• Leah Quinn

Inspiration and the intellect in Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies

Curated by Sunday Times journalist and Pink Protest activist Scarlett Curtis, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies has shot to social media fame in the brief time since its publication. Using Baker-Miller Pink (see Alexander Schauss’s study into how colour and specifically the colour pink relieves hostility and aggression) on the front cover and page edges, the book exudes catharsis on every page.

With essays and poems from activists and actresses alike, the book discusses what ‘the F Word’ means for women today, what is has meant historically and what it will mean going into the future.

With the literary world catering more and more to the equality-conscious sentiments of the 21st Century, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink has been one of many tough-girl-orientated books on the Christmas lists this year.

There’s been Deborah Frances-White’s The Guilty Feminist, published back in September and posing in glorious hardback on the shelves of every Waterstones. (You can see my review of this here.) There’s been Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming which I unwrapped on my Christmas morning and can’t wait to dive into.

“This is our time to change the system. This is our time to change the world.” – Alison Sudol

Ever the workaholic, Deborah (definite first name terms) also contributed to Feminists Don’t Wear Pink with her essay ‘Pink Protest’ discussing the under-representation of working-class women and women of colour in comedy following the furore which erupted in the aftermath of comments by Terry Gilliam that “no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… I no longer want to be a white male… I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian.” Deborah acknowledges that while the comedy of white Oxbridge men is and has been and will continue to be brilliant art, “imagine the sketch shows we did lose because we never got to hear the genius comic voices of their black lesbian counterparts.” So Terry Gilliam can wallow in self-pity if he wishes but he is certainly missing the point.

“I will always be the little girl who grew up believing she could make it to the moon in a world that still debates whether girls should have an education and whether women should have reproductive rights."

– Alaa Murabit

But let’s not keep talking about the same women all the time – there’s ‘Be a Fun Feminist’ by Nimco Ali who this summer I had the pleasure of seeing speak at the Women for Women #SheInspiresMe Conference in London. Check out Nimco Ali’s Twitter (@NimkoAli) for some really powerful political opinions and all her inspirational campaigning against FGM in her native Somalia and elsewhere.

There’s Saoirse Ronan, one of my favourite actresses with her essay ‘My Feminism’.

There’s Jameela Jamil with ‘Tell Him’, discussing the importance of bringing up the next generation of men as participators in equality rather than allowing them to exist in and perpetuate patriarchal structures.

There’s Keira Knightley with her eye-opening essay ‘The Weaker Sex’ discussing her very personal and traumatic but empowering experience of childbirth and being a working mother in the film industry following #MeToo.

There’s the eighteen-year-old (I feel unaccomplished) Amika George with her essay ‘The Power of the Period’ discussing her campaigning to end Period Poverty which in the UK sees young girls every month missing a week of school because they cannot afford the most basic sanitary products.

And you know, Zoe Sugg on her YouTube career if you’re into that.

With so many powerful and inspiring voices gracing the pages of this book, it reminds us that the fight for equality is alive, kicking and only just getting started with a new generation of intelligent and determined women at the helm. Whether you unwrapped it yesterday morning under the tree or you're diving into the Boxing Day Sales today to wrestle a copy off someone's grandma who marched in the Second Wave, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you're inspired too.


10% of the RRP goes to the Girl Up charity which is a global leadership development initiative, working towards building a world in which every girl has equal opportunity to achieve her full potential. Girl Up has more than 2,200 clubs in over a hundred countries and has trained 40,000 girls from all backgrounds to create tangible changes for girls everywhere.

So - by supporting this book, you’re supporting Girl Up and their work for United Nations programmes. I don't know about you but I think that's pretty cool.

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