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Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution

Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution - Laurie Penny Unspeakable Things is a critical read for anyone interested in gender politics and feminism. This was a book of ups and downs. I loved the anger and intensity, and Penny's honesty is refreshing. I didn't so much love the circuitous route she took in getting to her point. We would be moving down a very clear and well-defined line of thought and suddenly veer off on a tangent. It could have been tightened up, trimmed down, and made less repetitive. It could have, if it were a scholarly work. But it's not, she's very clear about that in the introduction. Instead, it's more of a personal treatise built around individual experiences. And for that, her style works.

I am left a bit confused, however. She talks about the need to expand our definition of feminism...but a lot her focus was on what feminism isn't. In a way, it was almost exclusionary. I'm not saying we have to all hold hands, but I got a lot more of "they're doing it wrong" from this than anything else. I started this year off reading Bad Feminist and although Penny and Gay seem to have the same underlying argument (a more inclusive, intersectional, and global feminism) you couldn't find a more different approach. She's persuasive and I definitely got caught up in her arguments, but she's also pretty unforgiving. I'm of the mindset that anyone who provokes debate and interest in feminism is doing something good, so even though Penny sometimes rubbed me the wrong way, I think what she's arguing is important for anyone who wants to be a decent person.