Sometimes when a celebrity writes a book their image conjures up certain expectations, so I was ready for something pleasant, warm and funny.
Instead I was surprised, in a good way I might add, by how gritty, feisty, hardcore and brutally honest it was. When O’Porter says cows she really means cows.
The reader follows the lives of Tara, Stella and Cam. Tara is a successful documentary maker, who has to put up with a misogynistic boss. Stella is grieving the death of her sister and trying to establish her own identity. Cam is a feisty blogger, who ends up becoming a bit of an online celebrity after she tells the world that she doesn’t want to have children.
The lives of these three women become linked when one of them becomes a viral sensation when she is secretly filmed during a very private moment.
Leaving aside the plot and multiple story-lines for a moment, I do think the author has managed to create a sort of megaphone for women, and their opinions, in this book. Women often aren’t aware that other women are actually their worst enemy and at the spearhead of the fiercest vocal opposition.
You kind of expect men to try to undermine, control and belittle women. It is unfortunately part of as yet unbroken ancient societal habits. However when other women try to bring you down, it often feels like more of an affront. Surely other women should know exactly how you feel, think and all about the problems one encounters as a woman?
One of the topics Porter sheds a light on to make this point is women who choose not to have children. You wouldn’t believe the amount of criticism a by choice childless woman encounters in her lifetime. They are accused of not fulfilling their duties, not contributing to the world as they should. More power to them I say. I have plenty of friends for whom no children was and is a life choice. It has never even dawned on me to try and point the finger, convince them otherwise or chastise them. Regardless of with or without children I admire anyone who has a clear view of what is best for them, and has the guts to live the way they want to.
Women should learn to empower other women. To support other women instead of trying to break them down in an attempt to justify their own life choices or mistakes.
The second point the author makes is about the hypocritical way women are treated when it comes to sexuality, to be more specific, their sexual pleasure. They are shamed and ridiculed for having wants and needs. In this case no one points the finger at the voyeur or the person filming Tara secretly. In one foul swoop she is treated like a pariah, an unfit parent and a very loose woman. All because of one moment of intimate pleasure.
As I mentioned before I was pleasantly surprised by the in your face brutal honesty and to be quite frank our painful reality. O’Porter is definitely a voice to listen to in a crowd full of noisy voices.