‘Nasty Women’ by 404 Ink

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Nasty Women, ‘a collection of essays and accounts on what is is to be a woman in the 21st century’, was probably my most anticipated read of the year so far. Following its journey from the beginning, through its Kickstarter glory, to it landing on my doormat I was excited to read the essays that promised to be unapologetically loud in their feminism.

I was not disappointed.

A truly intersetional feminist collection that covers issues with birth control, experiences with gendered violence, classism, racism, xenophobia and beyond, giving you insight on the many realities of women living in the 21st century.

I told myself I was going to read it slowly, maybe a couple of essays a day. It started as I planned, I read a couple of essays then put it down (for an hour or so) then I read a couple more, and more, and more. I devoured every essay, every word. I felt enraged, empowered, horrified, and ready to shout back at those who seek to oppress.

In short, you NEED to read this book.

Some highlights… (there are so many to choose from)

  • ‘Lament: Living with the Consequences of Contraception’ by Jen McGregor

“What I did mind was the moment when one nurse asked me ‘is your husband happy for you to have this procedure?’ Er, what? I remember thinking. It’s 2014, I’m an adult, my husband doesn’t get to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body.”

  • ‘Go Home’ by Sim Bajwa

“[…] it’s in the moment where a politician stokes anti- immigration sentiments and large groups of people respond positively. […] The moment that I realised my Prime Minister will smile and walk hand in hand with Trump before condemning his actions as racist, fascist, and inhumane.”

  • ‘On Naming’ by Nadine Aisha Jassat

“[…] in those instances – when my name is called into question – I need to know that the community within which I work and thrive has my back. But, as Warsan Shire points out, that is hard to do when many of them mispronounce my name.”

  • ‘The Difficulty in Being Good’ by Zeba Talkhani

“The thing about shouting racial slurs from a moving car is that you know exactly what the intentions are. It’s to unhinge you, to bully you and to make you feel bad about yourself. But when racism comes wrapped in ‘good intentions’ it’s difficult to pinpoint.”

  • ‘The Dark Girl’s Enlightenment’ by Joelle A. Owusu

“‘You’re so pretty… you know… for a Black girl.’ – used by boys of all races, but also as a reminder that I should be grateful for their compliments, ’cause… you know, I’m a Black girl, who needs to know that she is at the bottom of the pretty pyramid – bottom rung of the Ladder of Likability.”