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[Review] Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

by Emily Mitchell

Rules for Being a Girl by Candance Bushell and Katie Cotugno

Don't be easy. Don't give it up. Don't be a prude. Don't be cold. Don't put him in the friendzone. Don't act desperate. Don't let things go too far. Don't give him the wrong idea. Don't blame him for trying. Don't walk alone at night. But calm down! Don't worry so much. Smile!

I really enjoyed this feminist rallying cry of a book. It’s akin to Moxie, with elements of #MeToo and the culture of victim-blaming.

I really liked Marin as a main character, as she was willing to grow and learn in her feminism, prompting some excellent discussion of intersectional feminism and white privilege.

She is strong and brave, but still has vulnerable and self-doubting moments, showing how she is being manipulated by Bex. This gaslighting and abuse of power is also shown throughout the book, leading to a twist near the end of the book that I must admit I saw coming, but was still powerful.

The way that Marin’s narrative is questioned by most of those around her sadly reflects reality. The emphasis is put on her to prove the teacher’s guilt. A lot of the story made me realise how much subtle sexism is seen as acceptable, creating the wider victim-blaming culture around assault and consent.

I also enjoyed the romance aspect and how it didn’t dominate Marin’s story. She didn’t need to be ‘saved’ by a male character, rather she had a support network and mutually beneficial romance.

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