Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti

I appreciate that this is specifically marketed to younger women. There’s a lot of good information and the conversational tone, even with the swearing, can be a welcome reprieve from the academic language for any age. What I find great about the marketing is that it presents itself as and is an introductory book. It’s a good place to start, especially if you’re in the age that it targets.
Older women just getting into the mix, just as I was, might be better served by All the Rebel Women: The Rise of the Fourth Wave of Feminism but this would still be a good book to read if you’re a bit older so that it could be further recommended to the younger women in your life that aren’t into the academic aspects of feminism. I also appreciated that this was a second edition that brought in the massive online feminism that had begun shortly after the first edition had been published. It wasn’t a long amount of time between editions, but so much had happened that I agree with the author that it was a good time to do it.
While it isn’t comprehensive to all intersections of feminism or all women’s experiences, it would be messed up of us to expect it to be. This is a great look at feminism as it stands and where it’s trying to go. Valenti herself is a little to the left of me politically, so I won’t say that agree perfectly on all fronts, but I agree with her that all feminists are not required to agree on all fronts. We’re only required to respect each other’s decisions and make sure that we are making them for each of our own reasons and not because someone told us how to act or be or what to believe in. She only gets a little insistent on one or two things, like the name changing.

A few of my favorite things:

  • the representation of feminism as a pro- movement instead of an anti- movement. We get presented as against so many things that people forget that we are actually for equity in all respects.
  • People are people and people can suck sometimes, no matter the gender. This book fully acknowledges that woman can be terrible people and sexist sometimes too.
  • It brings up just about everything I’ve ever heard an MRA use against us, even the ones who aren’t shouting and hateful.
  • it mentions and elaborates on the need to be intersectional and inclusive in our feminism
  • the pieces on dating, marriage, and weddings are sublime. (but I totally don’t agree on the name changing, I’m very pro name change if you want to do it. I did.)

Again, this is a great start, especially for a young woman newly getting into feminism and especially if she want’s to become active within it. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for young men to read either.  In fact, MRAs might take a look too so that they can get an idea of the feminism that is growing and not the stale ideas of feminism that society currently contains. If you’re going to fight us, at least fight what we actually are and not the mythic beast you think we are. We’re more on your side than you think. Take a look and see what we can work together on instead, like not expecting you to pay for things that we are perfectly capable of paying for ourselves. It’s possible, I really believe it is.

Get Full Frontal Feminism at your local library or my astore!

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