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The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Women And Men Today

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"Whoever says that prostitution is just ordinary work has never walked even a minute in my shoes, or any other girl that I know. Prostitution is actually a trap that most women believe for far too long." Rebecca Saffer, former high-end call girl , interviewed in The Equality Illusion. Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And feminism is now gener "Whoever says that prostitution is just ordinary work has never walked even a minute in my shoes, or any other girl that I know. Prostitution is actually a trap that most women believe for far too long." Rebecca Saffer, former high-end call girl , interviewed in The Equality Illusion. Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And feminism is now generally considered irrelevant, or old-fashioned, or even embarrassing. But what about the fact that today women working full-time in the UK are paid on average 17% less an hour than men? That one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused because of her gender? Or that there is a huge disparity in both government and corporate power (of parliamentary seats across the globe only 15% are held by women, fewer than 20% of UK MPs are women, and 96% of executive directors of the UK's top hundred companies are men)? In The Equality Illusion, campaigner Kat Banyard argues passionately and articulately that feminism continues to be one of the most urgent and relevant social justice campaigns today. Structuring the book around a normal day, Banyard sets out the major issues for twenty-first century feminism, from work and education to sex, relationships and having children. She draws on her own campaigning experience as well as academic research and dozens of her own interviews and case studies. The book also includes information on how to get involved in grassroots action and a list of resources.


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"Whoever says that prostitution is just ordinary work has never walked even a minute in my shoes, or any other girl that I know. Prostitution is actually a trap that most women believe for far too long." Rebecca Saffer, former high-end call girl , interviewed in The Equality Illusion. Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And feminism is now gener "Whoever says that prostitution is just ordinary work has never walked even a minute in my shoes, or any other girl that I know. Prostitution is actually a trap that most women believe for far too long." Rebecca Saffer, former high-end call girl , interviewed in The Equality Illusion. Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And feminism is now generally considered irrelevant, or old-fashioned, or even embarrassing. But what about the fact that today women working full-time in the UK are paid on average 17% less an hour than men? That one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused because of her gender? Or that there is a huge disparity in both government and corporate power (of parliamentary seats across the globe only 15% are held by women, fewer than 20% of UK MPs are women, and 96% of executive directors of the UK's top hundred companies are men)? In The Equality Illusion, campaigner Kat Banyard argues passionately and articulately that feminism continues to be one of the most urgent and relevant social justice campaigns today. Structuring the book around a normal day, Banyard sets out the major issues for twenty-first century feminism, from work and education to sex, relationships and having children. She draws on her own campaigning experience as well as academic research and dozens of her own interviews and case studies. The book also includes information on how to get involved in grassroots action and a list of resources.

30 review for The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Women And Men Today

  1. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    I will start this review by accounting my own thoughts on feminism, and I will try to be as certain and bold as Kat Banyard. Bare with me. Years before reading 'The Equality Illusion' - the first book about feminism I've read - I had considered myself a feminist because, in my teens, I became observant of the differences in gender. I felt I had to think about these things, because I was increasingly aware that people's attitudes - on the TV and movies I watched - concerning women's roles were mak I will start this review by accounting my own thoughts on feminism, and I will try to be as certain and bold as Kat Banyard. Bare with me. Years before reading 'The Equality Illusion' - the first book about feminism I've read - I had considered myself a feminist because, in my teens, I became observant of the differences in gender. I felt I had to think about these things, because I was increasingly aware that people's attitudes - on the TV and movies I watched - concerning women's roles were making me very uncomfortable. I became conscious of how boys at school treated me as well - linked to me being a girl, nothing more. I had platonic male friends, and I felt I was never being taken seriously amongst them. Also I felt in the minority because other girls always hung out with each other. And they had a boyfriend and spent huge amounts of money on their looks - the only things that apparently mattered in life. I was aware of being pressured to suit the "status quo", and I didn't like it. But even before my teens, I had seriously thought about women's rights and roles in my society after watching terrible sitcom episodes (ones I could write whole dissertations about their flaws), and not seeing enough positive female role models in the media and in real life. Everything was all pink, cooking, boys, shopping, looking pretty, and having babies for those with no Y chromosome. Now, I like pink, boys, shopping and babies (I'm a bad cook), but even back then I didn't want them to be my only life choices. I love the media and geeky things, and reading and writing about stuff. It wasn't until much later that I began to see a potentially harmful social stigma attached to girls who are "different" and not "girly"... Thanks to the internet, I had begun to think more critically about gender issues from feminist's articles. Movies, TV, cartoons, posters, advertisements and politics make it clear: men have to be dominant and active, while women have to be passive and caring. Why? Is the message sent unconsciously? Is it just the way things are? Thinking about those sitcom and other TV episodes, I refused to accept the "norm" and that it's "natural". Women are better than this - I knew this then because I'm female and I like thinking. I like pink and I still have a brain. And pink is a cool colour; people shouldn't associate it with girliness like it's a bad thing. It wasn't until I read 'The Equality Illusion' that my eyes were fully opened. It horrified me, and I'm glad of it. It made me seriously think of how my life had been shaped subconsciously. Sexism isn't the exception, it's the rule - misogyny exists and it has always existed in one way or another. It is mainstream in a patriarchal world; it is all around us, not just on TV or movies or books. Women are discriminated against everyday in any situation, and usually it is for sexual reasons (can be based on looks alone). No one is immune to double standards. I refuse to say this is "natural". Rape, victim blaming, low pay, and the saying "boys will be boys" are damaging, and they affect serious human issues. They should not be viewed as normal. Kat Banyard has a point: something has to be done, before feminism disappears and we don't progress but regress. 'The Equality Illusion' contents include: Part 1: Today Mirror Mirror on the Wall - Waking Up to Body Image Hands Up for... - A Gendered Education Sexism and the City - Just Another Days Work Tough Love - Coming Home to Violence The Booty Myth - A Night Out in the Sex Industry Bedroom Politics - Reproductive Rights and Wrongs Part 2: Tomorrow A New Day Feminism is progression. It is a necessity to human rights. A cause that says that women/girls are neither inferior nor superior to men/boys - we are all equal. Attitudes and jokes that hint at sexism/chauvinism/misogyny are not harmless or fun, they are in fact dangerous to our culture. We unconsciously absorb these messages in the medium every day; I did in my childhood. For example, that women should be passive, and if they're not they're either a whore or a bitch (or both, or more), and that's bad. They are no longer considered human. And yet when they don't fit the socially-accepted standard of "pretty", that's bad. They have to be objects and used by men. We still treat men and women differently and see nothing wrong with it. So I believe there is an equality illusion. One of UK Feminista's founders Kat Banyard exposes it all in this well-researched and perspective-changing book. She doesn't just state facts; by the end she offers options on how to combat sexism in the cultural mainstream. It is not all hopeless, we don't have to accept sexist BS when it is apparent. Change is possible, and it can last. Now that I have read 'The Equality Illusion' I can say with confidence that I am a feminist. Because I believe that progression in society is important. I only consider myself a decent and observant human being who cares about equality in the 21st century. We should not be divided or ranked "dominant" over others because of gender. Don't belittle the rights that the people of my gender and men who care have fought for for so long. Two halves are equal. In this world, half the human race is female, each with her own individual mind, personality, friends and family - never forget that. Final Score: 5/5 Praise for The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard includes: 'Read it. Share it. Give it to your mum, your daughter, your son, your brother, your sister, your dad.' - Irish Times 'Reading this, I am wholly convinced: the sooner we take on this battle, the better.' - Independent Book of the Week "Excellent and thought-provoking... I really feel everyone should read it... Thanks to Banyard I now know exactly how to respond to people who go "isn't feminism a bit dated?" or "sure what are you giving out about now?" I am in her debt." - Irish Times blogs

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ceilidh

    Really good read, especially if you want something of a 'starter book' for feminism. I've read a lot of this sort of stuff before but Banyard always manages to keep things interesting, readable and well structured, building her theories around a structure of a typical day and how pretty much every area of a woman's life is effected by casual, deep seated sexism from the moment you're born. She also includes a lot of really interesting further reading on grassroots feminism and how easy it is to Really good read, especially if you want something of a 'starter book' for feminism. I've read a lot of this sort of stuff before but Banyard always manages to keep things interesting, readable and well structured, building her theories around a structure of a typical day and how pretty much every area of a woman's life is effected by casual, deep seated sexism from the moment you're born. She also includes a lot of really interesting further reading on grassroots feminism and how easy it is to get involved with stuff like this yourself. If you're hesitant to call yourself a feminist I highly recommend the book so you can see how it's not a dirty term and is still very relevant today.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mediaevalgirl

    The Equality Illusion The book was an eye opener for me. It made me rethink some of my stances on the sex industry, and the idea that it is innocuous and that the women in it are “liberated”(the idea of “agency” and “choice” in when there really isn’t any). It is a grim book, and it will anger you, but that’s good because that means you’ve been shaken out of complacency. We don’t realize just how pervasive sexism is until we notice the subtle ways that we conform to it, Day in and day out. This The Equality Illusion The book was an eye opener for me. It made me rethink some of my stances on the sex industry, and the idea that it is innocuous and that the women in it are “liberated”(the idea of “agency” and “choice” in when there really isn’t any). It is a grim book, and it will anger you, but that’s good because that means you’ve been shaken out of complacency. We don’t realize just how pervasive sexism is until we notice the subtle ways that we conform to it, Day in and day out. This book makes you take note: from the moment we wake up and get ready for work, the sexist environment we live in impedes us. I like that the book ended on a positive note by sharing all the ways women and feminist groups are making headway in tackling sexism, debunking myths, and exposing the sex industry lobby. It’s a must read book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Noina

    I have many issues with this book, the biggest ones being about the chapters on body image and sex work, "Mirror, Mirror On The Wall" and "The Booty Myth". The author's view is very narrow, and the way she presents the issues is very black and white. Basically, all women are victims, and doing plastic surgery is never a free choice. She completely rejects the notion of empowerment when it comes to expressing your sexuality. Furthermore, she cites Sweden as the paradise for prostituted women, howe I have many issues with this book, the biggest ones being about the chapters on body image and sex work, "Mirror, Mirror On The Wall" and "The Booty Myth". The author's view is very narrow, and the way she presents the issues is very black and white. Basically, all women are victims, and doing plastic surgery is never a free choice. She completely rejects the notion of empowerment when it comes to expressing your sexuality. Furthermore, she cites Sweden as the paradise for prostituted women, however, as has been shown by many people since the passing of the law criminalizing the demand for sex acts (the " johns"), this only reinforced the stigma around sex workers. The impression I often got while reading this is that the author only found the info she wanted to find, and didn't care much for nuance. The testimonies she presented in the book were all absolutely terrifying, and although I do not deny that these situations are real, I think Banyard made a point of choosing the saddest, most desperate stories to better serve her purposes. The way the chapters were presented though, in a "Day in the life" manner, was original and worked well, in my opinion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ~Jo~

    "The Equality Illusion" is an excellent, well structured slice of feminist literature. I have read books similar to this before, but Banyard has made an honest and most interesting read. This book studies the issue's that we, as women, still face today. It discusses how important feminism is, and how it appears to many, that Men and Women are equal, when this most definitely is not the case. Unfortunately equality still exists and is still a major issue in many places and situations. These argume "The Equality Illusion" is an excellent, well structured slice of feminist literature. I have read books similar to this before, but Banyard has made an honest and most interesting read. This book studies the issue's that we, as women, still face today. It discusses how important feminism is, and how it appears to many, that Men and Women are equal, when this most definitely is not the case. Unfortunately equality still exists and is still a major issue in many places and situations. These arguments are full of passion, and are well researched. I very much enjoyed this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eleri

    A decent summary of the various issues still facing women today and I liked the structure. However, the writing felt a bit stilted at times and there were quite a few occasions where some issue was described in quite a lot of detail and then just attributed to "sexism" without much by way of explanation. I agreed with her, but the links were by no means obvious and I think their explanation would be of far more value than detail given to the problem. This was particularly noticeable for me in th A decent summary of the various issues still facing women today and I liked the structure. However, the writing felt a bit stilted at times and there were quite a few occasions where some issue was described in quite a lot of detail and then just attributed to "sexism" without much by way of explanation. I agreed with her, but the links were by no means obvious and I think their explanation would be of far more value than detail given to the problem. This was particularly noticeable for me in the first chapter where a huge amount of description and first-hand accounts of eating disorders were given, but the reasoning linking this to sexism was distinctly lacking, in my opinion. I think it suffered in my estimation by comparison with Laura Bates's Everyday Sexism, which I think was better written, but it would nonetheless be a good book to give someone claiming sexism is no longer a problem in the UK / Western society.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    'The Equality Illusion' is my first foray into feminist literature and I have to say, it's a great place to start. Written in 2008/2009, Banyard's examination of the issues facing women in the West (and in the UK in particular) is thorough and often thought-provoking as she questions the very foundations of our society and how they define gender roles. Chapter Two - 'Hands up for a gendered education' - is one of the book's major high points in terms of interesting and unusual content. However, I 'The Equality Illusion' is my first foray into feminist literature and I have to say, it's a great place to start. Written in 2008/2009, Banyard's examination of the issues facing women in the West (and in the UK in particular) is thorough and often thought-provoking as she questions the very foundations of our society and how they define gender roles. Chapter Two - 'Hands up for a gendered education' - is one of the book's major high points in terms of interesting and unusual content. However, I did find some of Banyard's arguments a little weaker and there were points I found myself really wanting a little more counter-argument within the text. Chapter Eight - 'The Booty Myth' - is one such example, as Banyard really doesn't consider, say, the impact pornography has on less aggresive men (or men involved in porn). In addition, I would have liked to have seen the final chapter - 'A New Day', wherein solutions are considered to the problems raised earlier in the book - integrated throughout, as Banyard doesn't really address each issue thoroughly but introduces new ideas and topics (the treatment of women in Afghanistan, for example) and this leaves you thumbing back through the book during the times she recalls earlier issues. In short: Kat Banyard has produced a well researched, provocative starting point for those new to contemporary feminism in the UK. Her list of resources is invaluable and I shall certainly be reading further into the areas; I just wish she could have tried to examine the other side to some of the major topics she covers so well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vitalia

    This book has some great insights into the challenges that the women of today face everyday. She deals with everyday situations that women find themselves in and exposes a range of issues that we have to deal with simply by virtue of being female. Starting from school where we get entrenched into an expectation of conforming to particular gender stereotypes, and work where women face everyday discrimination viewed as the inevitable norm. She deals with issues like eating disorders - a byproduct of This book has some great insights into the challenges that the women of today face everyday. She deals with everyday situations that women find themselves in and exposes a range of issues that we have to deal with simply by virtue of being female. Starting from school where we get entrenched into an expectation of conforming to particular gender stereotypes, and work where women face everyday discrimination viewed as the inevitable norm. She deals with issues like eating disorders - a byproduct of a culture that expects women to look a certain way and domestic violence and rape - a byproduct of a culture that teaches men to view women as sexual objects in need of conquering. It's a book everyone should read, especially in a day and age where the anti-feminist movement is for some bizarre reason flourishing. Feminism is a movement who's purpose it to ensure equality between men and women and everyone should wake up to the illusion of equality we have today and strive to achieve real equality alongside the feminist movement. The only bit I disliked was the pro-choice chapter the reason for the was the biased portrayal of facts - I have a bit of a problem with that.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie {awonderfulbook}

    This was one of a slew of books published around 2010 about the problem of viewing feminism's aims as achieved. From having seen the rise of ideas like 'choice' and 'empowerment' for women as proof of the success of feminism (and thus proof that we don't need it any more), writers began to note that words like choice and empowerment conceal the fact that women still aren't equal with men. Banyard's approach takes a full day in the life of women, from getting ready in the morning to going to bed a This was one of a slew of books published around 2010 about the problem of viewing feminism's aims as achieved. From having seen the rise of ideas like 'choice' and 'empowerment' for women as proof of the success of feminism (and thus proof that we don't need it any more), writers began to note that words like choice and empowerment conceal the fact that women still aren't equal with men. Banyard's approach takes a full day in the life of women, from getting ready in the morning to going to bed at night, and through these various lenses, she looks at how the idea that women are equal with men is an illusion that the rhetoric of choice conceals. She looks at things like gendered education, the sex industry, and domestic violence, among others. I found the set up was a good way to explore the issues. Banyard also uses the voices of real women in her chapters. She usually begins by setting out a scenario in the everyday life of a particular woman to illustrate the theme of that chapter. I don't really know why, but I didn't find those really worked for me. They should have. I should have found those stories compelling as the emotional heart of the book, but I didn't. Perhaps I found that all the voices sounded too much the same. I'm not sure Banyard painting the picture of these women's lives really worked for me either. There was nothing that I didn't already know in this book either, though it's vey readable. I found the analysis of the issue with pornography probably the best thing about the book, because pornography's one of the things women are supposed to be able to choose in a 'post-feminist' society, but Banyard elucidates how women's lack of equality makes it very problematic as a 'choice'. It's very readable, and would be a good starting point for reading about feminism, but for those who know a lot about the subject, it might not add much to your knowledge.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bel

    If you are looking for a well-written and interesting overview of why the job of feminism is very much not yet done, you could do a whole lot worse than this. Banyard mixes statistics (the most common cause of death for pregnant women in the US is murder - I've heard that before but it never fails to shock), argument and interviews with women affected by the issues she discusses, many of whom she met through her work with the Fawcett Society. There is a bit of a focus on the UK, and very much a If you are looking for a well-written and interesting overview of why the job of feminism is very much not yet done, you could do a whole lot worse than this. Banyard mixes statistics (the most common cause of death for pregnant women in the US is murder - I've heard that before but it never fails to shock), argument and interviews with women affected by the issues she discusses, many of whom she met through her work with the Fawcett Society. There is a bit of a focus on the UK, and very much a focus on the West. Part of my average rating probably comes from the fact that I have read a large number of feminist texts over the 3 years since I started a Feminist Books Club, so my bar is creeping ever upwards. A couple of aspects starting nudging it higher. The first was a very well reasoned discussion of the problems with sex work (and why "gentlemen's clubs" share many of these problems). This is seems to be an issue that divides feminists between the arguments for criminalising the buying of sex and those for legalising sex work to protect those involved. Banyard definitely leans to the former, and her chapter on this was convincingly reasoned, but I was disappointed that she trumpeted the success of criminalising the purchasing of sex in Sweden but did not address the issue of vulnerable women simply being trafficked to other countries instead. The second aspect that set this book apart from other similar ones I have read is that it ended with discussion of concrete steps readers could take to try to change the status quo. It is easy to come out of these books feeling thoroughly miserable, so I enjoyed ending on a cry for action.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Wards

    Having been written ten years ago, it is striking how little has changed, and the Equality Illusion still persists. It would be great to see an update, including how right wing politics has emerged over the last decade to the detriment of equality and how austerity policies have been unfairly skewed towards women. I would already describe myself as a feminist, and this book is a nice introduction, or refresher. Although I'm not a fan of the nordic model, and think Amnesty have made several key po Having been written ten years ago, it is striking how little has changed, and the Equality Illusion still persists. It would be great to see an update, including how right wing politics has emerged over the last decade to the detriment of equality and how austerity policies have been unfairly skewed towards women. I would already describe myself as a feminist, and this book is a nice introduction, or refresher. Although I'm not a fan of the nordic model, and think Amnesty have made several key points about how sex workers can still be persecuted by police, it is presented here in a much better way than I have seen it in other feminist works. I would have also liked to have seen a bit more of a discussion around how we support those working in the sex industry (and particularly strip clubs) support to move on to more secure and positive jobs - the threat of pushing these clubs underground is real, and women would be in a much more vulnerable place if that was the case. Overall however, really interesting and well written.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Simon Benjamin

    The amount of misinformation in this book is mind-blowing. Just 3 random examples from the chapter on IPV: "Approximately 40-50% of women who visit a hospital ER in the US do so because of injuries their intimate partner inflicted on them." Given that women constitute a majority of ER patrons, that means on any given day, 1/4 patients would be there as a result of domestic violence. Just ask someone who works in a hospital if this sounds anywhere near correct. "Domestic violence causes more death a The amount of misinformation in this book is mind-blowing. Just 3 random examples from the chapter on IPV: "Approximately 40-50% of women who visit a hospital ER in the US do so because of injuries their intimate partner inflicted on them." Given that women constitute a majority of ER patrons, that means on any given day, 1/4 patients would be there as a result of domestic violence. Just ask someone who works in a hospital if this sounds anywhere near correct. "Domestic violence causes more death and disability amongst women aged between 16 and 44 than cancer or traffic accidents." Even the author of the 1994 study this is taken from (not the 6th-hand source that is referenced) has stated that this is not true. "Murder is the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the US" Again untrue, actually 3rd behind birth complications and road traffic accidents. The fact that it is third is a credit to how safe child birth now is. Heart disease is 4th at only 1pc behind, and that isn't common in under-35 yo women. There is little research into whether pregnant women are killed at s higher rate than other women of the same age. The entire book is filled with stuff like this. It is literally propaganda. Do read it, but be ready to scratch your head and follow every citation through to an inevitable dead end ("women do 2/3rds of the worlds work, yet receive 10% of the worlds income and own 1% of the means of production") or a long since discredited study. Having said this, many of the stories are enlightening, particularly for a male reader such as myself. I feel that the subjects have been done a disservice by having their sometimes tragic stories interwoven into what can only be intentionally misinterpreted statistics.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Kat Banyard gives concise, well organised arguments which reveal how important and relevant feminism is today. On the surface it might seem that men and women are equal and women have achieved what we have long be fighting for. We've won the vote, we have financial independence etc. but just scratching the surface a little you come to realise that the things we normalise, the advertisements around us, the strip clubs, the lower pay all point to the fact that there is still inequality and it's no Kat Banyard gives concise, well organised arguments which reveal how important and relevant feminism is today. On the surface it might seem that men and women are equal and women have achieved what we have long be fighting for. We've won the vote, we have financial independence etc. but just scratching the surface a little you come to realise that the things we normalise, the advertisements around us, the strip clubs, the lower pay all point to the fact that there is still inequality and it's not something we should bypass. I found the discussions on female sexuality and empowerment really interesting. Porn and prostitution are often labeled and advertised as ways in which women have taken control of their sexuality and empowered them selves but when you take a closer look and find that 89% of porn contains violent acts mostly directed towards women and you hear the stories of women who have come away from prostitution and the horrible situations they have been put under you see that it all feeds into the empowerment of men not women. And that women are encouraged to wear makeup and short skirts and high heels not because they enjoy it but because that's what expected of them. I also found the metaphor of female workers are " trapped by the sticky floor of low-paid work " and " bang their heads against the glass ceiling" of high paid jobs, not applying for promotions, dealing with sexual harassment, interesting. On the whole I think it's a great book that has given me the basics on current issues regarding gender equality and from here I can delve deeper.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    There are some things that I disagree with in 'choice' feminism. I don't believe that we should have to support every choice made by women just because women chose to do them and they are therefore 'feminist'. Women are as influenced as men by the society and culture around them, and make choices based upon that influence. What I like about this book by Kat Banyard is that she goes the opposite route to so many contemporary writers. Banyard tackles subjects such as body image, domestic violence, There are some things that I disagree with in 'choice' feminism. I don't believe that we should have to support every choice made by women just because women chose to do them and they are therefore 'feminist'. Women are as influenced as men by the society and culture around them, and make choices based upon that influence. What I like about this book by Kat Banyard is that she goes the opposite route to so many contemporary writers. Banyard tackles subjects such as body image, domestic violence, and the imbalance of work between the genders. The hardest to read chapters were about the sex industry, including porn, and the author reveals the 'PR job' that has been carried out on us. One of the things that really grabbed my attention was when the author talked about a survey of men who visited lap-dancing clubs. Their views on the women having to act a certain way definitely weren't about the women being empowered. Ultimately I respect that a woman can choose to work in the sex industry, it is her body and her decision. The last section covers what is being done now and what can be done in the future to try and stop the relationship between the genders becoming even more toxic. Unfortunately I feel that as it took 2000 years to get to this point, it may take another 2000 to put it right. Rating: 4 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Edmole

    A lot of this book was arguments that seem very obvious but clearly do need reiterating. The main things I drew from it were - - Everyone should be a feminist, and essentially anyone believing female equality is right is a feminist. I find it so depressing that people would never positively identify as racist, but would not want to identify as feminist. - Porn is too heavily infiltrated with violence and domination to be 'enjoyed' without moral quandry. Like drugs, even if the thing you yourself A lot of this book was arguments that seem very obvious but clearly do need reiterating. The main things I drew from it were - - Everyone should be a feminist, and essentially anyone believing female equality is right is a feminist. I find it so depressing that people would never positively identify as racist, but would not want to identify as feminist. - Porn is too heavily infiltrated with violence and domination to be 'enjoyed' without moral quandry. Like drugs, even if the thing you yourself take is not inherently morally suspect, the business and the exploited people around it make it largely unsupportable. - The water-muddying nonsense about burlesque produces a race for the bottom effect where anything can be justified, again to the benefit of a group of exploitative shits. - Domestic violence is everywhere and is a terrible, terribly banal evil. Which anyone could do. I thought it was a bit odd at the start of the book when Banyard writes off an interpretation of a lot of the ills listed in the book as being the product of inequalities in capitalism. I suppose that is such a nebulous thing to address it would have hampered her (successful) attempt to be succinct and useful in addressing the issues. Ed

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pippa

    Absolutely excellent book. Clearly written. Lots of facts and figures, but a readable style. Sometimes hard to read because of the slightly gruelling nature of the subject matter, but it is a book that everybody (not just women) should read. It is ultimately hopeful as it gives details of all the initiatives being taken to address the problems raised. I, for one, feel that I must be part of them.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    This really made me think about modern day equality. I suppose I thought we had come much further. Great issues raised. Food for thought!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aamina

    Though I would not consider myself a feminist, and disagree with many things discussed in this book, it is very clear that there are issues pertaining to women’s rights which must be addressed, such as the commodification of women and the horrific nature of the sex-industry and lap-dancing clubs in the Western World. I like the fact that Banyard exposed the hypocrisy of Western nations accusing non-white communities of FGM practises, when ‘Millions have their flesh sucked, foreign bodies inserte Though I would not consider myself a feminist, and disagree with many things discussed in this book, it is very clear that there are issues pertaining to women’s rights which must be addressed, such as the commodification of women and the horrific nature of the sex-industry and lap-dancing clubs in the Western World. I like the fact that Banyard exposed the hypocrisy of Western nations accusing non-white communities of FGM practises, when ‘Millions have their flesh sucked, foreign bodies inserted under their skin and increasingly, parts of their labia minors cut off for non-medical purposes. We don’t name this as a harmful cultural practise stemming from gender inequality; we call it plastic surgery.’ As Sheila Jeffreys points out, ‘Harmful practises in the west will most usually be justified as emanating from consumer “choice”, from “science” and “medicine” or “fashion”; that is, the law of the market.’ Western practices are veiled by the language of choice, but it is crucial to understand the coercive pressure that culture can exert- both in the UK and worldwide. Banyard sheds light on the lie of liberalism. The lie of ‘the end of history’. The West most definitely has not created the best model society for all to follow. It most certainly does not have the right to lecture the rest of the world on how their societies should be governed, when the Western World is literally decaying as filth and degeneracy proliferates. “70% of women in prostitution have previously spent time in care” - “This suggests that the sex industry’s credential of being populated by ‘liberated staff’ is fraudulent. Abuse, homelessness, poverty, marginalisation, family breakdown: these are the lights illuminating the path to prostitution.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Kat Banyard's well-researched and passionate arguments about feminism serve as a reaffirmation of its importance in present-day time. In this book Banyard highlights the disparities in work, salaries, education, sex, relationships, maternity and politics with an interesting narrative that reveals what's underneath the so-called equality that many claim already exists. She explores various topics of inequality and underlines the relevancy of feminism and why there's still so much to achieve regard Kat Banyard's well-researched and passionate arguments about feminism serve as a reaffirmation of its importance in present-day time. In this book Banyard highlights the disparities in work, salaries, education, sex, relationships, maternity and politics with an interesting narrative that reveals what's underneath the so-called equality that many claim already exists. She explores various topics of inequality and underlines the relevancy of feminism and why there's still so much to achieve regarding gender-equality. The discussions about female sexuality and empowerment were thought-provoking and very interesting - Banyard analyzes sex work from a compelling perspective and offers the reader insight on the hardships women experience in a job that showcases the illusion that they're owning their bodies and sexuality while empowering men instead of them. Generally, this book is a startling and quite upsetting look into the position of women today in the UK but not exclusively. Some of the chapters are deeply unsettling and it seems unfathomable that women still struggle with situations that men will never. Of course this is nothing new or groundbreaking, but Banyard's examination of gender-inequality and feminism is important, incisive and well-written. 100% recommend.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Saer

    As all of the 'hope for the future' was in a single chapter near the end, the rest of the book felt pretty grim. Also, at points it was pretty graphic, which definitely got the point across but maybe was unnecessarily uncomfortable. As all of the 'hope for the future' was in a single chapter near the end, the rest of the book felt pretty grim. Also, at points it was pretty graphic, which definitely got the point across but maybe was unnecessarily uncomfortable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    An important book with relevant discussions.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Used this as a starting literature review for my dissertation, helped to put me in the right direction

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Hamilton

    A must read for millennials and gen z women.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Houston

    Another well-researched book on modern feminism, though not as well-written as Living Dolls. Banyard gives herself a different remit - she covers legal issues and work issues a lot more thoroughly, and sort of skims over objectification, body image, and the false rhetoric of choice that drives modern raunch culture. This means that her first few chapters, which deal with those topics, are a bit patchy - often, she will act as though she has definitively proven something, when actually her argume Another well-researched book on modern feminism, though not as well-written as Living Dolls. Banyard gives herself a different remit - she covers legal issues and work issues a lot more thoroughly, and sort of skims over objectification, body image, and the false rhetoric of choice that drives modern raunch culture. This means that her first few chapters, which deal with those topics, are a bit patchy - often, she will act as though she has definitively proven something, when actually her argument has some holes in it - but the book picks up in later chapters, and covers a lot of areas Walter doesn't. For instance, Walter discusses how the modern worship of biological determinism drives men and women into stereotyped career paths - and provides a lot of science that isn't getting much coverage to show that biological determinism isn't as cut-and-dried as the mainstream press seems to think it is. But Banyard picks up there and makes what I think is the critical point, which is that, once men and women have been stuck in stereotyped boxes, whatever boxes women get put into become immediately devalued and, most importantly, paid less. Apparently, salaries for HR directors have declined sharply in the last twenty years, as women have gone from 30% of HR staff to 80%. Walter talks about how women are being held back from entering into male-dominated professions, but she leaves that as the complete argument, implicitly suggesting that those male-dominated professions are superior - yes, women should be encouraged to enter math and science-related professions, to pursue medicine and law and politics, but the corollary to that is to wonder, "hey, these fields that are dominated by men are not only excluding women, but are also better paid and more highly respected than the fields dominated by women." If it's sexist to keep women - by pressure, stereotypes, or law - out of high-status professions, it's also sexist to accept the diminished place that "women's work" holds in modern society. Banyard also goes into issues of law and domestic violence more than Walter does - discussing the immigration laws that mean a female asylum seeker can't leave her marriage (no recourse to public funds means that you can't take a bed at a shelter that's paid for with tax money), the reasons why the rape conviction rate is so low, and many other issues that Walter doesn't cover. Summary: Walter's book is better written and includes a more damning indictment of raunch culture, body image issues, the rise of lap-dancing clubs, and the pressure to be very sexual very early. She dismantles the false rhetoric of choice MUCH more effectively than Banyard does, and provides a fascinating and in-depth look at the science on gender differences that isn't getting published. Banyard does better at looking at the legal and political side of things.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hebden

    The latest in a welcome plethora of non-academic, accessible books on modern feminism comes from Kat Banyard and is predominantly occupied with the old chestnut of sexism and with that the attitudes towards women from men, the media, advertising and government. It’s a very good polemic on equality or lack thereof for women in modern society. Banyard takes umbrage with the modern “empowering” branch of feminism that she feels has conned women in to accepting a world designed for the exploitation The latest in a welcome plethora of non-academic, accessible books on modern feminism comes from Kat Banyard and is predominantly occupied with the old chestnut of sexism and with that the attitudes towards women from men, the media, advertising and government. It’s a very good polemic on equality or lack thereof for women in modern society. Banyard takes umbrage with the modern “empowering” branch of feminism that she feels has conned women in to accepting a world designed for the exploitation of the female sex. Her argument may very well be accurate however she never speaks directly with those women who find modern society empowering. There are women who find stripping a viable career choice and some who even work as prostitutes because they can earn good money doing it. I admit that these women are heavily in the minority but when your argument is the direct opposition to them it is only fair to give these women a voice, if only to pick holes in what they say. That is the only negative point in a wholly informative book that is packed with a passionate line of discussion that I almost wholly agree with. There is some welcome empirical evidence on unequal pay and social attitudes towards women, particularly on rape. Banyard is at her most acerbic when criticising the present coalition government in their opinions towards women demonstrated in their regressive policies. I feel there is a further book on governmental policy alone waiting to be written by the author. It’s a great book but could have been that much better with a little counter-argument.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stef Rozitis

    I think this is an important book to read. The language is eloquent and very quotable and mostly I think the research is pretty good. I am a bit hesitant about agreeing with how extreme some of the claims are. I think some time for convenience there is one side only looked at, and while it tends to be a side I agree with I thought it needed to be a little bit better at looking at the complexity (of course rants sell books and complexity really doeasn't). A redeeming feature was a lot of footnote I think this is an important book to read. The language is eloquent and very quotable and mostly I think the research is pretty good. I am a bit hesitant about agreeing with how extreme some of the claims are. I think some time for convenience there is one side only looked at, and while it tends to be a side I agree with I thought it needed to be a little bit better at looking at the complexity (of course rants sell books and complexity really doeasn't). A redeeming feature was a lot of footnotes if people want to read more (I do) but I would have like it organised into a reading list at the end of the chapter or book (yes I am admitting I am a nerd) The chapter on violence and sex was triggering and made me sick to read. I do wonder if it needed to be quite so detailed and explicit in its descriptions. Maybe it did. Maybe there is a need for us to stop kidding ourselves these practises are "harmless" but it was awful to read that and keep reading it and keep reading it when there are descriptions of horrible stuff men are doing to these women. I thought the epilogue was the best part of all because it went into some victories and losses that had happened politically. Any aspiring politician should read the book- at least skim-read the rest and read the epilogue carefully :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    For Books' Sake

    Carefully structured around the daily routine, Banyard tackles a different issue in each chapter, opening the discussion with semi-fictional accounts of women’s experience, and backing up each argument with some truly heartbreaking testimonials. By contextualising issues such as gendered education, violence, and raunch culture within the mundanity of everyday life, Banyard is able to effectively highlight the relentless subjugation women are exposed to, and this is where The Equality Illusion‘s r Carefully structured around the daily routine, Banyard tackles a different issue in each chapter, opening the discussion with semi-fictional accounts of women’s experience, and backing up each argument with some truly heartbreaking testimonials. By contextualising issues such as gendered education, violence, and raunch culture within the mundanity of everyday life, Banyard is able to effectively highlight the relentless subjugation women are exposed to, and this is where The Equality Illusion‘s real strength lies. The major criticism of this book is that it is simply too simplistic: a fact which simultaneously works greatly in its favour. Given the troubling nature of the content, and the gravity of the issues at hand, a deeper analysis of the presented information would have been welcome. (Excerpt from full review of The Equality Illusion at For Books' Sake)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Wow. This book is a few years old now, but if the statistics and research evidence in it are sound, it's a startling look at the position of women in the UK in areas of body image, education, work, domestic violence, sex and reproductive rights. The most disturbing chapter for me was the chapter on education and sexual harassment at school. The qualitative interviews in that chapter were shocking. Pre-pubescent and teenage girls reporting verbal, physical and psychological harassment from boys t Wow. This book is a few years old now, but if the statistics and research evidence in it are sound, it's a startling look at the position of women in the UK in areas of body image, education, work, domestic violence, sex and reproductive rights. The most disturbing chapter for me was the chapter on education and sexual harassment at school. The qualitative interviews in that chapter were shocking. Pre-pubescent and teenage girls reporting verbal, physical and psychological harassment from boys their own age and even teachers. This gave me the chills. There are still inequalities existent in my own country which make it difficult for some groups of women to escape their situation. Unfortunately not enough people read books like this and educate themselves on the true position of women in the aforementioned areas.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liam89

    In this invaluable feminist manifesto, Kat Banyard uses a powerful combination of personal testimony and exhaustive research to dispel every myth you have heard about feminism and gender equality; that feminism is out of date, even irrelevant; that women and girls today make a free "choice" over how to dress, what to wear, and what career path to follow and lap dancing, stripping, pornography and prostitution are respectable industries that allow women to use their sexuality to empower them. For In this invaluable feminist manifesto, Kat Banyard uses a powerful combination of personal testimony and exhaustive research to dispel every myth you have heard about feminism and gender equality; that feminism is out of date, even irrelevant; that women and girls today make a free "choice" over how to dress, what to wear, and what career path to follow and lap dancing, stripping, pornography and prostitution are respectable industries that allow women to use their sexuality to empower them. For Kat Banyard, these assumptions are based on what she calls "the equality illusion", a dangerous assumption that in the modern world sexism and gender discrimination have been abolished. However this book will show you that sexism, mysoginy, and gender violence are alive, well, and doing our society immeasurable harm. And it is time to say that enough is enough.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Miw

    Important, clearly written, but hardly groundbreaking. Banyard's book lays out main areas in which feminism has work to do, and the areas surprisingly are broader than simply concerns for first-world middle-class white women. I am not convinced on some of the conclusions Banyard draws (i.e. eyelid cosmetic surgery in Japan is because Japanese women want to look white, because those poor asians have been brainwashed by cultural tyranny, lol? It's more to do with coveting youth than whiteness.) bu Important, clearly written, but hardly groundbreaking. Banyard's book lays out main areas in which feminism has work to do, and the areas surprisingly are broader than simply concerns for first-world middle-class white women. I am not convinced on some of the conclusions Banyard draws (i.e. eyelid cosmetic surgery in Japan is because Japanese women want to look white, because those poor asians have been brainwashed by cultural tyranny, lol? It's more to do with coveting youth than whiteness.) but other points were incisively perceptive and balanced, especially those on the role of men in feminism and how feminism can help us all, as humans- and it isn't just a cause which is pro-woman. Looking forward to what Banyard has to say next in her career.

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