100 Nasty Women of History of Hannah Jewell (first published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton)
I’m (almost) ashamed to admit that I did not finish reading 100 Nasty Women of History. I made it to 81/100 before deciding that the act of heralding the many wonderful achievements of women throughout history could be better, more respectfully represented.
I saw the cover and thought, “catchy”. I saw the by-line [Brilliant, badass and completely fearless women everyone should know] and thought “excellent, I need to read it”. I got a few pages in and thought, “this is terrible”.
100 Nasty Women of History sets itself the task of informing readers about awesome ladies everyone should know.
Truthfully, it accomplishes this task, but it is so filled with seething sarcasm, crude language and man-bashing that one struggles (as I did) to take advantage of the chance to learn.
Herewith a quote to illustrate: “Hypatia lived thousands of years before Internet trolls existed, so sadly nobody ever informed her that actually girls are really bad at maths because their brains are too frilly and emotional, and also that she was an ugly slut.”
I think that’s enough to make a point.
Basically, I have a problem with people using so much negativity and ugliness to try illustrate something worthwhile and important.
It cheapens the message, disrespects those whose lives you’ve deemed worthy of inclusion, and it can make writing too annoying, and cringe-worthy, to read.
100 Nasty Women of History has so much potential – there are so many admirable women mentioned, who accomplished amazing things, but it missed its target for me. Hannah Jewell had the chance to do something great, and she missed it
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