Thursday, 10 December 2020

Let's talk Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

 Hey lovelies, welcome back!

There’s something slightly surreal about studying and analysing Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women at the same time as reading Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, and I couldn’t help but reflect on the irony as I did so. Here I was studying early feminist texts that advocate women rights and challenge patriarchal views, and 100 years later one of the bestselling books of the year is of the same topic. It made me wonder - would students be studying Women Don’t Owe You Pretty in another 100 years, analysing what effect it had on the feminist movement and how its content was relevant to the daily struggles of every 21st century female? A compilation of the influencer’s feminist writing and illustrations, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty covers a multitude of topics from friendships, relationships, sexuality, female rivalry, beauty rituals and rape culture to convey one simple message – You are the only thing that matters.

As I’m sure Wollstonecraft’s work was at the time, Given’s book is a must read for any women! And not just women, men too if they’re willing to accept the part they play and wish to change that… Aimed at young women (roughly late teens/twenties), this is a steppingstone into feminist discussion. Being slap-bang in the middle of the target audience bracket meant I was already familiar with a lot of the things Given talks about and think the content would be more beneficial to the younger reader, nevertheless it is a relevant and imperative read.


Language wise, it is articulate yet accessible and the use of Given’s art embedded between the text makes it even more so.

I’m not going to lie, at times this wasn’t an easy or comfortable read, and rightly so! It shouldn’t be! Given states some hard truths which as a reader you are forced to acknowledge and confront in the name of self-growth.

My prevailing thought is that while 15yr old Kelly desperately needed this book, 25yr old Kelly needed it just as much. If I’ve taken anything away, it’s self-conviction in my actions - I don’t owe anyone an explanation, it’s simply enough that I felt they were necessary. 

Have you read the book yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, lovelies!

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