Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Hodder Childrens
Rating: 5/5 Stars
It’s time to fight like a girl!
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
TIME TO FIGHT LIKE A GIRL
A page-turning read with a feminist message, for anyone who has ever had to deal with #everydaysexism
Moxie, the book that I wish had been around when I was younger. The book that smashed my reading slump to smithereens. The book that I fiercely related to. Moxie is such an important read, a YA book that looks at everyday sexism, rape culture and feminism, while also telling a good story.
Vivian, our main character, keeps her head down, she tries to pass by under the radar. She lives in a small town that revolves around the high school football team, whose players are allowed to get away with anything. School is a thing to get through, to survive. After witnessing more sexist comments and actions go unchallenged by authority, she gets angry. Inspired by her mom’s collection of zines from her days as a riot grrl, she decides to make a zine of her own, challenging the behaviour of the boys in school. While remaining anonymous she distributes Moxie to the girl’s bathrooms at school. The movement grows from there.
Something I really liked is that Vivian is not some perfect all-knowing feminist. She listens and learns to people, after the Moxie zine starts the conversation. Through these conversations between various characters, so much is discussed, taking advantage of different perspectives. She learns more about feminist movements from Lucy, a likeminded new girl. At one point, she is asked if Moxie is only for white girls, she is surprised, because she is naive to the impact of race, but she learns, and welcomes other girls to add their voices and experiences to the movement. And they do. There is this wonderful feeling of community, of support and safe spaces. The very concept of feminism is analysed, challenging the misconception held my many that feminism equals men hating, and exploring the stigma attached to the word ‘feminist’.
There is also a romance plotline running through the book. Vivian is attracted to new boy Seth, and she is even more interested when she realised that he is actually a nice guy, unlike so many other boys at school. He actually likes the Moxie zines, and shows his support for the movement. However he is not perfect, and sometimes he just does not get certain things. At one point he says the classic, “not all men” that gets thrown around so much. This opens the discussion that while a man can be a feminist, it is important to listen and learn about how everyday sexism effects women. Things may seem minor, it may not be every man, but every woman experiences sexism in some form or another, and saying not all men minimises that.
The overall message is about girls supporting each other, and Moxie being an inclusive movement for everyone. I loved that there was next to no girl hate in the novel, and that the way women and girls are pitted against each other was brought up and addressed. There are so many wonderful, empowering moments in this book, I used a lot of sticky notes to mark them all. Having said that, obviously this book deals with sexism, but it also covers sexual harassment, and sexual assault/attempted rape, which may be triggering for some readers. Please be aware of this going in, it’s addressed, there is an overall atmosphere of female empowerment and overcoming, but I don’t want anyone to get caught by surprise.
I wish this book had been around when I was in high school. I really wish it had been around for my younger sister, who had a similar experience with dress-code enforcement as shown in the book. This book is so powerful, and so important, I didn’t think twice about giving it 5 stars.
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