“An invaluable case for truth-telling in an age of chaos and lies.” --Emily Nussbaum “[Penny] bravely keeps thinking and talking and learning and trying to make the world better.” --Caitlin Moran
Smart and provocative, witty and uncompromising, this collection of Laurie Penny's celebrated essays establishes her as one of the most important and vibrant political voices of our time. Bitch Doctrine takes an unflinching look at the definitive issues of our age, from the shock of Donald Trump's election and the victories of the far right to online harassment and the transgender rights movement.
Penny is lyrical and passionate in her desire to confront injustice, and she's writing at the raw edge of a revolution-hungry zeitgeist, a time when it has never been more vital to actively question and fiercely dispute all forms of complacency, including social norms. This darkly comic, often biting yet empathic, revelatory collection will inform, challenge, and engage, and give readers hope and tools for change.
Any writer who claims objectivity is lying to you or to themselves, or both. I have never held with the notion of objective journalism: too often that’s a modesty slip for the enduring suspicion that only a certain sort of well-to-do Western man can possibly have a viewpoint worth listening to. When I started out, my world was overfull of stern men imploring me to strive for objectivity – which meant, in practice, that I ought to tell the story as a rich older man might see it. To wash all the dirty politics out of what I wrote. I have never been equal to the work of that compromise, and I’ve walked out of jobs that wanted me to make it. That still feels far too much like arrogance, but the alternative was complicity, which was, and still is, worse. Arrogance is an occupational hazard for any writer, especially those who manage to make writing their living, but only in women writers is it seen as a problem. Women writers aren’t supposed to be too brave, too sure of ourselves. Instead, we are supposed to dissemble, to approach with one knee bent, supplicant, to thank the men who helped us on our way, to blush and prevaricate if anyone asks what we hope to achieve. We’re taught, as women – especially as women – that before anything else, we must make ourselves likeable. We must make ourselves agreeable. We must shrink ourselves to fit the room, and shave down our ideas to fit the times. That sort of thing is death to creativity, death to good writing, death to clear thinking. Accepting that you’re going to be called a bitch isn’t about acquiescence. It’s about choosing freedom. There are a great many worse things that can happen to you than someone not liking what you have to say.