Book Reviews

Review: Living a Feminist Life by Sarah Ahmed

Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed

When did feminism become a word that not only spoke to you, but spoke you, spoke of your existence, spoke you into existence?

A great introduction to feminism and feminist theory, Ahmed offers beginners an easy to read book that covers basic feminist topics as well as highlighting important points of intersectional feminism. Ahmed’s book is divided into sections based on a feminist coming of age tale and informed by her own personal experiences. I do want to say that even those who went to school for women’s studies can still learn from this book! In particular I found the concept of the feminist snap and kill joy feminist very interesting. (Can I just also say that the references at the beginning are fabulous!? Some real super stars here.)

A feminist movement is built from many moments of beginning again.

The book’s main strength lies in its ability to present beginners with central concepts and make feminist theory readable. However, I found that the book repeats itself a lot, not only in the next sentence, but as a whole too. This may make it easier for those who are unfamiliar with the ideas, but for me it felt a little over done by the end. The main points are summed up well in the feminist manifesto at the end and I think that, for me, would have been enough.

So much injustice is reproduced by silence not because people do not recognize injustice, but because they do recognize it.

Yet Ahmed wins me back by making sure to inform her concepts with her experiences in academic life fighting against sexual harassment and her survey of diversity workers. (Even though this also became quite repetitive). That being said, the middle part of the work focused mainly, it felt, on these aspects. The book also deals with some very current issues such as sexual harassment, trans-identity, and racial discrimination and makes the book relatable. There are so many well said things that make picking quotes a challenge! Additionally, the topics of happiness, lesbian feminism, and willfulness and really well discussed and framed by a cultural example (just over hammered).

What is the hardest for some does not even exist for others

Overall I think this is a perfect beginner’s book for those who are unsure if they are a feminist, or just become aware of feminism in general. It is easily readable and breaks down larger concepts in wonderful and catchy ways. I did like this book and was able to get some great quotes and a few really good concepts out of it. Ahmed breathes life into the figure of the feminist killjoy and attempts to encourage us to reclaim and live in that existence.

You can  buy it here.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

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7 thoughts on “Review: Living a Feminist Life by Sarah Ahmed

    1. I like Feminism is For Everyone, Or Everybody I cannot remember, by Bell Hooks. Also for feminism and writing I loved A Room of One”s Own. I will think a bit more about it!

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