You Don’t Have To Like Me: Essays On Growing Up, Speaking Out, And Finding Feminism (2015)
By Alida Nugent
Alida Nugent is my favorite blogger and essayist. She’s one of my role models as I really enjoy her sassy and honest writing style. I came across her first book, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood while shopping for a book to read on Amazon. I enjoyed her first book so much that when she announced her second book, it was definitely on my list of books I need to read and have on my bookshelf.
I got this book back in December, but I finally got the time to read it this summer. And my verdict for this book: it’s a must read for young women and teenage girls. In fact, I recommend this book to women who are just entering college or just graduated from college and entering the workforce. This is THE BOOK I needed to read while I was in college and I wished Nugent published it earlier. Yet, better late than never.
In this book, Nugent describes some of her experiences—the triumphs and struggles of being a woman. Some of the essays I could easily relate to are “Your Beauty Is Magic: On Loving My Face,” “I Am Exactly Like Other Girls,” and “Feral.” For the rest of this blog post, I’m going to discuss a little more about these sections and how they apply to my life. My female readers may be able to relate to what I have to say as well.
In “Your Beauty Is Magic: On Loving My Face,” Nugent discusses how she found beauty and self-acceptance with her appearance. I, personally, didn’t put effort into my wardrobe until recently and I just started wearing lipstick when I go out in public. I started dressing up because I wanted to. I like looking pretty for myself and not to please the public. Although, I do like the compliments when deemed appropriate.
As for ” I Am Exactly Like Other Girls,” Nugent talks about the stereotypes women are assumed to have when in all honesty, we should be ourselves. When a guy says, ” You aren’t like most girls,” it is more of an insult than a compliment because it creates this stigma that women are supposed to be this ideal type and anything less or out of the ordinary is something that men try to avoid. I actually experienced this when blogging and joining various voice group chats. I am always cautious when talking to guys online because some of them just like listening to their own voice and not anyone else’s. There were moments where I changed the tone of my voice on voice chat while I was stating my opinion and a guy’s reaction would be “Whoa, watch out. Lyn’s mad,” “So bossy,” or “Someone’s trying to be assertive.” From their tones, it seems like I’m just being cute and they won’t take me seriously. I found that annoying because I have interesting thoughts and ideas and I shouldn’t be silenced or treated with disrespect. This is part of the reason as to why I express my thoughts on my blog because I have a voice and there are people that need to hear it.
The last essay I’m going to talk about is “Feral.” In this section, Nugent discusses the mindset of a woman when she’s out and about—how getting home safely is always on the back of a woman’s mind when it’s a girls’ night out. For me, that’s my main concern when I get invited to places during the evening. Sometimes I would decline an invitation because the place is too far and I have to commute by myself at night. It isn’t that I don’t want to go. It’s more like I don’t want to risk it. Now that I think about it, it’s sad that I miss out on some fun excursions because I don’t feel safe. However, I don’t mind going out when it’s a big group though because all my friends watch each other backs.
Now I’m going to give some advice to my male readers if they don’t do this already. When you go out with your friends, make sure that your friends that are girls have a safe ride home. You can drive them home or give a text message to them asking if they got home safely. Some of my guy friends do this, but I think it should be a habit every guy does (but it is something we shouldn’t need in society if public places were safe).
You Don’t Have To Like Me is a feminist book. I have a similar experience with Nugent where I never considered myself a feminist. There are many connotations to it that represent me, but at the same time didn’t. Yet, while reading this book, I felt very comfortable saying that I am a feminist because I can relate to Nugent’s definition of feminism. Feminism is allowing a woman to make decisions for herself about her body and etc. It’s allowing a woman to have the same opportunities and an equal chance of pursuing something where our sex isn’t at a disadvantage. Feminism is about being respected. And I’m all about that. I am a feminist.