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The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today Paperback – 3 Mar 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571246273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571246274
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A dose of feminist commonsense.' --Guardian

'Banyard's focus on action is inspiring ... Read it. Share it. Give it to your mum, your daughter, your son, your brother, your sister, your dad.' --Irish Times

'I love this book! Name-calling, finger-pointing and factually fascinating, it seems set to throw a giant spanner into the plans of man-pleasers, woman-haters and other assorted sad-sack seat-sniffers who put around the lie that feminism is no longer needed.' --Julie Burchill

'Passionate, polemical, racy prose and a global perspective make the book useful as introductory reading to debates on gender inequality.' --Times Higher Education Supplement

'I love this book! Name-calling, finger-pointing and factually fascinating, it seems set to throw a giant spanner into the plans of man-pleasers, woman-haters and other assorted sad-sack seat-sniffers who put around the lie that feminism is no longer needed.' --Julie Burchill

Book Description

The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today, by Kat Banyard, is a passionate and urgent new voice that will reclaim feminism for a new generation.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arranged in the form of progress through a typical day - the book starts with appearance and eating disorders. Anorexia and Bulimia are primarily women's diseases and over 90% of sufferers are women. Even young girls are expected to go to school wearing makeup and with their hair done properly and to diet until their bodies conform to the generally accepted ideas of beauty. For women a great deal of time must be spent ensuring they are fit to face the world. Appearances are all important and women will be judged on them throughout the day. Unlike men they can't just shower and throw on a few garments.

The book highlights the way women are still regarded as bodies first and foremost rather than people. Women are judged on what they look like, what they wear and how they behave rather than being judged on their capabilities. The author raises some of the same questions as Natasha Walter in 'Living Dolls'. Is it really empowering to take up a career in the sex industry? The women the author talks to show clearly that being a lap dancer is not glamorous or even very well paid and that most women involved do it because they have been unable to find any other work which fits in with their other commitments.

At work or school women and girls run the risk of being harassed and criticised for their appearance. I was horrified to read about the schoolgirls who suffer sexual abuse - both physical and verbal. Even if they complain they are just told `Boys will be boys'; which is hardly a constructive attitude. At work similar things happen and women are rarely judged on their ability to get the job done. Women are still in a minority in Parliament and in the top 100 companies.
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Format: Paperback
As a young female who once worked in the chauvinistic financial district of London, I was inspired to read this book by an article about Kat Banyard and her impressive equality crusade in the UK.

This book will affect everything you see and do. Next time your boyfriend suggests a trip to the lap-dancing club, you'll think about the girls who pay to work there, often drinking themselves into a stupor in an effort to blot out the acts they're about to perform. When you look around the meeting room you will wonder why the male:female ratio is still so high. As you walk home at night, you will think about the shift-workers you see getting onto the bus, and why there are still so many women doing the poorest-paid jobs. I could go on.

The Equality Illusion spells out in powerful terms the sham that is our 'post feminist' society today, and what we can do to try and reverse some of the damage that continues to be done.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Compared to the many 5-star reviews and the media hype appearing to surround Banyard's book, I found the contents of the book itself rather disappointing.

In truth, most of the official descriptions of the book ("Banyard reveals the uncomfortable truth about men and women ... ", "A dose of feminist common sense ... ", "A global perspective ... ", from the back cover and from reviews) do not say much about the actual contents of the book, so in that sense, it would be unfair to claim that the book is misrepresented by the media. It is, in fact, precisely what the media claims it to be: Polemical, name-calling and finger-pointing.

Banyard's book is about what she considers the unjust condition of women in modern society. She describes this condition across several chapters spanning the topics of body image, education, workplace conditions, domestic violence, the sex industry and reproductive rights. While all of these topics are certainly both interesting and relevant, I found that Banyard's treatment had several problems:

-First of all, Banyard comes off as constantly angry and finger-pointing, which makes the book feel lacking in objectivity.

-Banyard points out where men and women differ in society, but she takes very little time to reflect on the causes and reasons for such differences or what may be done to alleviate the inequality. For example, in the chapter on body image, she points out that many women suffer from low self-esteem as a cause of their perceived inadequate physical appearance, and she rages on about the unfairness and unacceptability of beauty norms and the fact that the same issues to not apply in the same degree to men, but does not reflect much about what could be done about it.
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4 Comments 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
It is very difficult to enlarge or improve on the review of Damaskcat who provides a useful detail of the books contents. This book is very depressing, particularly as I realise that its synopsis of Women & Men today is shamefully true and while in some areas life is easier for women and their opportunities greater than earlier generations (women drivers, accountants, lawyers, trades women etc.) we are easily deluded into thinking that everything is OK now. But we need to think and act again and Kat Banyard and other authors like Natasha Walter have exposed a very ugly world and has put us back to the drawing board when it comes to working out anew how to respond. Part 2 of the book offers many ideas here, but I am not sure that activism alone is sufficient - there has to be major inner changes in peoples understanding and views of fellow human beings. This must be possible (I cannot hold the defeatist attitude of Ulrome in his comments on Damaskcat's review) and we owe a lot to those like Kat who are dedicated to this task.
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