Title: Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
Author: Lindy West
Pub Date: May 2016
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With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.
I am sad to say that I didn’t know about Lindy West before I read this book. I purchased this book because I want to buy any new release from feminist books and because I noticed that it gets excellent reviews on Goodreads. So I just ordered it without researching the author. In this case, I am glad that I bought it because it is a book that I will get back to very often, I will pick chapters that suit best my current situation and search for words of wisdom and kindness from Lindy West. It was so easy for me to relate to Lindy, she is fat as I am, and she is a feminist as I am. And we share some insecurities and troubles with being a fat feminist woman and speaking about that. I am not that ‘loud’ as Lindy, I still need to learn a lot to be more confident of my opinions and this book is a perfect source of learning for me.
Shrill is a memoir, collection of essays on various social topics – being a fat person in today’s world, being a woman, being a fat woman who wants to be funny, being a feminist. Living and working in an environment full of trolls that are constantly trying to harm you with tweets and comments discussing your body, sexuality and threatening you with rape. Lindy shares her stories with vulnerability, and she writes how it was for her without prettying it up. She is hilarious in her writing but jumps to being serious at just the right moments when the topic calls for it. It is amazing how huge part of her life become a political statement – she is fat and admits it, she is not trying to lose weight to comply with the society’s expectations, she is happy and in love! And it is surprising that being happy and in love can be a political statement. Because of how happy and unapologetic she is she was flooded with trolls’ comments, she was flooded with hate. Being happy was the exact reason that gave her one ex-troll that apologised to her – he trolled her because he couldn’t stand her being a fat, happy lady that dares to say no to world’s BS. Even her marriage is a political statement – she married a thin man! How dare a fat person take a slim, handsome man from the market? Fat people can only date fat people; they can choose only bodies that match their bodies, not humans that they like and appreciate and love.
“I think the most important thing I do in my professional life today is delivering public, impermeable ‘no’s and sticking to them. I say no to people who prioritize being cool over being good. I say no to misogynists who want to weaponize my body against me. I say no to men who feel entitled to my attention and reverence, who treat everything the light touches as a resource for them to burn. I say no to religious zealots who insist that I am less important than an embryo. I say no to my own instincts to stay quiet.”
Bonus: This book had such an effect on me that I asked for pink and grey manicure realising just later that those are the colours of the book cover.