I watched Mrs Roslyn start reading the stupid poem written by a man, with his stupid privileged poetry penis, simmering and boiling.
And so we get to Lottie, the third member of the (original) Spinster Club, and in this instalment, the member that goes further than any Spinster Clun member has ever gone before. Lottie was the one in the first book, Am I Normal Yet?, to initiate the other two characters’ feminist awakenings by reclaiming the word ‘spinster’ from its demeaning and patriarchal definition. Lottie was able to explain eloquently and passionately the basis behind the issues she felt strongly about.
In What’s A Girl Gotta Do ?, Holly Bourne issues a call to action to all feminists out there. Through Lottie, we see a lot of the pain and frustration of calling out sexism on a regular basis, in this case every day for a month.
I took my time reading this, as although it’s not the most challenging read, I enjoyed reading some and then letting it keep my sexism monitor high. Holly is indiscriminate in her calling out of sexism – Lottie calls out sexism towards men as quickly and as readily as sexism towards women. As I went to work as a teacher, and absorbed the daily articles on sexism that come my way on Twitter, it helped to acknowledge the extent of sexism all around me – in schools, in shops and on the streets.
Always get someone with OCD to help you be a criminal – they’re good at thinking up worst possible outcomes.
Holly Bourne tries her best to keep the tone as light as possible, despite the heaviness of the issues presented. Along with her project, Lottie is also preparing to interview for universities. Even so, we get lines like the gentle jibing at Evie above, and the amazing image of Lottie’s partner in documentation, running down the street to keep up with a drunk Lottie.
…like some pissed-up feminist gingerbread man.
The main thing to be garnered from this book is that everything Lottie experiences in the book are occurrences which happen every single day. Some are long-established, like male-dominated faculties in universities, while others are emerging trends, like slut-shaming in social media and the prevalence of rape culture, and the denial thereof. Above all, What’s A Girl Gotta Do? makes you think. It makes you question everything around you, from tv to movies to workplaces to colleges to family life. That’s the positive to be gained from this, and Holly Bourne is unapologetic in her desire to drive as many people to action and awareness as possible.
Holly Bourne could have written a thousand different stories about Lottie and her friends, with the themes of friendship and feminism interlinkning them, but it feels right to see the personal narrative of each of the young women play out in this short period in their lives. I would hope and believe that the strength of characters like Lottie, Evie and Amber would empower others to be feminists. To believe that equality can be achieved, and to help to get there.