"In the end, matriarchy isn't the fear. Rather, it's the idea that women will define their own value, and their own futures, on their own terms instead of by terms men have laid out -- put differently, that each gender, and each individual, will have the power to determine their own destiny. To slightly modify the old bumper sticker, it's the radical notion that both men and women are people." -- Anne Helen Petersen, "Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud"
At last, getting around to Petersen's dive into the many veiled and not so subtle ways the world comes up with to keep women in their place, to make them feel that they are simply too much. That comes off as angry -- there's really no other way to put it -- but reading through the book, I'm finding myself mostly nodding along, "yes of course-ing" Petersen's simply put observations. We've all born witness, personally or as sympathetic bystanders, to the people and events in the book; her job here is to tell us what we already knew inherently.
Each chapter of her book focuses on one famous woman and one female-specific insult that has clouded her life and career. There's Melissa McCartney for being too fat, Serena Williams for being too strong, and, the chapter this quote is from, Hillary Clinton for being too shrill. Reading this chapter in particular feels unsurprisingly bitter -- as always in 2017, imagine what we could have had -- and also cathartic: there is a reason for what happened and as horrible as that is, there is at last recognition. I appreciate how Petersen frames this fourth wave of feminism around Hillary's political career, something that's been laid out before but done especially effectively here.
Knowing those of you that read these reviews, I can assure you you'll want to read this one. Add it to your bookshelf that already holds Trainwreck and Spinster. It's maddening and cringeworthy, sure, but also compulsively readable and thoughtful. It begs you to imagine: what if women were allowed to exist without fear of being too much of anything?