Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley is a smart, witty, and inspirational collection of essays and cultural critiques. In it, Hurley examines feminism, geek culture, and the intersection of the two. For fans of audio books, I chose to consume this book via Overdrive and really enjoyed the experience.
Here are some of the things I really enjoyed about Hurley’s Geek Feminist Revolution:
1. Hurley is committed to intersectional feminism. She isn’t writing this book simply for straight, white women, but also women of color, women with disabilities, woman of various sexual orientations and gender identities. She talks about how women fight, how women struggle, how they are portrayed both in real life and through media. Many of the truths she speaks are harrowing and eye-opening.
“Because when we choose to write stories, it’s not just an individual story we’re telling. It’s theirs. And yours. And ours. We all exist together. It all happens here. It’s muddy and complex and often tragic and terrifying. But ignoring half of it, and pretending there’s only one way a woman lives or has ever lived – in relation to the men that surround her – is not a single act of erasure, but a political erasure.
Populating a world with men, with male heroes, male people, and their 'women cattle and slaves' is a political act. You are making a conscious choice to erase half the world.
As storytellers, there are more interesting choices we can make.”
2. This collection forced me to take a deep look at gender roles in books. It’s alarming how much harmful representation we are willing to accept as normalcy just because that’s how it has always been done. She talks about the double-standard for women characters and how, for displaying the same traits as a male characters, they can so easily be marked as “unlikable.” She puts things in a way that are easily acceptable and understandable - that really make you reassess the way you think and consume media.
"Male writers, and their male protagonists, are expected to be flawed and complex, but reader expectations for women writers and their characters tend to be far more rigid. Women may stray, but only so far. If they go on deep, alcoholic benders, they'd best repent and sober up at the end. If they abandon their spouses and children, they'd best end tragically, or make good. Women must, above all, show kindness. Women may be strong - but they must also, importantly, be vulnerable. If they are not, readers are more likely to push back and label them unlikable."
3. This book is empowering. One theme across all the essays in this collection is endurance. Hurley fought for a long time to gain the platform she has, and she isn’t shy about sharing its rewards and challenges. She is aware that it’s going to be a long and hard fight for our voices to be heard, but it is one that is worth it. Through all her anger and conviction, there is an underlying spirit of hope that is contagious.
“Your voice is powerful. Your voice has meaning. If it didn't, people wouldn't work so hard to silence you. Remember that.”
One thing that took away from my reading experience was my lack of exposure to some of the pop culture she dissects in a few of her essays. For instance, there is an essay on misogyny in True Detective, a show I have only seen one episode of. There is also one about the role women play in Mad Max. This is to no fault of hers, but I think it would have added a lot for me to have reference to the pop culture she references.
“Stories tell us who we are. What we’re capable of. When we go out looking for stories we are, I think, in many ways going in search of ourselves, trying to find understanding of our lives, and the people around us. Stories, and language tell us what’s important.”
Rating: 4 /5