Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen – Book Review of Why I Loved It
I do love reading a good book and like many things I also find myself falling into the marketing trap of picking up a good book/bottle/product if it has a really good label. As you can see from this book, Helen the author knew her audience and she knew how to grab their attention. Also it might just be me but the title really felt like it was call to me as I am Too Fat and Too Loud for certain and definitely be described on more than one occasion that I am too unruly too, so I felt empower to read it and find out how my reign was about to begin.
As much as the book’s title is very eye-catching it is also very intelligent in recognising some of the issue being faced by women in the modern world. Also it must be noted that this book was published before the whole Women’s March and #Metoo movements were even truly started.
The book is organised into chapter dedicated to different irrational and unjust critiques that women are faced with just for being women and the individual famous women who encapsulate this factors. Some chapters were really enlightening in the sense that I hadn’t really acknowledge that this was a women’s issue and just took some of them for given.
It starts with Serena Williams being Too Strong, and it was great to learn more about who Serena became Serena, that she leaned into the fact that she was more musclier and strong that the way female tennis players had been seen before. She literally turned her strength into a stregthen not just in the tennis world but for all female athletes.
I can of course really appreciate the Too Fat chapter and it was also refreshing that is wasn’t a full chapter about empowering women to have more body confidence (not that they shouldn’t). It was went on to deal with why it is acceptable for some women to not be stick thin if they can also tick a few other boxes such as be funny. It also addresses the issue of the commentary and negative remarks women get when if they have been larger for a while they do loss weight. As someone on weight loss journey and when two years ago I had lost a lot of weight (after being fat for most of my life) a few people were negative and told me to stop losing weight even though I was still very much overweight and it wasn’t a health issue to keep losing weight. I gained even more respect for Melissa McCarthy who the chapter was based on and how she deals with all aspects of female weight and how it is dealt with in the media.
Each chapter just gave you another issue that we as women face and the odd unspoken rules that we are judged against not just by men but sometimes even more so by each other. From being
Too Gross – well that isn’t lady like, you aren’t meant to think like that
Too Slutty – You can be sexy but not too much and only in certain situations, and that there is triple standard when you include the views on women and lay those views with women of different races
Too Old – oh you shouldn’t be do that, only for young people
Too Pregnant – it is meant to be like in the movies, that you just get a little basketball bump and you go on like normal but don’t forget to also glow and be happier than normal
Too Naked – We should all free the nipple but only those on young and pretty females, don’t be too openly comfortable with your body, you must maintain the image of a quiet but sexy women
Then of course there was the very topical chapter about Hillary Clinton, which could be an entire book in of itself. That she was Too Shrill, and not the right type of feminine. The double standards shown during the 2016 election was horrifying to watch. I can also said it isn’t just on the big stage, I experience similar double standards of attitudes to women in the work environment. From what is expected by a women to be considered ‘hard working’ verse the much lower of a male counterpart. We are called bossy when men are just leaders, we have ego where men have confidence and pride in what they do. I could go on for a while on this subject.
What I took most away from the book beside the education on why some of these stigmas exist is that I am not alone in suffering from them and that we should all rise up together and demand the change in these perceptions. It also isn’t a male verse female issue most of the time, far from actually, some of these issues arise as the women encourage these very narrow boundaries of also what is ‘acceptable’ feminine behaviours. Whether women are doing this to each other as a form of self-preservation, I don’t know but we need to acknowledge we are also part of the problem and look at the bigger picture. We don’t all fix the same characteristics, there is no perfect formula. We need to all allow each other to be unruly women and say that individuality is great and encourage all shapes, views, races and personalities to just be the best version of themselves, however that manifests itself. For there is not model female, we are all unruly and too something in our way and that should be championed.
I would encourage everyone to read this book, to just to gain that insight into yourself and how you might be viewed by society and also learn about who you might be incorrectly or not fully comprehending other women.