. I don’t have a hot bone in my body!) The fact that I care about fashion or regularly bang on about my love of makeup has never made me think that I wasn’t a ‘proper’ feminist. In fact, the idea is just ludicrous to me. But I guess if just one person reads this book and realises that it is okay to wear that red lipstick then that can only be a good thing. Seriously though people, you can wear whatever you like. Feminist or not.
For me, I think the book concentrates too much on the ‘hot’ bit and not enough on the ‘feminist’ bit. I sometimes felt like it went off on a ‘hot’ tangent and found myself asking well yes that’s nice but what has that got to do with feminism, you know? I think it sometimes skirted (ha!) around the bigger feminist issues but in a way that made me think about what really matters to me. Does feminism mean me wearing a short dress with abandon? No, does it heckers like. It means I’m past sweating the small stuff and it is the big stuff that really shakes my cage. I’m too old to have The Fear Of Getting It Wrong. And I’m very well practised is saying no (just ask any number of PRs who have had an email from me today!)
But. But but but but I can definitely get on board with the idea that feminism can be inclusive and including, open to new ideas and possibilities. How we have the right to disagree with another feminist point of view but without judgement and downright fury. Actually, her honesty about her own supposed feminist flaws made me really warm to her, even if I didn’t always agree with her. And the book certainly gave me food for thought. That can only ever be a good thing. I actually think we need more feminist writers like Polly Vernon. More modern feminism without judgement. There is just not enough of it out there. I have now reached the end of my ramblings and realised that maybe I am more of a hot feminist than I first thought? Hmmm.
Have you read Hot Feminist? What did you think? Or can you recommend any other modern feminists for me to read?