Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

I was aware of the Everyday Sexism project from its very earliest days. For those who are unfamiliar, Laura Bates was using both the Everyday Sexism website and its social media platforms to raise awareness for the misogyny that women faced every single day of their lives, but which otherwise might not get much attention.

A lot of what the project talked about in its early days was street harassment and it went a long way towards bringing this to the attention of otherwise oblivious men, and of highlighting how harmful such behaviour can be – but that wasn’t all that was covered, and that isn’t all the book covers either. Everyday Sexism looks at the ways in which misogyny has infiltrated practically every aspect of our lives, and sometimes in insidious ways.

Throughout the book, statements submitted to the original website are included, which gives everything a very direct, human perspective. For example, she’ll write about how many employers continue to discriminate against female staff despite it being illegal, due to the fact that most workers won’t be able to afford to take their employer to court, and then she’ll back it up with examples.

The book is admittedly mostly UK-focused (and she is a UK writer, so it makes sense), but I think she does a fantastic job of illuminating the breadth of the problem. From the sickening and dehumanising levels of misogyny found in newspapers like The Sun, through to the appalling statements made by even so-called progressive politicians, the author does a fantastic job of underlining how deeply rooted this really is – but by tying it into the submissions to her project, she really strongly reinforces that this is ruining people’s lives and isn’t just an academic matter.

If you’re looking for an entry-point for feminist reading, this is probably the best place to start. I have been very conscious of the sexism in our world for many years now, but she made an excellent point that I had never considered before – namely, that sexism is the form of prejudice that is most widely considered acceptable, with different forms of misogyny arising from countless public figures, and there rarely being any substantial consequences for them. Heavily recommended.

Rating: 9.3/10

Buy it here.

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