Jess Phillips – Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking The Truth

Collage 2018-05-03 20_35_00By demanding to be heard, by dealing with our imposter syndrome, by being cheerleaders, doers not sayers, creating our own networks and by daring to believe that we can make a difference, we can. 

YAS! YAAS! YAAAAAAAAAAAAS!

This is how I finished Jess Phillips’ book, whilst chucking my phone in the air. I was listening via Audible, hence a phone and not a book chuck. I mean, a book chuck would have removed the potential for irreparable phone damage, but hey, I had to work with what I had.

A book chuck would chuck phone chuck.

You would be right to see this book and go: “another book by a woman, about women stuff”  or,“ah, another book by a woman, about women stuff that mentions Caitlin Moran on the cover”.

And I would say:

SO FUCKING WHAT!!

I am glad that there are tonnes and tonnes of these “womeny“, “feministy” books knocking about right now. It makes me feel like there will be at least ONE out there for any type of woman, and they will go into their local book vendor, full of newly found feminist pep, and be able to pick up a book that speaks to them, and upon finishing it, will  be able to chuck it in the air with empowered glee!

Well, Jess Phillips has written a book for Everywoman, and this is the best segue I have ever made to begin a blog post.

For me, what stood out about Phillips’ book is that she gets right to the point, she is blunt and she wants you to step up as much as you can, she doesn’t want women to have to rely on others to fight their battles, she believes we are all capable of getting into the ruckus ourselves. This is isn’t a light read, it doesn’t tiptoe around issues, it goes for the jugular.

This book also comes from a woman from a working class, midlands background. A lot of  “feministy”, “womany” books out there at the moment are written by women from pretty comfortable, Londony, backgrounds, middle class bloggers, Guardian columnists – all good, all fine – but it was nice to spend some time with a feminist who maybe hasn’t spent all her life shopping in Waitrose.

She is the antithesis to the Tory elite, a former benefit mum, finding herself pregnant younger than she’d planned, with a heroin addicted brother to look out for. She has lived her fair share of life and her work, and very evident passion, for women’s charities has shown her a whole bunch more life, lived by a depressing amount of women.

She takes on sexism and misogyny in every corner of our society, from the behaviour she needs to tackle in parliament, to the vile, and I mean VILE, abuse she gets online. The trolling she has endured, the words she has had to received from strangers behind keyboards, is sickening.

But this book isn’t just about Phillips’ story and her political career, as interesting as it is, it isn’t just about her feminism, her struggle with the patriarchy, it is a rallying call. Many of these “F-y” ,”W-y” books, as great as they are, have left me sort of going:

She is cool! Good for her! So glad she is out there fighting my corner!”

And while that is still very true of Phillips’ book I also felt inspired, if not physically pushed, to take control of the life I find myself in, encouraged and supported to step up and deal with any bullshit that is thrown at me. As Phillips says, “If I can do it, anyone can”, and in honor of her, I am going to ignore the voice going:

“But you are cool and strong and clever and brilliant Jess, and I am just…me”

And bloody well do just that, bab.

(Featured image from The Times)