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Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently Paperback – 4 Feb 2016
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A fascinating exploration of how we 'do' gender. From the early labeling of infants to the ironclad enforcement of grooming and interpersonal behavior, gender expression is neither a matter of biological mandate nor individual choice. Emer O'Toole nimbly weaves philosophy and personal experience into a vivid depiction of gender identity as performance art. (LISE ELIOT, author of PINK BRAIN, BLUE BRAIN)
The blogger and columnist, who is emerging as one of the leading lights of the new feminism, uses anecdotes from her own life - from 'cross-dressing to pube-growing and full-body waxing' - to illuminate some of the the dos and don'ts for women trying to set themself free from gender stereotypes. (THE GUARDIAN Unmissable books for 2015)
A witty, engaging appeal for everybody to stop conforming so rigidly to gender stereotypes.... As this thoughtful, funny book reminds us, being a girl can mean a lot of things. And with luck one day women will all get to decide for themselves what that is. (IRISH TIMES)
An entertaining book that makes you question the conventions of gender. I expect it will attract comparisons with Caitlin Moran's How to be A Woman. Like Moran's work, I wish it could be handed out to every teenage girl as a self-esteem booster. (Rosamund Urwin EVENING STANDARD)
What I love most about Emer's writing is that she is not only able to explain complex ideas about feminist theory in a way that is engaging and relatable, but it is also really funny. If you love reading feminism which is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking, this book is the obvious next step up from Caitlin Moran. Get your hands on a copy. (abstractmag.com)
The book is personal, in that it's her own story of playing a different role, and it's chatty and funny and likeable, much as the author herself seems to be. (Eithne Tynan IRISH MAIL ON SUNDAY)
Part autobiography, part heartfelt plea to change the way we look at gender, Girls will be Girls is an excelltn primer on feminist theory. Every teenage girl should be given a copy. (Anne Sexton Hot Press)
As a possible fourth wave of Western feminism beckons, new titles on the subject are appearing with increasing regularity. O'Toole holds her own in a crowded space, albeit one in need of a greater diversity of female voices. Her accessible approach to theory, interwoven with her chatty, self-reflective style and gender insights from an Irish perspective creates a welcome addition to the current crop of popular feminist writing. (Mary McGill IRISH INDEPENDENT)
In her excellent and eye-opening book Girls Will Be Girls, Emer O'Toole discusses the impact of the often stereotypical 'lenses' through which we see the world and the importance of examining those lenses in order to better understand our ingrained and normalised prejudice. In her book, How to Be A Woman, Caitlin Moran suggests that things would be easier if some pigeons would shit all over the glass ceiling, because we would then at least be able to see what we are dealing with. O'Toole's book performs a similar function... allowing us to see clearly the boundaries that are often invisible and unquestioned... A witty, pacy and exhilirating lesson in beginning to colour outside the lines. (LAURA BATES EVERYDAY SEXISM)
Girls will be Girls is a funny and compelling read, combining fascinating, relatable storytelling with meticulous research and real practical advice for challenging patriarchal gender roles in your own small, large, thin, fat, feminine, masculine, hairy, unhairy way (and anything and everything in between!) (Lusana Taylor THE F WORD)
Change the way you think about gender and feminism forever. With all the revolutionary zeal, laugh-out-loud humour and intelligence of Laura Bates, Caitlin Moran and Bell Hooks, Emer O'Toole explores what it really means to 'act like a girl'.See all Product description
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Emer O'Toole uses accessible language and easy to understand examples to explain the theories of some of the greatest thinkers of our age, Butler, Bordieu, etc. It's academic without using heavy academic language. Forget about hegemony and homogeneity. Welcome the vivid descriptions and stories that give you a language which you could use down the pub, or at a party.
For example - she talks about boob mania. Now obviously we're all aware of boobs being a thing in our society. I thought I was fairly aware of how cleavage in adverts etc affected me (or not affected me, I thought). Then Emer points out that, after you have a shower, how do you wrap your towel around you? Around your waist? Or do you cover your breasts? It came as a total shock to me - I don't cover myself with a towel the same way men do! Why? Why do I do that? I am not afraid of my own reflection! I am not ashamed of my breasts! And yet I do! The need to urge to cover up is just that strong!
Okay that wasn't the best example in the world, but I did find it very eye-opening. I have a daughter, which is one of the reasons I picked up this book. I am reading it in the hope of making the world a better place, and to raise her in a way that makes her better equipped at dealing with the traps of gender performance than I did. I don't want her to suffer the way I did when I was younger. And I think that if everyone read this book - the world truly would be a better place!
It made me question my own belief system and engage in self-reflection: What does it mean to be "myself"?
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