Foreword Reviews

Starred Review:

Sexual Revolution

Modern Fascism and the Feminist Fightback

Sexual Revolution is Laurie Penny’s radical work of literary journalism; it concerns current sociopolitical climates and the ways that feminism can save the world.

Penny takes a deep look at the powers that try to keep society under patriarchal reign, including sex, trauma, and resistance. But their book asserts that the world is undergoing a major change, broadening its ideas of what gender and democracy mean, and about how those ideas can shift the social and economic ideals upheld by white men for centuries. Their work spotlights sexual politics in the workplace, too, centering the #MeToo movement alongside tidbits from history, as about workplaces in the 1960s, when women could be fired for gaining weight.

Though it covers academic sociological topics and focuses on women’s experiences with bodily autonomy, sex, and work, Sexual Revolution was written for a wide audience. It references pop cultural events and the work of feminist icons, including bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Naomi Wolf. It also includes personal anecdotes, as about Penny receiving death threats for their journalism work.

Penny has appeared on many major media platforms, talking and writing about social justice and gender issues; their conversations with men friends who think they “technically” never raped anyone are sobering.

The work ends with a beautiful call to action:

Resistance is an intimate art. It works from the inside out. It starts when you start to realise that wherever you are, whatever you have done, you deserve to live, you deserve to be part of a society that nurtures life and makes it worth living, and it’s not too late to make one.

Sexual Revolution is a fierce, informative, and persuasive book about feminism and sexual politics.

Reviewed by Ashley Holstrom

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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