20 June 2017

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen

Summary from Goodreads:
From celebrity gossip expert and BuzzFeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessible, analytical look at how female celebrities are pushing boundaries of what it means to be an acceptable woman.

You know the type: the woman who won't shut up, who's too brazen, too opinionated, too much. She's the unruly woman, and she embodies one of the most provocative and powerful forms of womanhood today. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of unruliness to explore the ascension of pop culture powerhouses like Lena Dunham, Nicki Minaj, and Kim Kardashian, exploring why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today.

After living through the first half of 2017, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud is the book I needed to give me a boost and a reminder to square my shoulders and keep on going.

I really, really enjoyed this book of ten essays that examined unruly women (women who are too loud, too slutty, too old, too fat, too strong, too pregnant, etc) and deconstructed the media and culture reaction to each "type". And no woman is perfect, another way we become unruly. I would have happily read even more because Petersen situated her writing in a good middle ground - she pulled theory from philosophy, gender studies, etc but also used hundreds of pop culture examples. This is a good place to start for anyone looking to examine "post-feminist" backlash.

Dear FTC: I read a digital galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.


  1. I loved this book and every essay. I loved how it got me thinking about certain types and thoughts that I had never consciously considered. The sad part is that I tried to get my son to read it and after taking one look at the list of women examined in the book, he refused on grounds that "Lena Dunham is a bad person" and "why would anyone want to read about Kim Kardashian." Reactions like that are exactly why the essays are so important, but I fear his attitude towards those celebrities is more the norm rather than the exception.

    1. Yep. Very true (and I don't particularly care much about Kardashians on the whole, but the ideas about how pregnancy is "performed" in media were really interesting).