Girls are sick and tired because sexism surrounds us.
What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. The graphic novel, illustrated in a strikingly minimalist style with images of girls in multiple moods and shapes, invites teenagers to question the sexism that surrounds us, in ways that are obvious and hidden, simple and complex. Its beginnings as a fanzine shine through in its honesty and directness, confronting the inequalities faced by women, everyday. And it ends with a line of hope, that with solidarity, girls hurt less, as they hold each other up with support and encouragement.
(Note: this is a review of the text. I can’t review the artwork, because I read it on my little black-and-white Kindle.)
I didn’t know what to expect from this one. It’s marketed as young adult nonfiction, but – with some parental/teacher guidance, I think it’s appropriate for slightly younger readers, too.
I also didn’t know it was a Canadian publication until I read it, and so a few of the sections reference Canadian society (and racial groups) in particular. That isn’t a complaint; it’s just an observation.
What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a short read that won’t tell you many things about gender inequality you don’t already know. However, I thought it was a good compilation of facts that could start some meaningful discussions. One of the things that impressed me the most was the way the creators took seemingly “smaller/minor” feminist issues and mixed them in with the “bigger” things.
One argument misogynists and conservative women make about feminism is: ‘You’ve got it great where you live. Look at women in Saudi Arabia!’
(In fact, I recently had an otherwise progressive man tell me Saudi Arabia is great for women…!)
This book makes feminism a global issue, and illustrates that there are issues in every country. The fact little girls are sold into marriage in rural India and Yemen and many other countries doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight against catcalling or the marked-up prices of women’s products and services in the West (“the pink tax”). One injustice doesn’t cancel out another.
I started highlighting lines in What Makes Girls Sick and Tired to share, and then gave up, because I’d highlighted about 90% of the text!
This is a book I think would be invaluable in classrooms for the 12-18-year-olds, but only if it’s presented to male students, too.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.