One of my goals for 2020 reading wise was to engage with books and genres I have not traditionally spent much time with. This book is part of that. I happened upon it when browsing the Kobo store in their graphic novels section. And I thought … why not. It looks interesting and will hopefully lead to a new form of literary entertainment for me.
The Trouble With Women is a deeply sarcastic showcase of the perception of the female sex through history. This includes the views of some rather famous men, with names such as Charles Darwin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Ruskin, Guy de Maupassant and Arthur Schopenhauer making appearances. Oh and in case you were unaware, most men were geniuses so they knew what was best when it came to women. The book (literally) illustrates the points made with fantastic and funny cartoons which I thoroughly enjoyed.
This book might at first glance seem like a lighthearted fancy but goodness me, it makes some very astute and cutting observations that, all at the same time, will make you laugh, roll your eyes and get a bit peeved. You just can’t help yourself. I mean the majority of this information is not new or ground breaking, I had heard much of it before but it’s the way it is presented that makes it feel fresh. It’s stark simplicity (no pages and pages of academic theory and examination) makes the views presented seem all the more absurd and ridiculous. It cuts right to the chase with no apologies made along the way.
Females playing sport, their brain mass and capacity, the size of their hands, the female disposition for hysteria, her withering breasts and many other aspects of life have the spotlight cast upon them. And to be honest, when reading The Trouble With Women, you sometimes just have to sit back and wonder how things were ever that way.
It does very cheekily point out that women could do amazing things such as Annie Oakley being able to shoot the ash off her husband’s cigarette (presumably while it was in his mouth) but alas this wasn’t an olympic sport so didn’t count. But on the plus side, she did have dainty feet. That counts for something right?
What might surprise some readers was the aforementioned views of supposedly enlightened men towards women. They certainly had very firm ideas and opinions about what a woman was capable of and where she should concentrate her energies. Just to tickle your tastebuds …..
Ruskin … [a] woman’s intellect is not for invention or creation … her great function is praise …
As exasperating as it can be, this is a great little book to read, especially for modern young women. It gives them (and anyone who reads it) a small and concise view on the sphere that women were confined to not that long ago and what they have had to overcome to get to where they are today (which is still not a position of equality). Hopefully it will inspire some to do more reading on the subject. But the joy of the book is the way in which we are told all of this. Sarcasm is wielded as a deadly weapon to highlight the crass stupidity of it all. I get the impression that there is a fierce intelligence behind this book.
I would heartily recommend it to anyone with an hour or two to spare. Give it a whirl and I don’t think you’ll won’t be disappointed. You might roll your eyes a bit though.
Rating: 3 Stars
(Header Image: Sarah Kreig)