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2nd October 2020

Five people reflect on Women Don’t Owe You Pretty

Maisie Scott reviews the latest feminist manifesto for Generation z
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Five people reflect on Women Don’t Owe You Pretty
Photo: Maisie Scott for The Mancunion

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty has occupied a space in the Sunday Times top five for twelve consecutive weeks since its publication. Florence Given’s debut book combines thought-provoking essays alongside her original illustrations.

The illustrated book has taken Instagram by storm, with the hashtag #womendontoweyoupretty generating over 1,000 posts on Instagram. Given frequently shares aesthetic pictures of her book that have been snapped by her followers and she enjoys a cult following.

Provided by her Instagram page, Given has a very ready audience for her brand of contemporary feminism. Alice Porter commented in her article ‘How Instagram made books cool again’ on the aestheticization of books on social media. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty has been able to capitalise on the Instagram algorithm as the retro cover pops up everywhere on social media.

The publication of Women Don’t Owe You Pretty has confirmed Florence Given’s authority as a spokesperson for Generation Z and beyond. In response, I asked five women to share how Given’s work has impacted them.

Five people share their thoughts on Women Don’t Owe You Pretty:

‘Since reading Florence’s work, I have learnt to follow her mantra of being the love of my own life, a lesson which is essential for women’s liberation in a society which values us based on our desirability.’

(Penny)

‘An aspect of the book that really challenged my thinking was the chapter on ‘are they intimidating or am I intimidated’. It encouraged me to question how I viewed other women in my life. I also reflected upon my own internalised misogyny, and how it’s common amongst women to weaponise another woman’s flaws to make themselves feel better.’

(Hattie)

‘The final chapter of the book really reaffirmed to me how important it is to reflect upon how far you’ve come and to recognise your achievements. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on what’s coming next, so I don’t celebrate what I’ve achieved, healed from or should feel proud about.’

(Alex)

‘One of the topics I found most interesting was the subject of internalised misogyny. I am more aware of how quick women (including myself) are to put others down. I now feel more confident in calling this kind of behaviour out amongst my peers and beyond. The book really forced me to look inwards and question my attitudes and beliefs.’

(Edie)

‘At the stage I’m at in life it wasn’t particularly anything new, but reaffirming and empowering to read all the same. 16-18 year old me really needed it though and I’d recommend it to anyone.’

(Laina)

We would love to hear your thoughts on Florence Given’s debut book, so let’s chat in the comments section.


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