Review: ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’ Florence Given

I know, my duvet cover is adorable

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is the ultimate book for anyone who wants to challenge the out-dated narratives supplied to us by the patriarchy.

Through Florence’s story you will learn how to protect your energy, discover that you are the love of your own life, and realise that today is a wonderful day to dump them.

Florence Given is here to remind you that you owe men nothing, least of all pretty.

When I turned the final page in Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, my first thought was, ‘Where was this book in my teens and early twenties?’ My younger self desperately needed Florence Given to help her navigate the absolute bullshit that was dating, the literal anguish of trying to maintain an appearance that was deemed ‘acceptable’ and ‘attractive’ by modern society’s warped standards and pretty much everything else that women almost exclusively have to deal with. I can’t be too bitter, though. I had the chance to read this book in my late twenties and it has honestly changed my perspective on a lot of things, things that I’d been conditioned to believe were ‘normal’ parts of being a woman.

When I was younger, things were done to me , but because of how these things were (and often still are) portrayed in the media that we consume, I simply tried to put them to the back of my mind, believing these experiences were just part and parcel of being a woman. Because I’d been taught that things like rape and sexual assault only happen in dark alleys, I never realised that being pressured and guilted into sex or having a partner refuse to accept “No” as an answer fell into the category of sexual assault. At school, neither me or my classmates were taught about consent in sex education classes. As far as I personally remember, the only time I heard talk of rape and sexual assault, it was when listening to a news report about a woman being attacked while walking home at night. Usually when these reports were aired, some nearby adult would scoff, “What did she expect being out at night on her own?”, thereby also instilling the notion that blame for such an attack lay solely with the victim. Talk of rape and sexual assault by a partner or friend just didn’t happen and I’m almost positive this is the case for a lot of people of my generation (and, without a doubt, generations who came before us). As I got older, it began to dawn on me that something that happened to me while I was living in Japan wasn’t ‘just something that happens’, but I was always hesitant to label it as ‘rape’, even though a friend had dubbed it as such. Whenever I played it over in my head, I would always ask myself the same question – But isn’t it kind of my fault? I mean, I did let him into my apartment. I asked myself this question up until reading Florence Given’s book. Reading Women Don’t Owe You Pretty made me realise that letting this man into my home didn’t given him a free pass to do whatever he wanted to me, regardless of my objections and repeated utterances of “No.” I got a lot from this book, but this realisation that it triggered has been monumental. It made me realise that I wasn’t to blame for what happened to me and that I shouldn’t be ashamed. I really hope that other survivors of rape and sexual assault will come to the same realisation when they read this book.

This book covers a whole host of crucial topics, topics that aren’t discussed in the media anywhere near as much as they should be. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty isn’t just a run-of-the-mill non-fiction book. It’s a guidebook to unravelling all the patriarchal, misogynistic bullshit that we’ve all been indoctrinated with. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is an absolute must read for everyone, regardless of their age, sexuality or gender identity.

Want to read Women Don’t Owe You Pretty? Head on over to Hive, Bookshop or World of Books to order your copy, or buy it through your local bookstore.

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