16th Jul 2012
A Little F’d Up by Julie Zeilinger
Julie Zeilinger is 19 years old. Julie Zeilinger is 19 years old – and has written one of the most thoughtful, energising books about feminism on the market. A Little F’d Up is the logical progression of FBomb, a website for young feminists founded by Zeilinger when she was just 16, which offers advice on activism, dating, body image, pop culture and a thousand other things ignored by the majority of feminist criticism. F’d Up serves as part introduction to feminism, part a caffeine-laced Ironman Triathlon through the issues facing modern feminists.
From the day-glo pink cover (let’s just ignore the press release’s use of the word ‘sassy’) to the snappy chapters headings (‘The Badasses Who Came Before Us’, ‘Please Stop Calling Me A Feminazi’), this feels like the book every feminist under 25 (and over, too) has been waiting for. Any reservations about the age of the writer are quickly dispelled: Zeilinger displays a ferocious knowledge of feminist theory, combined with self-awareness and a refreshing willingness to hold her hands up and admit her limitations.
F’d Up takes in the history of feminism, its ongoing perception problems, why the movement should include men, feminism in the online era and global misogyny, ending with a touching yet hilarious summary of Zeilinger’s own relationship with feminism. This is a book that has no problem dealing with the issues in contemporary feminism that people just don’t seem to talk about.
What do you say when second-wave feminists accuse your generation of being apolitical and not being interested in feminism? Zeilinger answers by detailing the physical and motivational differences between the movements, pointing out that we are now no longer fighting for changes to the law, but rather change within individual members of society. It may sound simple, but it’s liberating to have a writer (even and especially one who is 5 years younger than you) stand up and ask, “What? You want us to march against people’s insecurities? Against a mother who diets or a high school teacher who encourages girls not to play sport?”
The ability to give feminist theory a practical application is Zeilinger’s true strength, and is what makes F’d Up such an energising read. Under headings such as ‘The Feminist Solution to Girls With Fangs’ and through the exploits of Bartleby and Finneus she illustrates the ways in which feminism provides everything women (and men) need to navigate their way through the 21st century.
Zeilinger was recently named as one of the 25 Kick-Ass and Amazing Women We Love by For Books’ Sake’ favourite, Jezebel. So you know she’s going to carry on doing some pretty impressive things and making everyone without a Nobel Prize for Being Awesome feel like a slacker. Read her book now so you can be fully signed up to the Julie Zeilinger fan club before she takes her rightful place as ruler of the universe and extoller of all things feminist.
Recommended for… Every woman, feminist or otherwise, in your life.
Other recommended reading: With an introduction by Jessica Valenti and a comprehensive reading list at the back, I think you know what to do.