A Doctrine for Bitches? 10 propositions to help you decide

There are many things about the world today that I don’t understand – like why feminism makes people so angry and afraid, why anyone would actually vote for Trump, why Australia is currently staging a postal survey on same sex marriage. Laurie Penny‘s new book, Bitch Doctrine, has gone a long way to helping me understand many of these things (although not the same sex marriage survey as nobody can actually make sense of that one).

I’ll be honest: I think Laurie Penny is inspiring. Every time she writes, she astutely calls out the social injustices she sees, explains them logically and rationally and then poses solutions to them. She does this with humour, wisdom and anger, but she also does it hopefully. She delivers all of this, again, with Bitch Doctrine – a series of short essays on topics that range from the US election, to transsexuality, to Mad Max: Fury Road, to rape culture. They’re heavy topics, but Penny makes them interesting and digestible, and rather than collapsing in a heap of left-wing anguish, she highlights ways we can achieve change.

And yet at the start of this book, Penny explains that she called it Bitch Doctrine because when she presents what she thinks are ‘quite logical, reasonable arguments for social change’ she is called a bitch (and worse).

I’ve gathered together a selection of quotes from the book that particularly resonated, and grouped them as 10 propositions that make sense to me.

None of these seems all that provocative, but what do you think?

‘Show us yer dragon!’: an unfulfilled quest into fantasy/ sci fi

When postmodern heroines like Laurie Penny and Sarah Waters refer to fantasy and science fiction as genres that profoundly influenced them, I feel abashed. I have never really given either a proper go.  I confess – I haven’t read The Hobbit, any Harry Potters or even the dust cover of a Terry Pratchett novel. I had a brief flutter with Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Quest, but it was postpartum and no one can be held responsible for their actions within 3 months of delivering a child.

So as part of my own voyage to becoming-a-better-person,  I bought a penguin edition of Obernewtyn, a fantasty/ science-fiction postapocalyptic novel by Isobelle Carmody.  You’re in safe hands with a penguin, surely.