I've been reading Lindy West since her years at Jezebel. I took notice of her writing when I read her article, "Here's How to Make a Rape Joke" in 2012. I've been keeping up with her work at The Guardian and GQ and couldn't wait to get my hands on her memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman.
And of course it is fantastic. It's funny, insightful, poignant, and heartbreaking at times too. Lindy speaks on a myriad of feminist issues -- rape culture, fatphobia, racism, trolling, and pretty much everything a woman goes through on the internet. She talks about being fat and the dehumanization that comes with not having a thin body. She also discusses confronting her meanest troll, the one guy who set up Gmail and Twitter accounts under her dead father's name, just to harass her. You can hear an excerpt of this chapter in an episode of This American Life called "If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS". You can also hear her in another episode of TAL called "Tell Me I'm Fat" but do read the full essays in the book.
Shrill is full of very important thesis statements about misogyny, but I think my favorite quote from the book is the following, said about her confrontation with a comedian defending the use of rape jokes in stand-up routines. The comedian in question is upset that boycotters can target his show and his advertisers if he says something they don't agree with (that is, a rape joke). Lindy argues that boycotting is an affective and necessary means of protest and sometimes the only leverage a person may have. In this quote, she's tearing down the false equivalency of boycotting certain fast food restaurants versus boycotting department stores:
"There’s a difference between church groups boycotting JCPenney because JCPenney put a gay couple in their catalog and gay people boycotting Chick-fil-a because Chick-fil-a donated millions of dollars to groups working to strip gay people of rights and protections. Gay people wearing shawl-collar half-zip ecru sweaters does not oppress Christians. Christians turning their gay children out on to the streets, keeping gay spouses from sitting at each other’s deathbeds, and casting gay people as diseased predators so that it’s easier to justify beating and murdering them does oppress gay people." (West, 184)
I only wished this book was much longer.
West, Lindy. "Death Wish." Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. New York: Hachette, 2016. 206 pag. Print.