International Women’s Day should be about inclusivity and accepting one another. There are so many days when we all need a shoulder to cry on, want some good advice or just unadulterated fun. Nobody should go through that on their own. If you feel sick from all the chocolate and ice cream, then there are other ways to make yourself feel better. You could pick up a good book, binge-watch some great tv series that cheer you up, or just dance all your problems out to some great songs. Needless to say that all of these can be found below. This list has been created for those seeking guidance, wanting more information or who would like to feel empowered, all the while having a good chuckle and learning to appreciate being a woman.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
This book depicts the life story of a woman named Kim Jiyoung in South Korea. It is different from a usual novel because every little detail about women’s and girls’ rights and lives is based on fact and the author’s personal life. When I say fact, I mean it. Actual studies and articles prove every statement that she makes and can be found at the back of the book, just like a peer-reviewed dissertation.
Cho Nam-Joo gets her message across with the help of the characters and their stories which makes it more digestible and enjoyable. You can read about how girls grow up and how differently they treat Kim Jiyoung and her sister compared to their little brother. Whether that be the school system, or trying to find employment, it takes our heroine hundreds of job applications to finally get a job offer because most companies prefer male employees and hire them over women. It is a raw, shocking and eye-opening story that informs us that there is still a lot of work to achieve true gender equality whilst giving us insight into Korean women’s lives and culture.
Feminist Fight Club: A survival manual for a sexist workplace by Jessica Bennett
From upskirting to mansplaining, you can find detailed descriptions of these situations, helping you recognise them. Not to forget the helpful tricks and tips on how to fight back or to deal with the daily inequalities women face in the workplace. The Feminist Fight Club started as a group of women in New York who met up every month to share their bad and uncomfortable experiences. Over time, this group became a safety net and then a movement. They came up with the name, a few rules, and now we can read their manual based on their personal experiences hoping that it makes our lives just that little bit easier. Anyone can be part of the Feminist Fight Club (FFC), even men. The first and probably most important rule is that you MUST talk about it. Spread the word and help empower as many women as possible.
If you feel angry, need some advice, or simply want to feel seen and understood, then this book is for you. It is as funny as it is serious.
Bad Reputation by Joan Jett
Why? Well, what is more effective than a smart and funny woman who happens to be very angry? Joan Jett’s solo debut is one for the fighters. It was received well by the critics, and it got to number 51 on the Billboard 200. I do not know where her bravery stems from, but she is the perfect example of someone who really ‘doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation’. You should try screaming that chorus in front of a mirror; it will make you feel a lot better. Her cover of You Don’t Own Me is quite memorable too. It suits Joan’s attitude well. When it comes to oozing confidence, not caring about what other people think of you, all the while looking amazing: Joan Jett’s music is one of the best teachers out there. Put your headphones on and let her show you a trick or two.
Lover by Taylor Swift
This album has been a milestone in Taylor’s career because of three reasons. One: she finally left Big Machine Records and released it through Universal Music Group (if you are interested in her ongoing dispute over her copyright for all her music preceding Lover, Google Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift). Two: this was the world’s best-selling studio album in 2019 with 3.2 million copies sold, and three: she finally showed us her teeth and became political.
You can find songs about LGBTQ+ rights, ‘You Need to Calm Down’, ‘self-love’, ‘ME!’, American politics, ‘Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince’, and of course, feminism, ‘The Man’. I have listened to this album countless times, and truth be told, it has saved me from going crazy once or twice. Just put it on, enjoy a quick lip-sync with your friends or on your own, dress up, become your most confident self, and dance all your troubles out. This album is the perfect remedy for heartbreak, a bad day at the office or just use it as a soundtrack for your self-care routine. Taylor Swift showed her fans a way to include everyone as well as telling the haters to calm down, and what is more important on International Women’s Day than inclusivity and empowerment?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of my many heroes. She wrote, directed, and starred in Fleabag, a BBC TV series. It has two seasons, and its story is about a woman in her thirties struggling with mourning, break-ups, casual sex and trying to find herself in a world full of unrealistic expectations. It sounds quite dark, right? Well, yes, that is true, this programme can be very dark, but at the same time, it is funny as hell.
If you are someone who can laugh at themselves during the darkest hours, watch this. It causes a guaranteed addiction. I have watched it three times now, and as I am writing this, I feel like watching it again. Fleabag is an impulsive, hurt, and sarcastic character. She is a female lead that you will not be disappointed in. She makes mistakes, has good and bad hair days and makes the funniest remarks in situations where you are definitely not supposed to laugh. But you still do, of course. Humour is the way forward, as Phoebe taught us, so enjoy a giggle with the genius bit of television.
Another hero of mine is Issa Rae. She created the comedy-drama series ‘Insecure’ with Larry Wilmore and stars in it too. It is a creation by Black people for Black people. The soundtrack features Black artists, Black neighbourhoods and it delves into the issues that black communities face in 21st century America.
This series has been my introduction to modern-day Black culture, and it has been a wonderful experience. Through the lenses of the main character Issa Dee, we experience what life is like in Inglewood, L.A., for a Black woman. She works for a non-profit organisation where she puts on events for school children in need. With her best friends, they help each other through break-ups, postpartum depression, face microaggressions, try and fight the wage-gap, go to parties, make good and bad decisions, and fight the patriarchy as well as systemic racism. They do all this while making you laugh out uncontrollably. I cannot count the number of times my friend and I called each other to discuss a joke or an extremely funny situation in 'Insecure'. It is the best way to learn more about feminism from Black womens' perspective while having a great time. People who are prone to bingeing, watch out for this one!
Bennett, J. (no date) Feminist Fight Club Now Recruiting. Feminist Fight Club. [Online]. Available at: https://www.feministfightclub.com/jointheclub (Accessed: 02/03/2021)
No Name. (2020) If You Enjoyed: Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation [Online]. Available at: https://www.theedgesusu.co.uk/records/2020/03/17/if-you-enjoyed-joan-jetts-bad-reputation/ (Accessed: 02/03/2021).
No Name. (2017) Insecure. Flickr. [Online]. Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124096571@N03/35931449472/in/photolist-WK956w-NaZpRn-WPmF13-X16H12-2b3rTgA-2b3rS6j-2b3rSQf-2c9pDRr-2b3rRG3-2aKCYfK-2b3rSsb-2b3rRXo-2aKCXkP-2aKCXZK-2b3rTDE-2aKCYDF-2b3rSgQ-2aKCZbT-XkRM2q-6RsXj3-zSuhZ6-YeeZvG-C7ZrkE-2jijnCj-QeBV5i-YeeZ5m-YeeZpj-YcDy9Y-YeeZBy-YeeZ1y-YcDyfE-YeeZTA-YcDyiq-To1Zvq-e1mpap-Y5Aaty-UsYRgx-3rWAbL-29R683k-2hNYBwi-26FCKFG-XHZ7Sk-28boKo9-Z4HpKf-YcDycd-YeeZPh-YcDy73-YcDydq-YcDy2d-2jmo21b/ (Accessed: 02/03/2021).
No Name. (2020) Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982: the book that became a symbol of South Korea’s Me Too movement. Post Magazine [Online]. Available at: https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/books/article/3065111/kim-jiyoung-born-1982-book-became-symbol-south-koreas (Accessed: 02/03/2021).
No Name. (2019) Taylor Swift’s Lover: A Lightning Rod for a Record Industry Struggling to Define Its Own Success. Music Business Worldwide. [Online]. Available at: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/is-taylor-swifts-lover-a-success-and-it-says-everything-about-the-confusing-music-business-of-2019/ (Accessed: 02/03/2021)
Schofield, S. (2019) Fleabag Gave Us the Love Story We Need In 2019 [Online]. Available at: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/culture-news/a27083452/fleabag-finale-season-two/ (Accessed: 02/03/2021)
Zink, S. (2017) 8 Qualities of Strong Women and Why Other People Might Not Handle It Well. Sarah Zink. [Online]. Available at: https://sarahzink.medium.com/8-qualities-of-strong-women-and-why-other-people-might-not-handle-it-well-9df617e87bc9 (Accessed: 02/03/2021)