Thoughts on Nasty Women


Nasty Women, released by 404 Ink on International Women’s Day, brings together a collection of women from all walks of life to discuss the issues that are important to them. Covering topics like race, body image, class, and identity, the collection covers a wide variety of the issues that women today face.

It deals with feminism at a more personal level and the impact that it has on individuals directly, how the women included have dealt with major issues and changes in their lives and continue to overcome and challenge the barriers society places in their way.  Nasty Women highlights the ongoing issues young women tackle on a day to day basis; making the concept of feminism as a whole more easily understood and applicable to their lives by validating what is important to them.

I found Joantha Kottler’s essay Fat in Every Language particularly interesting, where she discusses the impact that her body has on how she chooses to identify and present herself to the world. The great impact diet culture has had is also discussed, where she came to be praised  for her weight loss as though being slimmer made her of more worth to society than being fat and the pressure she felt to do so. The cultural differences in perception of fat people and the impact this has is also made clear, recalling one incident in a cinema in Amsterdam where public comments on her body left her unable to enjoy her night out. This resonated with me as I have also experience some form of discrimination in regards to my size, and the process of learning not to care about what society wants me to be, instead living by what I want to be myself.

Nasty Women raises questions about what it means to identify as a woman in the 21st century and how this impacts our lives, and what it means to stand up willingly against sexism, ableism, racism and homophobia as well as many other issues. It also deals with the topics some would refuse to talk about such as sexual harassment in punk scenes, finding your place as a fat woman, and the struggle with fan culture through Courtney Love.

Nasty Women gives the reader a range of perspectives on women’s life today, and I feel that it would be very difficult to read the book and not feel as though the experiences discusses resonated with your own. It would be ideal as part of a “feminist starter pack” for younger and older readers alike; showing the breadth of the feminist movement and its impact.

If you liked this, you might enjoy

  • The Exciting Life of Being a Woman: A Handbook for Women and Girls – Amelia Lee and Debi Withers
  • I Call Myself a Feminist : The view from twenty five women over thirty – Victoria Pepe, Rachel Holmes, Amy Annette, Alice Stride and Martha Moss
  • Out There – Zoe Strachan

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