AF links used in this blog post.
Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is here to remind you that you owe men nothing. Least of all pretty.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, the debut book from Florence Given. My best description of this book is ‘the-one-I-wish-I-had-as-a-teen’.
It’s a book filled with love, finding happiness and choosing yourself, all while breaking down misogyny, and patriarchy, in a relatable way. The book takes on a lot of subjects, unpacking them and giving you information to assess your own stance and feelings. As the blurb says, it’s life changing—and I couldn’t agree with it more.
There were many times I was nodding as I was reading through it. Either on the chapters about moving on from those people in your life who steal your thunder or don’t support you, to the chapters of understanding the pressures of being ‘pretty’ and fitting into a box.
Florence Given has a way of hitting the point on the head, whilst filling you with belief that you no longer have to put up with the things you’re currently settling for. Which, for me, is exactly what I expected from the book. It’s a book I will be holding on to, and showing my teenage daughter (if I’m lucky to have one).
There are a wide amount of quotes I could pick from this book, but this one spoke to me more than most:
Be smart with your energy. Treat it like the currency of your business.Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, Florence Given
This precise quote hit me directly in the chest, actually making me pause as I read it over and over. It’s something I do, constantly. I let people spend my energy, when they never let me spend theirs. This direct way of opening my eyes is everything I needed, and this book delivers plentiful of those moments.
While in her early twenties, Florence has a way of forcing you to look at yourself I hadn’t quite mastered at that age. She takes on heavy topics, some I feel she has great understanding about and some I think time will open her eyes too. Overall, a wonderful grasp and very empowering for young women—something I feel we need more of.
Stop asking yourself if you’re good enough for people. Are they even good enough for you?Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, Florence Given
Also, I need to say it, the art work is swoon-worthy. It’s beautiful, showing every shape and colour of women. The way the book brings together the use of font, and bright colours—even the leopard print inside cover—is delightful, and made me treasure the book more so.
Actually, this entire book makes me proud of being a woman. It empowers me, making me look at the cracks in myself and wanting to heal them for myself, and not for anyone else.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is well written, articulate, and touches on many different subjects. It’s self-reflective and affirming, and a book I think should be made widely available for teenagers.
But, no matter what age you are, Florence takes you on a journey of self-discover and love. While I do think the younger twenties could benefit more from this. As I’m the later end (28). I honestly wish—with all I had really—that this, and Florence had been around when I had been an awkward teenager. It’s not to say I found none of it relevant. Or to say I got nothing from it as an adult, because I got plenty. I found it as relevant now as I did then.
But teenage-Jodie needed this, because adult-Jodie is a bit battered by life, especially with the things this book touches on.
There are, of course, chapters I found didn’t align with who I am as a person. The marriage chapter for one. But I find that with a lot of books that are self-help or written for feminists. We aren’t all the same, and we can’t expect a book to be catered entirely to us. Regardless, for me those chapters didn’t take anything away from the way I felt about the rest of the book.
In the spirit of honest, I had hoped for a little more. A harsher light shed on some of the topics. Understandably so, this book is advertised as a stepping stone into feminism, and I feel it does do that well. It at times did make me uncomfortable with my self; making me reflect on certain things I still do (like giving people my energy). But, admittedly, I didn’t find it as shattering as I may have done at 16/17 years of age.
I loved this book.
It was a positive reading experience throughout, struggling at times too put it down. I’m also very excited to see what Florence Given does following this, finding myself so impressed at her only being twenty as she wrote this.
I’m very glad Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is in my life, as it was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, and the easiest five stars I’ve awarded this year to a non-fiction book.