“This quote changed my life and inspired the title of this book” – Florence Given.
“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilisation in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “Female”.Erin McKean
London based artist, activist, and now author Florence Given’s debut book begins with an inspiring quote from Lexicographer Erin McKean. McKean’s words set the tone for what some are hailing a feminist manifesto. The Sunday Times Bestseller covers everything from internalized misogyny to the shame women feel behind masturbation. You can’t help but feel inspired to push for change after reading the powerful words alongside 32 beautiful illustrations drawn by Given herself.
The Male Gaze
Throughout her book, Florence encourages acceptance of parts of the female body that are traditionally thought of as ‘taboo.’ She discusses how the theory of the ‘male gaze,’ in which women are sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer, often stops women from simply existing free of outside ‘surveillance.’ Given also touches on the Politics of body hair. Namely why it is more socially acceptable for thin, white, cisgender women to grow out their body hair. In her recent Gay Times interview, she discusses her experience with this and how she rediscovered her autonomy after escaping the male gaze within her own relationship.
“I had come out of an awful long-term relationship and one of the first things I did to restore the autonomy I felt I’d lost to years of compromising, was binning all of my razors and letting my hair grow out! I’d always wanted to do it, and now that I could exist without the constant surveillance of the male gaze (my ex), I felt room to breathe.”Florence Given – Gay Times
Uncomfortable Truths and Normalization
Writing on her Instagram account, Given acknowledges that her book will include uncomfortable truths about living and existing as a woman in our patriarchal society. In her recent interview with Grazia, she explains that she wanted to create something that forces women to question ‘all the things we think are normal but are actually just normalized.’ In other words, Given intends to encourage women to stand up to misogynistic behavior and demand change, rather than simply accepting this as our mainstream.
“Yes, my book is going to make you angry, as you realise that no matter how you decide to present yourself , patriarchy will find a way to chew you up and spit you back out… and still have you crawl back only to do it to you again. Because it’s a manipulative narcissist. The only way to escape is to realise that you are whole without approval.”Instagram: @florencegiven
What Do Her Readers Think?
“I found the book so empowering it literally makes me not reply to people on my phone. Florence literally serves as my conscious every time I go to reply to someone draining I can hear her like hun protect your energy. This book has made me cry twice because it is so truthful, it forces you to confront yourself in the best way possible and also demands self-love which I needed.
I feel like it’s changed the way I think of myself. It”s allowed me also to accept that all of us girls are together in our suffering and we can let that be our power. I laughed equally at the accuracy of what Florence has to say. She discusses experiences which initially I thought only I had been through. She has made me realise that the audacity of patriarchal norms is almost laughable to us and we can use this to unite together!”Hannah, 19
Florence Tackled Every Aspect of Intersectional Feminism
I loved the chapters ‘You Are The Love of Your Own Life’ and ‘Maybe It’s A Girl Crush or Are You Queer’ best. I liked the book so much as it felt like the first book from one person’s perspective that perfectly tackled every aspect of intersectional feminism. She acknowledged and understood that all women and queer women especially have vastly different experiences. I loved that. It also made me call out some of my previous actions. I feel as if I have realised where I’ve gone wrong previously so I can continue to better myself as a person. And growing. It’s taught me that everything I feel is so incredibly valid. Also, that I shouldn’t wish for a relationship ever because I actually don’t need one.”
Elisha’s Favourite Quote from The Book: “A man in a room full of women is ecstatic. A woman in a room full of men is terrified” – Unknown.Elisha, 19
More Men Need to Read This
“Florence is like the big sister we all need. However, more men need to read this! It’s an essential part of feminist reading and should be part of the school curriculum. After reading the book I was so empowered and ready to get to work in becoming a better feminist”Lauren, 22
Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word
“After leaving an abusive relationship, Floss’ instagram account became my safe space. Her words and knowledge on the destructive behaviour of the patriarchy allowed me to realise that the word ‘feminist’ is not some dirty word! Her explanation of internalised misogyny also resonated with me, as many women get drawn into this even in 2020. Key reading for every gender.”Francesca, 27
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is giving people from all backgrounds worldwide the ability to challenge the anachronistic narratives fed to us by the patriarchy and empower ourselves instead. With Florence’s large online following and passionate beliefs about contemporary intersectional feminism, she has shown her ability to invoke real change through her online platform and now through her own book.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty (£12.99 RRP) Buy it here: https://tinyurl.com/yac4egpf