Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World
HERE WE ARE: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen is a scrapbook style book with collections of poems, essays and comic strips from 44 different people, describing their view on the word feminism. The speakers provide numerous different perspectives on the concept of feminism, including writers, dancers, actors, artists, etc. These viewpoints range from ordinary people to public figures such as actress Mindy Kaling.
"HERE WE ARE: Feminism for the Real World is thought provoking, informative, and vital in today’s society, making it a must read for any individual, no matter his or her age, gender, sexual orientation, shape or social class."
Jensen did a phenomenal job highlighting the importance of each of these people and illustrating their different walks of life. I was impressed with the diversity of the voices and how she integrates individuals of different races, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientation and more. Personally, before reading this book, I did not have much familiarity with the numerous connotations the word could have. While I had been exposed to the idea of feminism though social media, with people who used the hashtag after the election and Taylor Swift referencing it on Instagram, this book allowed me to greatly expand the knowledge base I had had.
Prior to reading HERE WE ARE, I expected there to be a clear definition as to what feminism is, a thread that was consistently carried through the pages. However, I gained a new perspective that feminism can take many forms and there is ultimately no single meaning of what it means to be feminist. As Mikki Kendall wrote in her essay within the book, “Facets of Feminism,” “Feminism is about action. So when we talk about feminism as a broad movement, we must remember that every community is different. The type of feminist action that one community needs may not be effective for another community. You don’t have to like someone else’s feminism. They may not like yours.” (104). This book opened my eyes to the fact that feminism can impact multiple aspects of your life, including one’s relationships, body, gender, etc.
While I could not directly relate to each story, there were a number of pieces where I understood what the author was conveying at a deeper level, and I felt a connection with the speaker. In my opinion, that is the purpose of this book. Each scenario does not have to be a direct correlation to your life, but as a reader you are simply supposed to grasp a better understanding of the word as a whole. Before reading this, I did not particularly identify myself as a feminist simply because I had not had an eye-opening experience as to what this term meant. I was able to learn that there is no right way to be a feminist, nor is there a list of traits that all individuals who consider themselves feminists need to have. Anyone, from any walk of life, can be a feminist. This book provided a vehicle for me to become more aware of societal issues.
HERE WE ARE: Feminism for the Real World is thought provoking, informative, and vital in today’s society, making it a must read for any individual, no matter his or her age, gender, sexual orientation, shape or social class.
Reviewed by Ryan H., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2017