In a book with a title that could well have (and sometimes has) been specifically directed at me, Anne Helen Petersen – a woman who regularly brightens up my internet reading – takes a look at how the behaviour of women is policed by society, using the lens of celebrity. With each chapter focusing on a different female celebrity – with a cast including an athlete, singer, politician, reality TV star and more – Petersen looks at the various aspects of their characters that have seen them break the acceptable mould of womanhood, and how each woman is navigating her life and career and either embracing or distancing herself from the popular perception.
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud gave me a lot to ponder, especially whenever I came across something that I wasn’t sure of my opinion on, making me try to analyse my own reactions and whether they were actually my own or an attitude I had internalised somewhere along the line. For example, if I’m honest, I find it very tiresome that most men with a music career can star in videos and live performances wearing a whole outfit while the women stay on the skimpy side, and have never quite bought the arguments about this being empowering (it always smacks to me of someone – probably a male record company exec – telling them that to be successful they need to lose weight and show some skin), but at the same time I’m also a believer that what a woman wears (or doesn’t) is entirely up to her – so there were certainly times during my reading that my thoughts ran in circles.
Insightful and interesting and, through the use of celebrities, very accessible, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud is definitely worth your time.