review and cover mani: shrewed

Coming as a shock to nobody, I loved SHREWED: A WRY AND CLOSELY OBSERVED LOOK AT THE LIVES OF WOMEN AND GIRLS. Non-fiction can be tricky to keep interesting (read: not get bogged down in statistics and sources) and my brain is often in danger of taking a wander, but in this case, I remained glued to the page and can’t wait to share my thoughts on this marvelous collection.

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground?

These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection of essays. Drawing upon Renzetti’s decades of reporting on feminist issues, Shrewed is a book about feminism’s crossroads. From Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign to the quest for equal pay, from the lessons we can learn from old ladies to the future of feminism in a turbulent world, Renzetti takes a pointed, witty look at how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go.

If Nellie McClung and Erma Bombeck had an IVF baby, this book would be the result. If they’d lived at the same time. And in the same country. And if IVF had been invented. Well, you get the point.


Elizabeth Renzetti’s writing is that of a seasoned vet, seemingly effortless prose cuts to the heart of the matter, no fluffy fillers to be seen. There’s also a storytelling quality to Renzetti’s voice, which I imagine comes from her career in journalism, and I appreciated the approachable manner in which she discussed complex issues. At times, it felt like we were having a relaxed chitchat over coffee. A one-sided chitchat, naturally, but you get what I’m trying to say. Err...hopefully, anyway, haha!

Book design by Alysia Shewchuk

Covering topics like politics, work/life balance, and snippets of interviews with prominent women, I thoroughly enjoyed each chapter. SHREWED made one point in particular that I’d like to highlight, as it resonated in my core. Namely, that white women need to get out of the way. To this, I say a resounding yes we do. The feminism I know and love has remained in a box, blinders firmly attached. But we need to stop. I say we, because I am a white feminist. Naturally, I don’t speak for everyone (although I legit should because I’m way smart) but if you’re feeling like you want to argue that position, I enthusiastically invite you to check yourself.

When Renzetti broached the topic in a letter to her younger self by writing "you'll have to pass over the grievance microphone," it felt like a high-five to my brain. The idea isn’t spoken about as much as it should be, because the ultimate result means white feminists must step aside, no longer solely entitled to the labour’s fruits. Yeah, at first glance this stance may feel “unfair,” but if you’re sensing that sort of emotion bubbling in your stomach, please recognize it for what it is: the dawning awareness of your privilege. (See how I used the word “entitled” above?) It’s a little like catching your reflection the morning after a wild night out, or after childbirth, or after getting hit by a bus in the face—not pretty in the slightest—but you still need to look. We're the ones who need to change. Our voices have been at the forefront and now we need to shut up and listen. And elevate other voices. And listen some more. And while continuing to elevate and listen, we can collectively get down to business. Because for real, if we can bring all women together and create a movement that includes voices from every person who identifies as female, we’d form one giant row of Red Rover, cocking our heads at the other side and daring them to come at us, bro.

Oh, did I get lost on a tangent, there? Well I guess that’s what happens after reading something inspirational because I’m charged up, friends! Elizabeth Renzetti’s combination of wisdom and humour stoked a fire by reminding me that there can be light in the dark, and a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a preach-fest and SHREWED is just what the doctor ordered, as Renzetti’s delivery methods included witty quips alongside undeniable facts. I’ve already told those in my inner circle that SHREWED is a must-read and now I’m saying the same to you: omg read this book. When you’re finished, pass it along and then pick up Roxane Gay’s BAD FEMINIST because it's mentioned in SHREWED and also because it's amazing. If you need me, I'll be reading BLACK FEMINIST THOUGHT: KNOWLEDGE, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND THE POLITICS OF EMPOWERMENT by Patricia Hill Collins. Better late than never. 

Big thanks to House of Anansi Press for an ARC!


 For this mani, I used:

China Glaze – Bodysuit Yourself?

OPI – My Twin Mimmy, Dulce de Leche, Red My Fortune Cookie, You Don’t Know Jacques, A Good Man-Darin Is Hard To Find, matte topcoat

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mâché 

So Nailicious – needle and slayer brushes

1 comment:

Whattaya got to say about that? *waits*

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