Title: The Trouble With Women
Author: Jacky Fleming
Publisher: Square Peg
UK Release Date: 18th February 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction, Graphic Novel, History, Humour, Feminism
CAN WOMEN BE GENIUSES? OR ARE THEIR ARMS TOO SHORT?
WHY DID WE ONLY LEARN ABOUT THREE WOMEN AT SCHOOL?
WHAT WERE ALL THE OTHERS DOING?
The Trouble With Women does for girls what 1066 and All That did for boys: it reminds us of what we were taught about women in history lessons at school, which is to say, not a lot. A brilliantly witty book of cartoons, it reveals some of our greatest thinkers’ baffling theories about women. We learn that even Charles Darwin, long celebrated for his open, objective scientific mind, believed that women would never achieve anything important, because of their smaller brains.
Get ready to laugh, wince and rescue forgotten women from the ‘dustbin of history’, whilst keeping a close eye out for tell-tale ‘genius hair’. You will never look at history in the same way again.
When I first heard the title of this book, I immediately added it to my mental list of books to read around feminism, as it’s something I care about deeply, so obviously I want to learn even more around it and support books about it. I was pleasantly surprised to see when I eventually picked The Trouble With Women up that it was a graphic novel, as I’ve read very few graphic novels, and so it definitely added some variety to what I’ve read this month (as per my bookish resolutions), and meant I got to try something new which I ended up reading enjoying.
Something I loved about this book is how entertaining it was. It didn’t take me long to read it, but I could easily imagine myself picking it up again for a quick flick through, or to read the thing, as that wouldn’t be too demanding on terms of time, and it would be just as good the second time around. There was humour in the way it was written which had me laughing throughout!
Obviously while there was the funny side to the book – especially with some of the illustrations – there were also the rather important aspect that it followed women, and the lack of women, throughout history, poking fun at sexist and patriarchal ideas. The historical ideas and actual quotes from people (I was shocked by some of the things that historical figures had said!) were mixed with a lot of sarcasm and humorous comments, and it made for an exceptionally fun but also educational read. The historical aspects weren’t detailed, but the quotes were aptly selected, and I think they are the kind of thing that could inspire readers to research the ideas themselves out of interest.
Another thing I thought was cool about this book was that it was a fun yet speedy read. It is only 128 pages long, and obviously as it’s a graphic novel there is very little text and a lot of pictures. I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to read it, but as it was definitely under an hour, if not less. I think that this makes The Trouble With Women even more accessible to many people, as younger audiences would enjoy it due to the images and speed at which you can read it, people who are slow readers shouldn’t find it particularly daunting, and it’s perfect for anyone who loves feminism or wants to know more about the history of women.
On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed The Trouble With Women. I thought that the premise was good, the way that entertainment was mixed with historical detail meant it was an informative and interesting read, and the illustrations were funny and meant it was on the whole a quick read. I would definitely recommend this to others, especially those looking for something fun and feminist!