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Nasty Women

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With intolerance and inequality increasingly normalised by the day, it's more important than ever for women to share their experiences. We must hold the truth to account in the midst of sensationalism and international political turmoil. Nasty Women is a collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.

People, politics, pressure, punk - From working class experience to racial divides in Trump’s America, being a child of immigrants, to sexual assault, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, identity, family, finding a voice online, role models and more, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Zeba Talkhani, Chitra Ramaswamy are just a few of the incredible women who share their experience here.

Keep telling your stories, and tell them loud.

240 pages, Paperback

First published March 8, 2017

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About the author

Laura Jones

11 books10 followers
Laura Jones is the co-founder and publisher of 404 Ink

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 241 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,944 reviews292k followers
April 13, 2017
This anthology hit me really hard.

I just wasn't expecting it, though I'm not sure why. Despite being told that this book was about "nasty women", I don't think I grasped just what 404 Ink was offering up. I got the Hillary Clinton reference, of course, and figured the writers would have something to say about Trump, misogyny and racism, but I am so used to the modern version of feminism - the fun, sexy, easily-digestible version offered up by women like Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham.

This isn't that at all. Nasty Women is about all the ugliness that exists in our society, and it makes no apologies for it. It's about imperfect feminists who are fuck ups, drug addicts, and dealing with mental health issues. It's about immigrants who refuse to apologize; who stand in proud admiration of their parents' bravery in coming to a new and unwelcoming country.

It's feminism stripped down to its bare bones, without pretty dresses or a catchy beat. And, look, I will be the first to tell you that the personal is political, that everything is political, but this book just doesn't feel like it's about politics. It feels like a collection of personal, sad, angry, passionate stories about women who deviate from the "norm". Which, strangely, makes it so much more powerful.

The best kind of non-fiction, in my opinion, is that which flows like a story. And that's exactly what we have here. The writers take you into their lives, their worlds, and bring you on journeys with them - in one chapter, you are sat cringing in horror as you hear a white man intellectualize his racism at the next table; in another chapter, you are fuming with anger over gendered violence at a punk rock concert.

It's a deeply emotional, chilling anthology. I found it full of surprising pieces like, for example, Becca Inglis' Love in a Time of Melancholia - about mental illness, female role models, the media, celebrity worship, and - oddly - being a fan of Courtney Love. The author's account of her own obsession with Courtney Love was strange, but also wonderful, as she considered the benefits of having a screwed up role model as someone damaged and imperfect enough to relate to.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book doesn't play by the feminist rules we've come to know and accept. But what is feminism if it isn't refusing to play by the rules?

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Profile Image for Nat.
546 reviews3,172 followers
August 2, 2018
description description description description description description description description description description
“No one can do this alone and now more than ever we need each other.”

With intolerance and inequality increasingly normalised by the day, it's more important than ever for women to share their experiences. We must hold the truth to account in the midst of sensationalism and international political turmoil. Nasty Women is a collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.

I've shared my immense excitement for this riveting collection before in my original Skam book tag, so I was beyond ecstatic to finally complete my journey. Full of inclusive, educational and politically relevant essays, this collection breaks all barriers. AND I LOVED IT.

Also, I’m beyond grateful that the triggering essays had warnings at the start. So I did end up skimming or outright skipping some pieces because my heart can't handle certain topics. But, again, I'm immensely thankful for the mentions of trigger warnings at the start of certain essays.

Plus, I learned so much in the span of just 240 pages, and my mind is still reeling. Touching upon topics such as:

• institutional sexism in the medical profession, along with contraception and women’s health.
• the year 2016. It was... tough, socially and politically.
• immigration. And the likes of certain people in their white, middle class bubble still believing that “Difference is bad. Difference is dangerous.”
• female icons.
• raising awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights.
• racism, sexism and microaggressions being uttered in the same breath.
• disability, faith, pregnancy, grief, underrepresented bodies, and so much more are also respectively addressed.
the reclamation of the phrase ‘nasty woman’ ‘a pretty glorious thing’.


There are also so many game-changing and mesmerizing quotes in here, I feel compelled to share them all in this review, instead of going out to shout it from the rooftops... It seems to be the wiser and more practical option, somehow.

“As a black woman in the Dirty South, can someone please explain to me how America was great, when it was great, and when it stopped being great?
I make ~70% of the salary of white male counterparts in my industry and specialty. Statistics show that I am significantly less likely to be married in my lifetime than any white female.The establishment of whiteness as normal and the impact of slavery negatively affects black women disproportionately to every other ethnic group in almost every aspect of American life. I’ve spent my entire adult life seeking the Greatness of America, but I’ve yet to find it. Can I find this Greatness with Google Maps?”

“You’re expected to feel grateful towards a country that has given you a better life than you would have had otherwise, but the idea of feeling grateful towards Britain makes me feel as if we’re in a host country, rather than our own.We have to give back more than those who aren’t a product of immigration.We have to earn our place here.We have to never give anyone a chance to say that we shouldn’t be here.”

“Success to me is no longer ‘passing’, but standing out. Making a measured difference. Changing attitudes, opinions, through being visible and asking questions that challenge oppression. Carving out a new space through the process of not accepting less than inclusion.”

“That being good means different things to different people and it’s impossible to please everyone.That pleasing everyone should never be anyone’s goal.That being good was not making me happy, in fact it was making me lose myself. A good woman is not necessarily a happy woman.And I choose happiness above all. Freedom.”

“‘Not everything is about race.’
‘Not everything is sexist.’
Perhaps not. But enough of it is for it to be an on-going problem that we simply cannot sweep under the carpet anymore. Being dark and female has made me hyperaware of nonsense, insults and abuse targeted at me and if I want change, I have to fight for it and write about it. Women like me are on the receiving end of both bigotries, so big congratulations for proudly proclaiming that you ‘don’t see race’ and that ‘men and women are completely equal in this day and age’. It’s great that you are privileged enough to never have to deal with both issues, so you can just speak it out of existence and deny misogynoir.”

“We need allies. We need support, we need you to acknowledge your white privilege and we need to be believed when we open up about the shit we’ve had to deal with our whole lives.
If all those things are too hard for you to accept and put into
practice, then you are not an intersectional feminist, wanting equality for all women, regardless of race, sexual orientation, class, etc., and if you are not an intersectional feminist then you are not a feminist at all. Remove your badge and hang it up for someone else to use because the battle for equality will only ever be but only half won.”

“The world is a dangerous place right now, but not as dangerous as a nasty woman with a pen in her hand and story to tell. These voices telling our truths cannot be shaken and they certainly will not be drowned out any more.
Why fear us when you can join us?”


ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: March 8th, 2017

5/5 stars

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Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews698 followers
April 24, 2017
This is a collection of essays that talk about being a women today. I do appreciate what they were trying to do here and that they were inclusive and that they covered such a good range of subjects but I just didn't connect with any of it. I think it was the writing most of the writing was not very good and it didn't make me care about the people who were talking. It's a really good effort but it just felt like it could've been better. I got the sense that it was supposed to resonate with me but it didn't.

Profile Image for Sarah.
394 reviews134 followers
June 12, 2017
A must-read! I really really enjoyed these essays. Every single essay focused on something important and what was really impressive was that all of the essays were all different. I thought that the essays were very inclusive and they covered a wide range of topics. What I liked most about these essays was how personal they were. I could really relate and empathise with all of the writers because I could feel they were writing from the heart. I thought most of the essays were extremely well-written and I would definitely read more by the numerous writers from this collection. I think this book is 100% a must-read.

My favourite essays were:
These Shadows, These Ghosts by Laura Lam (5 Stars).
Love in a Time of Melancholia by Becca Inglis (4.5/5 Stars).
Fat in Every Language by Jonatha Kottler (4.5 Stars).

* I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


"I lack understanding on how so many of them can think he is fit to be anything more than dirt on the ground, let alone the President of the United States of America."

"Like many kids growing up in a small town, I spent an introspective childhood dreaming that the excitement of real life would begin when I left."

"I knew I didn’t want children, and I reasoned that if I was old enough to become a parent then I was old enough to choose not to become one."

"Women who make themselves heard have insults flung at them by those threatened by a change in the status quo."

"The only thing you have to do to be a survivor is to be raped and then to survive."

"I’m trying to keep positive about humanity in general, even though it feels like every new week is battering away at that optimism."

"However, his whole campaign was based on hatred, on setting up an Other to blame for the problems of the working class, on stirring up violence and anger. Us versus Them. To vote for him, to have treated him as a legitimate candidate in the first place, to act as if his inflammatory comments are debatable, is to be complicit in his exclusive version of America."

"They want our things –our food, our labour, our money –but they don’t want us."

"I’m tired of knowing that when people mean ‘immigrants’ in the West, they don’t mean white migrants from North America or Australia."

"Vincent Van Gogh, wrote to his brother of his torment and helplessness:‘One feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of a deep dark well, utterly helpless’."

"Depression is a black hole out of which you are too tired to climb."

"The first time, when you have no prior experience of the feeling, depression sinks into your life without detection. The second time, depression is accompanied by a sense of dread as its cold fingers tendril around the corners of your brain. You know this feeling. It is a familiar ghost that you thought you had managed to exorcise. When you remember what the wraith put you through last time, how it impacted your family or friends, you chastise yourself for allowing yourself to slip. You know that you are vulnerable, and you are meant to know what triggers it. You should have kept a tighter grip on things, been more vigilant. Clearly, thoughts like this will not help you leave the well, and are more likely to push you further under the water."

"Growing up in my family was like living every day in ill-fitting clothes. I spent my time feeling uncomfortable and struggling to breathe."

"I didn’t realise until years later that what I felt, being treated differently to the boys around me, was inequality, pure and simple. Girls should work hard, be humble and shut their mouths. Girls should be girly but not too sexy. There are so many rules that come with being a girl that you forget sometimes that these rules are fictitious patriarchal bullshit. You’re so intent on being the good girl everyone wants you to be that you forget to be yourself."

"Real life isn’t like fiction; there are no neat and tidy endings."

"To live in a culture which will grow your tongue so that some names will roll from it, but others will not, reveals much about who and what said culture values. That children are taught to pronounce the name of a composer whose work they may not even know, but do not say the name of the girl who sits across from them every day in class, is a tool of cultural imperialism. It is a clear line, a line heavy with empire and white supremacy, which says: these are the people who are of worth, whose names you need to remember, who you need to respect, and these are the people who can remain nameless, who you don’t need to respect, who are alien to you."

"Even now as I write at my computer, a red line zigzags under Uzoamaka, whilst Tchaikovsky goes unchecked. A subtle reminder, programmed in, of who the system works for and who is out of place."

"...we’re seen as the radical feminists who want women to leave their husbands, become lesbians, dye their hair green. If wanting a woman to be able to own her own sexuality, to be able to live life with freedom and dignity and find and make her own choices are these things, then yes, we are nasty women –the nastiest around."

"As a black woman in the Dirty South, can someone please explain to me how America was great, when it was great, and when it stopped being great?"

"Take a moment and ask yourself who are the real Nasty Women? Those of us who struggle to empower all women or those of us who empower men that ensure we remain second class citizens?"

"I grew up thinking I was fat, and knowing it was a failure of character."

"Fat is who I am: to people who haven’t met me, (‘the bathroom is over there, next to that fat lady’) to people who know me, (‘you looked so good when you lost that weight’); even to myself."

"There was something inside me that was open and desperate, and I filled it up with some potato chips."

"Here’s a fact: fat people know they are fat. We live it every single moment of every day. Whether it has a physical cause like a prescription drug that saves your life, but makes you gain weight; or an emotional or psychological one; or is even simply a deliberate choice, we know we are fat. And if we ever forget it for a moment, there is a whole world to remind us. And you can say it aside, or in your own language ‘dikke vrouw’ (big fat lady), or just think it while looking at us in disgust, but we always know that you know it, too."

"I cannot define my own value by the amount of space I take up at a given moment. I cannot speak to myself in that language anymore."

"A permanent change is a strange thing. It’s difficult to wrap my head around the fact that, for the rest of my life, they will be gone."

"I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a long time to realise that being good is not equal to being subservient."

"I was judged and hated for simply existing –for taking up space which apparently I did not deserve."

"‘Not everything is about race.’ ‘Not everything is sexist.’ Perhaps not. But enough of it is for it to be an on-going problem that we simply cannot sweep under the carpet anymore."
January 26, 2020
I've read a fair number of feminist essays, and quite honestly, this isn't the best collection that I've read. These particular essays discuss in very personal accounts what it means to be a woman in today's world.

I appreciate the title "Nasty Women" as I think it is very fitting, and I think the cover makes for an intriguing read. For me, the content was varied and there were interesting subjects covered, from rape, weight issues, racism and even Trump. The problem with this book was the writing.

The writing was simple, and it was definitely lacking something vital. It surprises me as I am totally with these women that contributed to this book, but the writing just left me feeling rather detached, and quite frankly in some parts, not at all bothered.

Despite my negativity, as I always state, it takes an unbelievable amount of courage to talk about one's personal life to the world, so I appreciate the women that made a valuable contribution in this book.

Profile Image for Nicola.
Author 5 books493 followers
April 22, 2017
An excellent, timely intersectional essay collection on what it's like to be a woman in the western world today. Essential 2017 reading.
Profile Image for L.R. Lam.
Author 24 books1,052 followers
February 6, 2017
This is an incredibly powerful, intersectional collection of essays about what it means to be a woman in 2017 in this tense political climate. You should read it, and not just because I have a meandering essay about my family history in it.
Profile Image for Greyson | Use Your Words.
538 reviews34 followers
October 2, 2018
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tell your stories and tell them LOUD.

Nasty Women is a collection of essays and personal accounts from a diverse group of 22 women speaking about their experiences in the 21st century. Sparked by Trump's presidency, this collection is hard hitting, harrowing and so very important. It comes from a feminism-centered viewpoint, but will have none of your white-washed cis feminism.
Nasty Women gives voice to those that are often unheard, though more often, ignored. It holds every single person accountable for the actions and inactions that led to Donald Trump leading the free world. There is an essay for everyone to find themselves in and even putting that aside, I believe it is something everyone should read no matter your gender, race, religion, social or political standing.

I was going to rate each essay but I've learned that when it comes to collections like this, its best to not do that. Each essay and account is a piece of it's authors heart, how can you put a star rating on that? They were all written beautifully and I can't fault a single one of them, just that some of them I related to more than others, and those I didn't see myself in as much were no less important than those I did because they still taught me something profoundly important.
Profile Image for Jennifer Blankfein.
379 reviews649 followers
March 8, 2017
Complex issues of being a women in today’s day and age are discussed in this compilation of essays by a diverse group of women from all over the country. Topics include Trump, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, body heath, mental illness and gun safety along with sexual orientation, harassment, rape and gender violence. Each essay is unique in voice and provides personal opinions specific to the author but is relatable in some way.

Nasty Women powerfully highlights a wide range of issues and is a must read for all nasty women out there! A great gift for any female in the 21st century! Available March 8th.

See my full review on Book Nation by Jen https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com.
Profile Image for Helen McClory.
Author 9 books195 followers
April 16, 2017
Essential reading for anyone either just getting into feminism or unaware of intersectionality or just wanting to fill their boots on informative, warm, diverse and personal essays on being a woman in the 21st century.

While not every essay was for me, I did love the ones by Laura Waddell, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Elise Hines, Alice Tarbuck, Jonatha Kottler, Chitra Ramaswamy, Kaite Welsh ...actually, this is getting ridiculous. Read the whole thing and see for yourself.
Profile Image for Emma.
971 reviews966 followers
May 11, 2017
This is one of those books that give you such a blinding flash into someone else's life that you come out of it changed. A collection of essays crowdfunded by a Kickstarter campaign, the book addresses some of the fundamental issues in today's society through the prism of personal experience. These are the 'nasty women' Trump is so afraid of: independent, individual, willing to fight for their own rights and those of other marginalised or persecuted people. An essential and inspiring read.

ARC via Netgalley
Profile Image for Kris - My Novelesque Life.
4,639 reviews191 followers
November 12, 2019
2017; 404 Ink
(Review Not on Blog)

A very emotional collection of essays on women's experiences in society. I would recommend you read these a few at a times as it does take emotional punch to the gut at times. Do not go into this expecting scholarly essays, but rather raw moments.

***I received an eARC from NETGALLEY***
Profile Image for Abby.
159 reviews43 followers
April 30, 2017
During the third presidential debate, I was on a business trip in North Carolina with three of my then-coworkers (and still some of the most badass, phenomenal women I know). We were sitting in our AirBnB, sipping wine, and audibly groaning every time Donald Trump opened his mouth. But we were stunned into silence when he uttered the words “such a nasty woman” while Hillary Clinton was speaking.

From the beginning of his campaign, Trump has shown the world that he does not care for or respect women, despite what he may claim. Furthermore, he does not care for or respect any marginalized group in society. And when the election results came in and Trump won the electoral vote, the world reverberated in a moment of fear and silence– before bursting out into powerful, phenomenal resistance.

The book Nasty Woman consists of a collection of essays from women that share their stories, their fears, and their passions. Readers learn about sexual assault, familial femininity, shame, immigration, finding one’s voice in online spheres, and more. I was truly amazed at how a book could profoundly touch on so many important topics in only 240 pages.

The group of authors brought together in this anthology is diverse and incredibly intelligent. Each author brought something unique to the book, and I know that I’ll be following many of their careers now that I’ve finished the book.

I’m not sure how else to review this book, except to urge you all to go pick up a copy. Your life will be changed for the better– I know mine was.


PS. Huge shoutout to the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book for review via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Katie.
69 reviews
July 27, 2017
After following the social media hype - and hugely successful Kickstarter - surrounding 404 Ink's essay collection, I was dying to discover what was in its pages. Thankfully, the book doesn't disappoint; in fact, I found it dug deeper, and covered more wide-ranging issues, than I had expected. From racism to sexism, pregnancy to death, immigration to ableism, Nasty Woman looks at what it means to be a woman today through a variety of experiences and perspectives. For anyone looking for the courage to embrace their inner #NastyWoman in the current climate, 404 Ink has more than a few ideas for you.

[Thanks to 404 Ink and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary digital review copy of Nasty Women; all opinions are my own.]
Profile Image for Susie.
244 reviews715 followers
February 4, 2018
This was a top notch intersectional feminist essay collection. It covered a wide range of issues that women face now. Not every essay was a winner for me, but as a whole piece it really worked. Must read for the new intersectional feminist.
Profile Image for Katharine (Ventureadlaxre).
1,522 reviews46 followers
February 10, 2017
Nasty Women was a project on Kickstarter that ran through January 2017 after commissioning over 20 stories from women on both sides of the Atlantic in the last few weeks of 2016. They're aiming for a release date to fall on the 8th March, International Women's Day, 2017 and are well on their way to meeting that goal.

The contributors are:
Alice Tarbuck, Becca Inglis, Belle Owen, Chitra Ramaswamy, Christina Neuwirth, Claire Heuchan, Elise Hines, Jen McGregor, Joelle Owusu, Jona Kottler, Kaite Welsh, Katie Muriel, Kristy Diaz, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! (in conversation with Sasha de Buyl-Pisco), Laura Lam, Laura Waddell, Mel Reeve, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Ren Aldridge of Petrol Girls, Rowan C. Clarke, Sim Bajwa, and Zeba Talkhani.

From them we have a collection of essays from these women who share their experiences over a variety of topics. Taken from the blurb; 'From working class experience to racial divides in Trump’s America, being a child of immigrants, to sexual assault, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, identity, family, finding a voice online, role models and more, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Zeba Talkhani, Chitra Ramaswamy are just a few of the incredible women who share their experience here.'

I pledged for this project instantly because I adore the writing of Laura Lam and skipped straight to her essay to start off with. It's a devastating story about the women in her family - how her mother grew up under the frightening rule of her mother, and the mother before her. It looks at what was considered the norm of that time, the stigma associated with mental health, and how it continues through the generations if not acted on with determination. It also speaks of a book Lam is writing with her mother that sounds like it'll be a hard but worthwhile read - I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Onto the other essays. Not all are included in this review edition - reading those will have to wait until International Woman's Day - but each and every one so far are as poignant and captivating as Lam's was. The first piece by Katie Muriel is endlessly quotable in regards to the current political rumblings in America - 'Sometimes, however, peace has to take a holiday. Sometimes, there are battles to be fought.' It speaks of how politics can divide a family, and how awful some people can decide they have the right to be, even to their own family members.

The next essay discusses what it's like to be a Black woman from Glasgow, and what this results in - white people feeling they can tough her hair as if she's from a petting zoo, or people asking increasingly incredulous questions about where she's really from, treading delicately as if they could be misunderstood as being racist. Except it is racist. Full stop.

Jen McGregor's essay really resonated with me, as a person who's constantly being told by doctors that I can't make a decision about my own body when it comes to procreation. We need more stories like McGregor's - we need more discussion about how we can barely decide things for ourselves and even then with medical guidance, tiny decisions can have such massive ramifications. McGregor's health issues are severe and yet it still takes until she's 31 until she gets the surgery she knew she wanted from a much younger age. I've recently turned 30, and I'm currently on a waitlist for the same surgery and even without the added bonus of osteopenia I can't wait to finally gain the the control and serenity over my body I've always wanted. I too have been told that even when I'm in my 30s, surgeons may refuse the referral until I have a husband who can confirm he too doesn't want children. Which makes me so mad I can't even formulate an apt sentence. It's ridiculous.

I won't go through all of the essays as I've given more than enough away. I highly recommend this book as it's easy reading - or at least easy for such hard topics. There's trigger warnings, and the essays are written in such a warm way as if we are allies (and I hope we all are!) and they're sharing a story between friends. United we stand, and all that. This is an important book, and I'm so glad it exists. So many of us reading will finally think 'oh, I'm not the only one.'
Profile Image for Kelly.
314 reviews31 followers
February 13, 2017
The second I heard this was being put together I knew that I absolutely needed a copy of this in my life. A collection of feminist essays? Right up my street! I was VERY lucky to get approved for this on Netgalley so a HUGE thanks to the publishers and all of the contributors.

Nasty Women is what can only be described as essential reading for all women. Not just women, but all people. I learnt a huge amount from reading the wide variety of essays that are in this collection. I truly believe there is something for everyone in this book and most definitely something for everyone to learn. Ranging from racism, disability and social classes to pregnancy, contraception, immigration and beyond, there will be something in here that EVERY woman can connect with. Powerful.

As a woman I was able to identify with so many points throughout this collection but the most wonderful thing about this book is its diversity. There are essays here from white women, women of colour, disabled women, women from working class backgrounds and more. This is such a relevant read in today’s climate and I highly recommend to everyone.

I’m not going to do a summary and individual rating of each essay because who am I to say how much I liked everyone’s essays? These are personal experiences we are talking about and I am certainly not going to judge them against each other. I enjoyed each of the essays in this collection and found each of them to be very thought provoking.

I am so grateful to each of the contributors for being able to put themselves out there for the world to see. I have no doubt in my mind that each and every one of you is a great source of inspiration to women out there and this will only help to spread that feeling further. Thank you, you nasty women.
Profile Image for Nicole Field.
Author 18 books143 followers
May 21, 2017
NetGalley Review

This is an incredibly important book. It's also an incredibly difficult one, and one that I was ultimately unable to finish just because it was too confronting. That doesn't make it a bad book. That just makes me someone who is looking after my mental health.

As a female bodied person in the current society, I have personally seen a lot of the things that various women speak up about in Nasty Women. It was difficult to read so many accounts on rape and various assaults and/or abuse, because I have been abused. It was difficult to read when identities have not been allowable within families or larger communities because I have been told that I am imagining things and that I am not the way I think I am. It was difficult to read about lack of support when it comes to both mental and physical health, and to know how I have lied to myself and been lied to about the same.

And yet, these are undeniably truths of the culture we live in, and there is something wrong with that.

Nasty Women aims to shine light on the facts of our culture that some people may wish to lie to themselves about. It shines light on those facts in specific and inarguable ways, with examples, and dates, and receipts. Many of the essays herein remind women that they are not alone, and that is important for those who are able to hear it. That we are not imagining the things that we know we see.

That we are powerful and do not need to apologise for being in the world the way we are, whatever form that takes.
Profile Image for Heather.
160 reviews
April 30, 2017
As a white, straight, middle class woman, I comprehend that I have certain privileges. It is only when I read stories of this nature that I realize just how vast those privileges are. Not only do I want to read these stories, but I feel it's necessary to do so, to help me try to understand what other people go through. To keep reminding myself that racism, sexism, misogyny and the like is REAL. It happens day in and day out, over and over, again and again and it's brutal and raw and terrible. It needs to stop. I wish it would stop.

This book made me question myself. My behavior. My beliefs. I think that's what a good book does. It challenges the reader to be introspective.

I appreciate and encourage and commend these stories and the authors for their existence and bravery and boldness. Their truth.

Personally speaking, there wasn't one story I really connected with. I have not faced any of the same situations most of these women faced. Except sexism. Which is the only real connection I made with these stories.

This book was a good read. I don't regret spending the time it took me to read it, but I wouldn't say I overly enjoyed it or looked to rush back to it.

Thank you to NetGalley & 404 Ink for a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Becky.
567 reviews2 followers
June 22, 2017
I've struggled with this review. I so much wanted to enjoy this collection of essays, it seemed to have everything I would want to read about, but going through it made me feel further from the feminist movement than ever before. The language used doesn't help, I'm involved in the feminist movement but still found so much of the terminology off putting.

The one thing that upsets me most is that I feel these essays do far more to divide the feminist movement than reach out and bring others into it. I also found myself feeling like I had to bring out my own 'intersections' - was I struggling to understand the numerous essays about seeking role models because as a person with albinism I long ago accepted that I wouldn't see 'someone who looked like me' on tv or film, other than as an easy trope for weirdly evil? Was it because my visual impairment get me out of club culture? Or perhaps being asexual again means we're not part of the 'spectrum' - no part of lgbtq for us!

Only Kaite Welsh's essay seemed to stretch beyond these limitations, wryly acknowledging how stereotypes could be both useful and limiting.

So disappointed with this collection.
Profile Image for Jo Marjoribanks.
51 reviews
April 10, 2017
I consider myself to be liberal and open-minded, but this collection opened my mind even further and gave me new perspectives I hadn't considered. I didn't connect with all the essays, but each one definitely had a distinctive and unique voice behind it and wove an intricate tapestry of what the world is like for women in 2017. My favourite was Jen McGregor's 'Lament: Living with the Consequences of Contraception'. In addition to speaking to the reader, she also spoke directly to the Depo-Provera contraceptive she was forced to stop using due to health reasons. Some elements of her story are very similar to my own, and I could feel her struggle through her words. A fantastic collection I would highly recommend to everyone.
Profile Image for Laura Jones.
19 reviews61 followers
February 8, 2017
Full disclosure: I am full of bias because I published this book. I like transparency so there you go. What I will say is that while reading and editing this book it made me a better and more aware intersectional feminist which I'm grateful to the contributors for. I hope it does the same for readers, nasty women and nasty people-to-be alike, all over the world, during this frankly terrifying of times.
Profile Image for Deb.
49 reviews
May 17, 2017
The stand out piece in this anthology was by Laura Lam about the generations of 'nasty women' in her family. The rest of the pieces felt more like zine articles that would have benefited from an editor's eye to sharpen the narratives.
1 review2 followers
February 9, 2017
Bold and powerful words by strong women. (Over twenty essays here. One is mine, but it's the other writers I am pointing to here, who say amazing things I couldn't dream of saying)
Profile Image for Jackie Law.
876 reviews
March 8, 2017
“Take a moment and ask yourself who are the real Nasty Women? Those of us who struggle to empower all women or those of us who empower men that ensure we remain second class citizens?”

Nasty Women is a collection of essays written by contemporary women about their everyday experiences of living in the twenty-first century western world. The contributors come from a variety of cultures, their points of view percipient in reflecting the particular challenges they have encountered due to their: gender, appearance, physical ability, creed.

Each account details the daily aggressions the authors have faced from family, friends and strangers. These are both verbal and physical, sometimes well intentioned but always damaging. Women of colour have their hair touched as though an animal in a petting zoo. Curvy women have their bottoms pinched, their waists grasped. Fat women are berated for eating, advised of a new diet plan, told how good they looked that time they lost some weight. Muslim women are required to defend themselves by those whose perceptions of their beliefs are certain yet skewed.

Many of the authors ponder the cost to their mental well-being of the expectations in which they were raised. Women are required to be good and this equates to being considered attractive, compliant and subservient, especially by men. White male privilege and those who uphold it, fearful perhaps at a perceived threat to the benefits they take as their due, requires that women abide by their definition of the ‘natural order’. Arguments for change are granted validity only if men suffer too.

Much of the harassment detailed is blamed on the survivor for the way they act or look. They are told that if they would only be good then they would be safe, with little thought by the advisers and accusers as to what they would be safe from. Why it is considered acceptable that women are required to live their lives under constant threat of attack?

The accounts by women who suffer different experiences to mine were enlightening. By listening and responding appropriately to such first hand experiences, conduct may be adjusted. Those that gave voice to ordeals I have suffered offered comfort. So ingrained is the demand that women cope and remain silent, it is rare to find discussion let alone acknowledgement of how widespread and damaging these accepted behaviours are.

It is not just men who perpetuate the patriarchy and silence dissent. In her essay, Choices, Rowan C. Clarke relates how her mother instilled in her the belief that she was abnormal because she did not appear concerned enough about losing weight, being pretty and desirable to boys.

“I hated myself. My mother has always been very opinionated and everybody’s actions were judged through her particular morality lens. It was hard work to please my mother. She would get so enraged when I didn’t act the way she wanted me to. […] Why couldn’t I just be normal and make her proud?”

In the age of Trump and his ilk it seems more important than ever to recognise and share experiences and to call out the damage that attempting to silence women will cause. If speaking out for tolerance and equality makes me nasty, then I wear that badge with pride.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, 404 Ink.
Profile Image for Lindi.
164 reviews7 followers
February 5, 2019
We are almost a year into Trump's presidency and most of these essays were written mere months into it. On election night, like most of my fellow Democrats, I cried and watched in shock as we elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. The next day, I got online to see multiple cases of hate crimes around the country. I was so sad and so angry.
"Anger is not enough. It is insufficient to build or take power. Anger will not change the fact the Republicans have taken control of all three branches of government and control both Chambers of the Legislature in 32 states. Anger will not stop vigilantes from terrorizing our communities, and anger will not change an economy that seems, to many of us, disposable." ― Alicia Garza, How to Build a Movement
11 months of failed policy has certainly quelled my emotions. That same anger and sadness has evolved into the need for action and change, particularly within my own party. I no longer want to commiserate over Hillary's loss as I want to look forward to the 2018 mid-term elections. Most days I am filled with a sense of hope that Trump's presidency is marred by scandal and the failure to pass any sort of major legislation, despite the Republican control of Congress. (At the time of this review, Congress is in the midst of passing a tax code that the CBO says is going to put us even further into debt).

However, as a white woman I know I am privileged. I live in a mostly white community in a mostly liberal white state. While I face the loss of my reproductive rights, I don't have to live in fear of being harmed for wearing an article of clothing, or that my place of worship could be vandalized. So I appreciate how diverse the nasty women of this book were. They came from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life. And as a white woman, I appreciate reading from a black woman's perspective to know what I can do better.

This pains me to give only 3 stars, as this collection of feminist essays is right up my alley. However, some of the essays I just couldn't relate to. As a Bernie supporter who voted for Hillary, I am uninterested in having the continued Hillary vs. Bernie debate. For me that ended on November 8, 2016. I am less interested in talking about how Hillary lost, as I am having the discussion about what Hillary and the Democratic party did wrong so we can correct and affect change in 2018 and 2020. And, as I said, I don't want to feel sad anymore. I also feel like I would have possibly liked this better if the essays had been grouped together a little more cohesively. It felt a little too random for me. I like essay collections to have a flow.

This isn't the light, humorous feminism most women my age are used to. This is dark, gritty, and will probably piss you off. Despite my misgivings, I definitely still enjoyed it thoroughly. I would particularly recommend this for anyone needing a person of color's perspective (so everyone). My favorite essays included: Is There Ever A Right Time to Talk to Your Children About Fascism?, Dispatches From a Texas Militarized Zone, X Cuntry, How to Build a Movement, and All-American.
Profile Image for W.G. Saraband.
Author 1 book31 followers
October 26, 2017
What a spectacularly brilliant anthology. It really is a fascinating and compelling read for anyone trying to make sense of Feminism in the 21st century, particularly from voices not often given any platforms, such as muslim women, women from black or ethnic backgrounds, and queer/trans women.

As with any anthology, the writing of each author varies, and some are bound to speak more to you than others. But, to the credit of the wonderful work done by the editors, the overall quality seems to be pretty much the same and top notch. Not only is the message important, but it is also delivered in great and compelling prose.

When I picked up Nasty Women, at the Golden Hare bookshop in Edinburgh, I thought I wouldn't have much to learn from it, being a gay immigrant living in Scotland and a lifelong advocate for social equality and feminist issues. And yet, I was wrong, because I got to experience voices that were new to me, and showed me the world I thought I knew from an entirely new perspective.

This was particularly true for the story of @ClaireShrugged aka SisterOutrider, as I had never been given the opportunity to listen to the experience of a Black feminist living in Scotland - and how differently this society, which I love, can actually be experienced.

Nasty Women is the product of women speaking loudly and unapologetically, as all women should be able to, in an ideal world which, sadly, none of us inhabit. And that is why it is so important not only for other women to read, but for men as well. Nasty Women has a lot to offer to anyone willing to listen, but that's the key - if you disagree with something written here, take a couple of minutes to forget your own personal circumstances, and try to put yourself in the other woman's shoes.

For those willing to, there's plenty to learn from here.
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