Book Review: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen
Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it means to be a twenty-first-century feminist. It’s packed with contributions from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia and politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. All together, the book features more than forty-four pieces and illustrations.
Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.
Just go ahead and buy like twenty of these, okay? Give them out for birthdays, for holidays, for graduation gifts. This book is for everyone and makes it clear that feminism is, too.
Set up scrapbook-style, like Rookie, this book packs in a bunch of pieces in a bunch of formats. I read the whole book in one sitting. There are personal essays, poems, song lyrics, comics, letters, lists, illustrations, and more. Readers are given a brief history of feminism and information on its various waves. Chapters are divided up by themes like Body and Mind, Relationships, Culture and Pop Culture, etc. The contributions range from less than a page long to much longer. Some pieces are original and some were previously published elsewhere. A sampling of some of my favorites: Kody Keplinger’s “Feminist Songs To Sing Along To” playlist; Malinda Lo’s essay on her paternal grandmother who introduced her to feminist heroes in literature and created young Malinda’s ideal of a feminist; Anne Theriault’s “The Monster Book of Questions,” which examines feminism and mental health; Angie Manfredi’s piece about the word “fat” and how feminism helped her take the word back and embrace it; the always brilliant Liz Prince’s comic “I Guess This Is Growing Up,” about moving from misogyny to feminism; Mikki Kendall’s essay on inclusive feminism, the many ways to be a feminist and approaches to feminism, and how feminism doesn’t mean you’re still not biased, harmful, ignorant, and exclusive; Ashley Hope Perez’s piece on being a nice girl feminist (and the nice girl commandments we all have to learn to break); and Kaye Mirza’s essay on being a feminist and a Muslim. FAQs are interspersed, asking things like, “What does intersectional feminism mean?” and “Is there a difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’?” Fun lists include women scientists, black girl friendships, and great girl friendships in fiction.
This diverse, inclusive, intersectional, and immensely readable anthology needs to be in every school, public, and personal library. A fantastic read.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 01/24/2017
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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