Livet och patriarkatet is kind of book I would love to give as a present to everyone who is still questioning issues of sexism, who doesn’t believe that feminism really isn’t about men hating, but rather human rights, to feminists who are uncertain of their attitudes – is it OK to wear make up, be feminine? This short book is a beautiful and funny take on things which matter, suitable for wide audience of all ages.
Livet och patriarkatet explains a lot of terms and issues regarding feminism. It starts right from the beginning speaking what is feminism actually about, if men can be feminists too and why everything is linked; maybe it is fine to ignore a catcall on the street, yet to deal with such behavior in the workplace is much harder, especially when everyone else thinks it’s nothing serious.
Peppe speaks about her way to feminism through her experiences, but still her points are supported by statistics. Her writing style is simply one of my favorite: Peppe creates a dialog with the reader, doesn’t overuse technical terms and uses lot of sarcasm and irony (yes, I’m quite sure we could be lovely friends). I suppose that Livet och patriarkatet should serve a purpose of introducing the feminism and its issues. When talking about new term or matter, Peppe pretends to explain audience questions. I find it not only very useful, but also reader-friendly – I would prefer such interpretation much more, than boring and often ignored footnotes or glossary. She also addresses questions she has received on her blog Livet & L. A., which makes her book even more interactive.
The most thought-provoking chapter is probably the one called Pojkflickan (Tomboy) and its narrative in society. Coming from my own experience as a small girl, whose father probably wanted to have a son so much that he created his version of him – me. There I was, following on every trip to the nature, fishing, hanging out with his friends, later having boys as most of my friends, feeling a bit sweet dominance over other girls who were having ‘stupid’ conversation topics, no real interests, were all drama and gossips, and in addition to all of it were hypersensitive. This tomboy part of me is still very important for me, because it defines my personality a lot, but I’ve got a new point of view on this tomboy issue: for all females saying they are manly, aka having those interests and good ol’ qualities traditionally associated with men, therefore considered somehow more valuable then ‘average’ women, are males having female interests and qualities often doomed to be called homosexual or having his position in social hierarchy lowered. All that just because male features are more valuable than female ones. Also, while holding this attitude of ‘being the one on guys’ side’, female professionals often unconsciously discourage younger women interested in working in the same profession, because they are sending a message saying “There can be the only one here, so you better be one of them”, instead of encourage women to be themselves and rather than being ‘cool with lads’, focus on their abilities and possible change of working environment.
Another important news was equality in Finland; although I spent almost one year living in this beautiful country, I always knew much more about Sweden. Peppe’s message here it’s clear: Although some countries are considered as places where gender equality reach its top, the issues are still there no matter what politicians try to claim.
I wish Livet och patriarkatet is translated into English, so more readers can read it and learn something new about things that matter.