Over the past few months, the #metoo and #standup movements have gained a great deal of momentum and more and more women are finding the courage to speak out against those who have harmed them both physically and/or mentally. I hope real change and growth can come from all of this. I hope that people start understanding how much this type of behavior has harmed women in so many different ways.
In addition to these movements, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of my favorite female voices and their terrific memoirs, essays, and personal accounts of what it’s like to be a woman right now. The stories are irreverent, heartbreaking, hilarious, thought provoking, and most importantly real. These women pull no punches and it makes their writing all the more powerful. Most importantly all of these writers touch on the importance of acceptance, both of yourself and others. We need to stop cutting each other down. We need to stop telling ourselves that we are not good enough. We need to stop listening to people who say we are not good enough. As Ghandi once said we all need to “be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West does not pull any punches as she deals with rape culture throughout the country, and especially the comedy world, and the last ramifications of fat shaming. West brings a great deal of humor and insight to some very difficult issues. Indeed, this book will make you want to both laugh and cry, but most importantly it will make you think.
Hunger by Roxane Gay is an unapologetically honest and real look at one woman’s view of her body in all sorts of different facets. This is not one of those fairy tale weight loss journeys where everything ends on a perfect happy note. This is an honest look at sexual abuse and the last ramifications it can have on someone. This memoir is about how Gay has dealt with her weight, body image, self esteem, and eating. It’s about the day to day struggles and victories, and the importance of continuing the fight and moving forward.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby is a terrific collections of essays that can be seen as a memoir of Irby’s life so far. There are definitely some graphic moments (both funny and serious). Irby had a difficult upbringing and still has to deal with a variety of health issues, but she persevered and she always held on to her sense of humor. Irby delves into her love life, working in customers service, and her general existence in a world in which she would rather stay in doors and just enjoy television all by herself with great aplomb.
Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling is another note-worthy and highly enjoyable read. I read it while traveling a few years ago and it felt like I was catching up with an old friend. Her stories are funny and very relatable. The biggest takeaways from the book are the importance of working hard and self-confidence. Kaling is successful, but not because anything was handed to her, she had to work extremely hard for everything that she has and the way in which she encourages other women should be commended.
You Can‘T Touch My Hair : And Other Things I Still Have To Explain is by Phoebe Robinson a well-known stand up comedienne and podcaster who originally hails from Cleveland. She tackles everything from politics and race to pro sports and music in a wonderfully hilarious way. There is a great deal of depth and seriousness here too. The ways Robinson honestly tackles race and gender issues are quite thoughtful. She is a strong voice that in many ways speaks for her entire generation. I hope more and more people continue to listen.