#IWD2017 Double Review | The Fictional Woman / Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls by Tara Moss

Using her wealth of experience as an international model, bestselling crime novelist, human rights activist, and mother, Tara Moss equips readers to confront gender inequality in every aspect of society.  If The Fictional Woman is the ultimate “beginner’s guide” to gender inequality, then Speaking Out is your “travelling companion”.  Through immersive research and intimate wisdom, this dynamic duo will educate and empower.  

I listened to The Fictional Woman and Speaking Out as audio books, and now have a HUGE crush on Tara Moss’s voice.  As a strong and confident speaker, her warmth and wisdom bursts through her rich tone.  Hearing the author read her own work is intimate, and sometimes unearthed my own pain.  Although I plan to buy all my female friends and family members these books for Christmas, I know I’ll be returning to the audio versions.

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The Fictional Woman

the-fictional-woman-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Fictional Woman
AUTHOR: Tara Moss
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2014
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, Gender Politics
PAGE COUNT: 328


The Fictional Woman confronts the countless “fictions” that have kept the status quo well-fed for centuries.  As a woman who has filled many different roles throughout her life – is it so hard to believe a girl can be a hot blonde AND a bestselling crime writer? –  Moss combines personal memoir with in-depth research to discuss the socio-historical constructs of gender roles.

The aim is to open readers’ eyes to the burgeoning reality of gender inequality, and how this affects both men and women in every layer of society.  Methodically, Moss explores key aspects of modern life that are impacted by sexism, including politics, film and publishing industries, domestic violence and sexual assault laws, representations found in folklore and fairytales, stay-at-home parenting and maternity leave, and childbirth and abortion laws.

While this book can be pretty damn heavy, the intimacy of Moss’s storytelling makes The Fictional Woman raw and moving.  Several times during readingI felt my heart rate accelerate to a dizzying speed – its no-holds-barred approach to issues that are routinely silenced and misrepresented means that the content is often confronting.  However, I love knowing that my values as a feminist are now empowered by knowledge and shared wisdom.

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Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls

speaking-out-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Speaking Out: A 21-st Century Handbook for Women and Girls
AUTHOR: Tara Moss
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2016
GENRE: Nonfiction, Self Help, Feminist
PAGE COUNT: 287


If you are female and you believe your words should be worth the same as your male colleague’s, Speaking Out is your one-stop shop.   As a feminist active across many types of media, Tara Moss is experienced with the discrimination, hate, and threats many women face when they open their mouths.

Like a feminist sensei, Moss prepares women and girls to speak up for their rights.  The book is structured intuitively, with guides to speaking out in various social contexts and a section dedicated to looking after your own wellbeing when you experience backlash for raising your voice.  These contexts include public speaking, radio, blogging, and popular social medias.

Listening to verbatim quotes of male politicians and journalists belittling their (often more qualified) female colleagues, opened my eyes to how downplayed and normalised everyday sexism is – even in visible spaces like parliament and TV.  Speaking Out encourages readers to challenge the normalisation of sexism.  I love how Moss reminds readers they are worthy of what they want to say.

I may not be a world-famous orator, and it’s unlikely my blog posts will ever rival the cultural impact of Tara Moss’s work.  However, Speaking Out has equipped me to make a million tiny changes in my life, starting with my self-view.  The vocal exercises, the statistics, the social media advice… all are practical even for something as seemingly insignificant as logging on Twitter or expressing my opinion to a male friend.  I love how reading this book has improved my self-worth.

I have so much respect and gratitude to Tara Moss for this intimate insight into her life to show the indisputably real effects of gender inequality.  I empathise with her pain and find her confidence to fight discrimination truly inspiring.  These books not only gave me a new role model for navigating life, but also the self-belief to speak up for my rights and values.  

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