Saturday, 22 October 2016

Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls by Tara Moss

"Whatever helps you through the day, know that you deserve to take those minutes for yourself"

It would be so easy to be insanely jealous of the amazingly talented, Tara Moss and to be so, would do a huge disservice to this amazing woman. I would urge every woman to read this book which has so many aspects that many of us can relate to. Making up 50% of the planet, we really deserve the chance to be heard and have our many points of view considered. It might help if men read it too, just to get an idea of the state of play.

Moss merges practical advice with some depressing data to demonstrate many of the issues we face everyday and which often cause us to think "is this just my experience?". As someone who was raised to expect equality, while often being treated differently by my father particularly, (aren't we all a mass of contradictions, no surprise our parents are) speaking out and being taken seriously has been a bit of a crusade my whole life. I've constantly sought out roles in typically 'male' areas to prove that gender has no part in one's ability to deliver. This has not been a constantly positive experience and in fact I've experienced many of the quite scary ways that a voice can be challenged. Sadly, the entire chapter on Diversionary Tactics was eerily familiar and I find that abhorrent.

Thank you to Tara Moss for clearly identifying what is going on here and supporting others to find their voice, a truely admirable thing. I remember reading Tara Moss' first novel Fetish, many years ago and being shocked by its violence which seemed completely at odds with the image of a fresh faced model and yet that is such a superficial notion. Aren't we all more than our appearances and can't they often be completely deceiving or at least hint at only one part of a rounded personality? That is a lesson we all (myself included) need to learn in a world controlled by media sound bytes.

I remember the day when my sense of hope died somewhat; when I realised I wasn't invincible and that a man could physically overpower me and leave me psychologically and possibly physically scared. If I were to ever have children, it would be my fervent desire that they never had to experience that kind of rude awakening. I wish that they could make mistakes without the disapproving eyes of trolls (the worst kind of hypocrites), that they could be the best version of themselves - a fully realised intelligent human, accepting of themselves and others and always brave enough to challenge the status quo through investigation, discussion and action.

It is perhaps a mark of a really great work that the reader is left to think and relate the content to their personal experience. As you can see, Speaking Out struck a chord with me and I'd certainly recommend it to my friends and anyone who might trip over and discover my little blog.

5 out of 5 reassuring words to keep fighting on.

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