Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review: Shrill: Women Are Funny, It's Okay to Be Fat, and Feminists Don't Have to Be Nice by Lindy West

I picked this book up on a Saturday when I was supposed to be doing work. I needed a quick break, and as this was a series of essays, I figured I could put it down easily without a narrative arc pulling me along. An hour later, I forced myself to put it down and do more work. An hour later, I picked it back up and read the whole thing. That's right, I read it in one day, almost one sitting. Been a long time since I've done that!

Lindy West has been a journalist for a long time, working in pop culture, mostly reviews of comedy and movies for places like The Stranger (Dan Savage's paper). And she gets trolls. But man, some people are so cruel! Sure, they call her names, but when even Dan, her boss and her friend, starts fat shaming women, she has to stand up for those women. And that brings on more trolls. She calls out male comedians for rape jokes, which brings on even more trolls. She goes on a TV show to advocate for stopping rape jokes, and while it goes well, so many more trolls. Until one day when a troll pops up who is claiming to be her dearly beloved and recently deceased father. Ouch. The horror. (And that's when I also realized I'd heard this part on This American Life.)  Why, people? Why? Why can't you just keep your nasty thought to yourself? Why can't you just say nothing if you disagree? Or be respectful? At least try to form a coherent thought instead of calling names? It's like everyone in the internet is a 6-year-old bully. Even as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if this is going to be the open door for the trolls to start hitting me?

I super crazy admire Lindy for standing up for women, for fat people, for not having to listen to rape jokes, and calling people on their bullshit. She has convinced a few (Dan, and Patton Oswalt who I already liked so I was much relieved when he finally got on the no rape jokes bandwagon.) Seriously, why do comedians want to fight for their right to do rape jokes? Of course you have that right. Just as you have the right to do other offensive jokes. It doesn't mean they're not offensive. I don't give up the right to be offended.

Anyway, Lindy says it all so much more eloquently than I ever can hope to, with a dash of humor, and with a great deal of sass and gumption. I don't find her shrill in the slightest. Everyone should read this book. Starting with the women.

I got this ARC for free from the publisher at Winter Institute. In fact, it is personally autographed to me by the author.

No comments: