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My Journey of reading Women Don’t Owe You Pretty : Part 1

When I first heard about Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, I was sceptical. I couldn’t understand how my friends would take one woman’s words and run with them and apply them to their everyday lives. I can now safely say, the beginning of this experience has proven me wrong.


I had been saying I was going to buy the book for at least five months. It sat in my basket on the Easons website collecting dust while I pondered on whether or not to purchase the hardcover slab of bound paper. I couldn’t figure out what was holding me back. I made the excuse of not being able to justify spending the fifteen euros, even though I went ahead and bought half of another book series in two seconds.


It was because I was scared. You may think that saying I was scared of buying a book was totally mental but from what I had heard, this book would make you face some hard truths about yourself and I don’t think I was ready for that yet. People always say, ‘oh it’s not the right time.’ Well honey, it’s never the right time. There’s always something else to do or another deadline to meet. So, I got over myself and decided that I would buy it. But only if I could up the book and buy it myself.


I made this justification as it was the beginning of a journey. It became quite clear to me after my breakup that I really wasn’t who I wanted to be. I felt like my only personality traits were my trauma and being in a relationship. So once one of my self-imposed personality traits no longer applied to me, all I felt I had going for me was the fact that I was a nice girl and enough trauma to fill the Queen’s wardrobe. Eventually, I finally bit the bullet and two weeks ago I bought it.


Did I pick it up and read It straight away? Absolutely not. As if I’d ever read a book I’d bought. I know it’s taken me a while to pick it up but to calm my nerves I’m going to split the book into four and then write my thoughts down in a series of articles that all of you can read. It holds me accountable in reading it and gives me a way to learn more. So, onto the actual book.


This book in the first five chapters has called me out more than my Mam does when I’ve amassed a collection of teacups in my room. The first few pages opened my eyes to the journey I was beginning and made it oh so real. The introduction alone, a conversation between the author and her younger self, reminded me of my younger self and things I had experienced. Seeing that someone else had similar experiences to me made the book seem much less daunting.

After chapter one, I can confirm that feminism is going to ruin my life, but in the best way possible. I’ve already started realising that in my thought process on certain aspects of life I often think about them in a slightly misogynistic light. In no way am I a misogynist, but I know why I think in such ways. It’s the media and men that have forced women into thinking that we actually need men to function. I hate to break it to you, but we honestly don’t. This gave me the kick up the bum to actively change my behaviour. 


And then I found out about pretty privilege. Dear god I did not realise how much of this I actually have just because of my skin colour and my gender identity. I am a white, cisgender woman and I have an incredible amount of pretty privilege, so much so it disgusts me. The straight white men that control the media lead us women to believe we need to have our hair a certain way, be of a certain weight and practice certain forms of grooming to be pretty. Well, we don’t. I think I’m going to put the shaving foam and razor away for a bit.


Then came the chapter on self-love. This is the chapter that led to me splitting the book into four. Reading this when you’re still reeling from a breakup is not easy. The pages are now stained with tears as I couldn’t hold them anymore. Learning that you’ve been settling for crumbs instead of the whole cake is not fun but then I realised that this is why I bought this book. To learn how to be someone outside of a relationship, how to be the person I know I can be, to learn not to accept toxic love from anyone.


It’s safe to say that my reading of these first few chapters have faced me with some hard truths, truths that I needed to hear. But from what I’ve learned and from what I can see is to come, I’m feeling a little less nervous about what this book has in store for me over the next few weeks.

Senior Editor. Your Culture Vulture. Law and French.
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