The Public Woman by Joan Smith - review by Frances Wilson

Frances Wilson

Fight for Feminism

The Public Woman


The Westbourne Press 284pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The premise of this polemic is that despite the unprecedented freedoms that women enjoy in the developed world – voting in elections, choosing if and when to have children, adultery without stoning, and divorce without stigma – our culture is still marinated in misogyny. ‘There’s never been a better moment in Western history to be born female,’ Joan Smith begins. ‘So why doesn’t it feel like that?’

Her question is timely. Despite Caitlin Moran’s battle cry in How To Be a Woman, few young women define themselves as feminists; most aspire more to boob jobs and Botox than the benefits of a good education, and role models are more likely to be WAGs and Middletons than businesswomen

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

Kafka Drawings

Follow Literary Review on Twitter