5 Reasons You Should Read ‘Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World’

Posted February 16, 2017 by Madalyn || 12 Comments

5 Reasons You Should Read ‘Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World’Here We Are by Kelly Jensen
Published by Algonquin Books on January 24th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Nonfiction
Pages: 240
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.
Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. Come on in, turn the pages, and be inspired to find your own path to feminism by the awesome individuals in Here We Are.
Welcome to one of the most life-changing parties around!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World is an absolutely delightful, insightful anthology comprised of essays, poems, illustrations, comics, playlists, and more, all centered around– you guessed it– feminism. I find books like this to be difficult to review, so I thought I’d switch it up and simply list some reasons I think everyone should read this book!

five reasons you should read it

  • It’s intersectional AF.

Not only does Here We Are address intersectionality and its importance in modern feminism, but the anthology itself just… is intersectional, through and through. From the diverse contributors, to the general stance this book takes on feminist issues, it truly promotes a feminism for all women, not just the exclusionary white feminism we see promoted so often in the media. Among the contributors are trans women, queer women, women of color, women of different socioeconomic backgrounds, women with disabilities, and nonbinary people. This was so refreshing to see, especially given that the anthology is targeted toward teens. It gave me so much hope!

  • There’s something for everyone.

Here We Are is definitely more of an introduction to feminism than anything else, but I think that, no matter how informed and engaged you are regarding feminist issues, this anthology has something to offer you. It’s definitely a fantastic, if not totally comprehensive, introduction to what exactly ‘feminism’ is and what it means to different people. I’m a Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies minor, and even though I’ve read lots of the seminal feminist literature, Here We Are gave me totally new things to think about. For example, it definitely brought to my attention some of the interlocking oppressions that I often neglect in my own feminism (for example, why have I never previously thought of mental health as a feminist issue?).

  • Anthologies are the vanquishers of book slumps.

I suppose this is more of a general comment on the genre itself, but anthologies, much like short story collections, can ALWAYS pull me out of even the worst reading slump. I’d love to see more anthologies (both fiction and nonfiction) targeted toward a YA audience. They’re great because you can marathon them, or you can savor them over a longer period of time by reading one essay or chapter per day. And, you can always tab your favorite essays and refer back to them later when you’re feeling down or when you simply want to revisit them!

  • It features tons of YA authors and public figures you know and love.

It’s likely that you know of and love at least a few of the contributors in this anthology. I love that it features so many beloved YA authors– hearing their thoughts on and experiences with feminism, especially after having read many of their books, was fascinating. (Do YA authors like Laurie Halse Anderson, Brandy Colbert, Malinda Lo, Kody Keplinger, Daniel Jose Older, Nova Ren Suma, or Siobhan Vivian ring a bell?) It also features the words of some pretty influential public figures like Wendy Davis, Roxane Gay, Mindy Kaling, Laverne Cox, and Amandla Stenberg. Plus, in addition to these already-beloved humans, you’re also sure to find new voices to love! I totally went on a Twitter following spree after I finished this book.

  • It’s beautifully constructed.

Maybe it sounds vain, but hear me out. Here We Are is described as a “scrapbook-style” anthology, which literally means that it was made to look like the cutest scrapbook or journal ever– complete with pretty fonts, contrasting patterns, bold colors, cute drawings, and even printed tape/stickers to give it a textured look. However, the beauty of its construction doesn’t stop with the aesthetics: I love the way this anthology was organized, too. It was broken down into seven different chapters which covered everything from the body, to gender and sexuality, to relationships, to feminism in pop culture. And, as I mentioned before, this collection contains all sorts of different forms of media, which gave it wonderful variety!

my personal favorite pieces

I loved the anthology as a whole, but there were a few essays and pieces that made me think even more than the others. Also, a lot of these felt really true to my own experiences with feminism.

  • “Bad Feminist: Take Two” by Roxane Gay
  • “The Monster Book of Questions and Answers” by Anne Theriault
  • “Do Female Black Lives Matter Too?” by Amandla Stenberg
  • “Somewhere in America” by Zariya Allen (poem)
  • “Opportunity” by Risa Rodil
  • “The ‘Nice Girl’ Feminist” by Ashley Hope Perez

Let’s Talk

Have you read Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World? If so, what were some of your favorite pieces? If not, do you plan to read it?

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12 responses to “5 Reasons You Should Read ‘Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World’

  1. This sounds great! I knew I shouldn’t have skipped over this when I saw it on NetGalley. I have Bad Feminist waiting for me at the library right now so I’ll have to tackle that first but I will add this to my ever-growing feminism TBR.

  2. Yess I read this one a few months ago and really enjoyed it! I loved that it was super intersectional and scrapbook-style. I think it’s definitely geared toward those who want a thorough introduction to feminism – I wanted to buy it for my little sister!

    • I was so happy to see it was intersectional! And yes, the style is unique and fun. Also, thanks so much for sharing my review! I love love love the idea of that feature and will look out for more of those posts in the future.

  3. I haven’t read this yet, but I have it to read! I love that it’s intersectional feminism, as I was afraid it would fall into that trap of only including white feminism. And then I actually had no idea that this wasn’t all non-fiction! I don’t know why I was under the impression that it would be all memoirs of some sort (and all prose), but I’m really glad that there is a ton of variety.

    Aweseom review Madalyn! I really hope to get to this soon!

    • I was hesitant going in, too, but the contributors come from diverse backgrounds and, like I mentioned, some of the essays discussed marginalizations that, for some reason, I had never associated with feminism before (like mental health). It was really refreshing! Thanks so much, Val– I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

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