The Vagenda: A Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media Paperback – 1 May 2014
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"A brilliant expose of women's mags and marketing – laugh-out-loud and painfully funny. This gives me hope for women and for feminism and for fun" (Jeanette Winterson Guardian)
"Essential reading for every woman, young and grown-up – a guidebook for reading between the lines…A real romp!" (Jo Brand)
"This is great: warm, witty and wise – an antidote to all of the usual nonsense" (Jenny Eclair)
"Angry, opinionated and also waspishly funny. The Vagenda deserves to be a bestseller. Because it's worth it" (Caroline Sanderson The Bookseller)
"A great read for women of all ages" (Claire Heal Sunday Express)
A funny, hard-hitting examination of women and the media, for anyone who has ever had niggling doubts about the sidebar of shameSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The writing style was offputting: there was loads of slang, which is fine in moderation, but I felt they were making up new words every two sentences that I, a 21 year old, hadn't even heard of. I couldn't see the point of constantly using nonsensical, juvenile words especially when they didn't make the topics at hand any more accessible, but rather the complete opposite. Its intent was obviously to get laughs, but while a few of the lines made me smile, I never once laughed. I'm bemused that so many of the reviews I've read say it's laugh a minute/laugh out loud. I really didn't find it funny at all.
The structure was poor: I understand that a lot of the topics covered naturally overlap, and so there would be common ground in a lot of the chapters. However, even within the specific chapters/topics, there was no strong line of argument and it was very hard to follow the point they were trying to make. Often it read just like a load of individual paragraphs taken from different conversations lumped together, which does nothing to make for a coherent read. There is SO much to say on this topic, and so many vitally important, salient points to be made. I think for a feminist book that has reached the mainstream, it's so important that it manages to state its arguments clearly and convincingly, because so many readers will come at it with a sceptical and cynical viewpoint. I don't think it's hard to make a convincing case for feminism and the damaging nature of our media, especially if you have a whole book to do it, but this one just doesn't achieve that.
In the sense of it being one of the most accepted-by-the-mainstream books of its kind, I don't think it's so significant then that none of the content is particularly new or groundbreaking, and has all been covered before in books like The Beauty Myth, as other reviews have complained. However, it has to then reproduce the arguments clearly and conclusively, and simply dropping in loads of slang words for vagina and sex doesn't automatically make it more accessible to the wider public.
The book also drastically fails to encompass anyone other than the straight, white consumer. Mere token sentences are thrown in to allude to the different and more complicated ways the media insults the non-straight, non-white reader, but they read as literal after-thoughts, put in after a final read-through, as the following sentences will revert right back to the heteronormative narrative.
This had so much potential and it just seems like such a waste of an opportunity.
I think this book has attracted unfair criticism. Some readers seem to expect it to be a trailblazing, leading publication of fourth wave feminism. But as the front cover says, it’s a ‘Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media” – it doesn’t claim to be a modern day feminist’s bible. It’s the experiences and insights of these two young women. A couple of negative reviews have also cited the authors’ age. Surely the fact they grew up with the very media they are discussing gives them an informed viewpoint from which to write? Everyone has the right of criticism, but the irony of shouting down these women for speaking out against sexism and the lack of female voices in the media seems to be lost on some feminists.
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