Your Skirt’s Too Short

Illustration by Kartazina Babis

Hopefully you know that sexism still exists in western societies. If not, or you want to learn more about the topic, Emily Maguire’s Your Skirt’s Too Short is a great inclusive book to assist you in your journey. Maguire uses standard creative non-fiction techniques to explain issues such as work, porn, appearances, how sexism affects men and many more.

When it comes to these kind of books, half the enjoyment comes out of it challenging your views of the world. Unfortunately it didn’t, but that didn’t mean I learned something interesting. I still cannot believe that a Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute exists and that some people found the models in Total Girl sexual. Actually, here’s a warning; you might hate society a little bit more once you finish the book.

One of the best parts of the book is that it is inclusive. She includes LGBTQA+ individuals and a Muslim woman while making arguments. It’s still not perfect as she includes the word ‘cripple’ when making a joke and doesn’t really mention how feminism history is different to different races. The worst example, however, is one that I might be looking too deep into. In one chapter, she uses the subheading ‘First they came for the homosexuals’ and ‘Then they came for me’, which appears to be a reference to the Martin Niemöller quote. I may understand why she did it, but comparing our treatment towards the homosexuals today to the treatment of Jewish (or even homosexual) population in WWII Germany makes me uncomfortable. Apart from these small issues, knowing that she has at least attempted to include different kind of people makes her a lot better than other ‘White Feminists’.

Her voice does come through, which is great. She talks about her own experiences and mentions multiple times that everyone makes mistakes and should be accountable to them – even herself. She has a great way of putting herself into the text, but makes sure it isn’t all about her. However, it does become slightly monotonous towards the end. Maybe if she was slightly more passionate in certain areas, her otherwise pensive tone would be stronger and it would make the read more enjoyable.

The book is targeted towards High School students, and this makes me uncomfortable in certain areas. I have to imagine myself as an awkward teenager and some sections of the book would disturb me (mainly the discussion of the vulva). Then again, it depends on the teenager. For example, if a teen is really into porn, they should read the chapter ‘Pornstars and the Women Who Love them’. Male teenagers should also read ‘Boy Trouble’ to prevent from from becoming Meninists. If you are a teenager, it’s up to you as to whether or not you’re ready to deal with some graphic details.

Despite the minor issues, it’s still a decent read and is one of the best explanations of feminism I have read. I’m giving it 8.7/10.

Question: What is the most sexists encounter you have experienced?

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