The Truth About French WomenThe Blurb

The Truth About French Women shows us that French women really are fascinating, but not for the reasons you think. French women have a mystique about them. They have, throughout the ages, been considered by some as a species apart – apparently flawless women, for whom sex and sensuality are central to their identity.

But are French women really a model of elegance, always perfectly dressed with designer clothes as the stereotype would have us believe? Are they all intellectual, classy creatures with a perfect waistline, even if they eat croissants au beurre all day long? Are they all sexually liberated, wearing kinky lingerie and bedding other women’s husbands (seducing them with a bottle of champagne kept near the bed, of course)?

The Truth About French Women focuses on who French women really are, and why they’re more interesting than the clichés. It calls on women throughout French history who have defied societal norms and created their own destiny. French women who include heroines such as Jeanne d’Arc, the teenage girl who led the French army to success; the legendary sans culottes, who were instrumental during the French Revolution and Coco Chanel, who not only built a fashion empire, but also liberated women from the constraints of the corset, allowing an unprecedented amount of physical freedom for the fairer sex. It’s also a study into the realities of everyday life for the contemporary French woman, and how she interprets love, art and politics.

The Review

I don’t really know what I was expecting with The Truth about French Women. What I got was a really interesting book about: French women, French history and a dollop of feminism.

The Truth about French Women by Marie Morgane Le Moel is a really interesting read. I learnt a lot about subjects of which I had no previous knowledge. I was presented with French women that shaped the state of a country, the economy, philosophy, and teachings. It was truly fascinating.

I did feel that the feminist angle was, at times, lost among the historical content. I also felt that the author sometimes encouraged the homogenous beliefs about French women rather than subverting the often negative opinions. I don’t know if this was intentional but I can’t fathom for the life of me why Marie Morgane Le Moel would do such a thing.

Either way, this The Truth about French Women is truly fascinating and extremely well written.

The Truth about French Women by Marie Morgane Le Moel is available now.

4 Stars

Title: We Should All Be Feminists

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 65 Pages

The Blurb

A personal and powerful essay from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the bestselling author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, based on her 2013 TEDx Talk of the same name.

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay – adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. With humour and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century – one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences – in the U.S., in her native Nigeria – offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a best-selling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today – and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

The Review

I’ll start this review with a personal anecdote.

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were discussing what he would like to do for his birthday. He said that he would like to stay in a really fancy hotel that we had been looking into staying in for a while. I thought that this was a great idea and since it is six months until his birthday it gives me time to save up. When I told him this, he became sweetly defensive and told me that he didn’t expect me to pay for it. This was lovely of him to say because I earn substantially less than him. What I earn in a month he can in 3 times that amount in a week. However, it will be his birthday and I told him no, that I will pay for it. We then argued for a bit and I posed the question to him asking if it was my birthday and I wanted to stay somewhere would he let me pay and he became quiet before agreeing that he wouldn’t let me. When I asked him what the difference was his response was….wait for it…. “because I am a man.”

Apparently you need to have a penis to pay for hotels these days. Who knew?

Now my boyfriend is a good guy, he is respectful and he does believe that everyone (not just women) should have equal rights and I would even say that he is a bit of a male feminist. However, these ideals of men have money, they pay for things, this is how the world works mentality is so ingrained in our minds and societal functionality that even he slipped up and made this faux pas.

This whole theme of male power is the concentration of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay, We Should All Be Feminists. This essay was only written a few years ago but the same issues are happening everyday in modern society: men get paid more for the same jobs that women do; men still hold the majority of high paid positions; women still take on the bulk of housework whilst holding down a full time job. Now, of course, you could argue that these are massive generalisations and I am homogenising groups for my own pleasure but, come on, even you (dear review reader) have to admit that there is some truth in what I am saying.

Please give this short essay a read; it is fascinating in the fact that many things that we take for granted – both women and men (linguistic flip intended) – and gives us a deeper insight into modern society and how much things have changed yet how much there is still yet to achieve.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is available now.