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Nasty Women Talk Back: these are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political while resisting and challenging the patriarchy

Women, womyn & womxn: Are they really nasty?

This collection contains humour and pathos; it an easy read, despite being academically grounded and completely relevant. Wonderful doodles at the start of each essay soften the page. This is a want-to-read book on an extremely important topic.

In South Africa the Fallist movement became an extremely important platform to discuss gender, while #MeToo has become a global phenomenon. Ashanti Kunene, a Fallist-leader, is one of the contributors.

Other essays include “Pussies are not for grabbing” (Joy Watson), “My arms are tired of holding this sign” (Amanda Gouws), “Oh, no you can’t go to heaven in a broke down car” (Anastasia Slamat), “I’m with her” (Zama Khanyile), “To Womb it may concern” (Christi van der Westhuizen), “Womb with a (very strong) view” (Helen Moffet) and “Diary of an Indian woman” (Aarti Narse); but there are many more – twenty eight in total.

The idea for the collection was born, cradled and nurtured between friends who wanted to create a space for writing and thinking about the women’s marches.

The group of feminists who contributed to this collection used the marches and the posters inspired by the marches as a vehicle which galvanised women into action to put pen to paper and show fervour for ongoing feminist activism.

The nexus of this beautifully written and evocatively illustrated collection is telling narratives that link very personal stories with deeply political issues.

These are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political, who are seeking to live their lives in ways that resist and challenge patriarchy.

Through their very intimate nature these are stories that speak to the creation of a different kind of social order, one based on equity, the promotion of human rights and social justice.

The presidential campaign in the USA grabbed the global imagination. It also grabbed the feminist imagination, presenting the hope that if a woman could become the president of the USA, women throughout the world would finally break through the reinforced glass ceiling.

However, when it didn’t happen, the lost opportunity became the metaphorical kick in the feminist gut on a global scale.

Through the subsequent misogyny, vulgarity, lewd comments, the pussy-grabbing video, and the threats of the erosion of feminist activism in the trenches, worldwide a deep mourning arose from the feminist community. It was the name calling of “nasty women” that really smarted. Initial feelings of anger gave rise to empowerment of women – those who talk back to patriarchy – to embrace the label of “nasty women”.

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