Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman Review

Lindy West didn’t just wake up one day ready to write a book. She pummeled through years of online bullies reacting to her blog: “I was eating 30 rape threats for breakfast at that point (or, more accurately, ‘You’re fatter than the girls I usually rape’ threats),” she writes. “No one could touch me any more.” What came of it was this thrashing memoir and ode to the loud woman that opens the door for a new type of fat femme.

West’s ponderings on the female body on the dot. Sadly, if I wasn’t a woman, I would have a hard time believing her narrative because at many times it’s sad and disgusting. But alas, I am a woman, have been forced to listen to too many rape jokes in my short life, have received comments about my body as if it’s a dress on a rack open to everyones’ opinions, and have been chastised for “asking for it.”

She muses that “chasing perfection was your duty and your birthright, as a woman” — a pressure all woman will feel at some point in their life, even if they hide from society for all but five minutes. She continues that by being born into a fat body, “I would never know what it was like — this thing, this most important thing for girls,” as society has shunned her at the gates.

West’s book leaps away from societal norms: cliff jumping from solid ground into a deep unknown. “Isn’t it our responsibility, as artists, to keep an eye on which ideas we choose to dump into the water supply?” All she is sure about is that there are plenty of internet trolls waiting for her. She does this for women growing up in our suffocating, belly-sucking, corset-pinching culture so that you and me will get a peek of what could possibly be on the other side and decide to fight against it. Or at least be aware.

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