Activist Florence Given issues a bold call for feminism, self-empowerment and gender tolerance.
Activist Florence Given warns readers – especially her target audience of young women – that her distaste for patriarchal culture may anger some people, women as well as men. She regards this anger as a necessary step toward healing. Given dedicates herself to being the change she wishes to see and to overturning oppression. Sassy and whimsical, basic but insightful, she peppers her work with f-bombs, controversial pronouncements and provocative drawings.
Sometimes the person stopping you from reaching your potential all along was your own subconscious addicted to the comfort that comes from blaming others. It’s time to get out of your own wayFlorence Given
She aims for a Gen Z audience and thoughtfully weaves gender identity throughout her treatment of feminism. If you wonder why someone prefers to be referred to as “they” or what privilege really means, Given explains with care, though her straightforwardness might make readers uncomfortable.
Given found that understanding the pervasive nature of sexism can be an exhausting, isolating aspect of a woman’s personal and professional growth. You may feel anger and despair, she warns, but she insists these are hallmarks on your development journey.
Temporary discomfort is an investment in your future self.Florence Given
Once you start looking, she says, you may notice widespread misogyny, racism and oppression. As you choose not to participate in discrimination, she warns, your alerted consciousnesses – and realized feminism – can upset your life.Be patient and tolerant with yourself and have patience for others as they unlearn racist, sexist, homophobic or ableist attitudes.
Society insists that being beautiful means not being cognizant of your beauty, thus women often respond to compliments by pointing out their own flaws. Society teaches girls that their appearance exists to please others.
A patriarchal society prioritizes women’s desirability and rewards their efforts to be pretty. Conceding and just playing by these rules makes life easier for women.
We can’t shame people for doing what they can to be seen and heard in this messed up world.Florence Given
Given exhorts that loving yourself is a powerful act of rebellion against dominant cultural narratives. Learn what makes you happy. Avoid parasitic people who give you “crumbs” – the minimum time and attention necessary to keep you around.
Fight the dominant cultural narrative and reinforce your self-esteem by embracing content – books, films, music, websites and more – by women, people of color, and those who are LGBTQ+, overweight, older or disabled. Open your mind and heart to a variety of different perspectives.
Given reminds you that even if you are fighting low self-esteem, you should never accept being treated badly. Recognize self-sabotaging behavior. Respect your needs, and set boundaries. Spend time with people who make you feel good.
Because meeting society’s unrealistic beauty standards is impossible, women may take some secret pleasure in noting how other women don’t measure up. Seeing someone else’s flaws is easier than seeing your own. Given urges you to avoid toxic competition.
If we can learn to view other women as opportunities for inspiration and empowerment…and realize that there is enough room for all of us to be happy, the relationship and bonds we form together will be unstoppable.Florence Given
When you find yourself judging another woman’s choices, Given says, ask if that reveals any “internalized misogyny” on your part.
Given warns you not to rely on social media – which, like gambling, is addictive, unpredictable and a drain on your precious energy – for validation. Escape your social media addictions by silencing your notifications; find a social media outlet that exposes you to diverse opinions.
Name one successful woman who got to where she is by scrolling on Instagram, depressing herself with other people’s fabricated lives.Florence Given
Society expects women to perform unpaid emotional labor, Given says, such as propping up everyone around them while ignoring their own needs. Keep your energy in reserve – running on low may lead you to make poor choices.
Your Red Flags
On the personal side, Given advises women to date when they feel confident and their energy is strong. You deserve someone consistent who communicates with you, she affirms. Emotionally unattainable people keep you guessing – and become psychologically addicting. If people ghost you, reject them as emotionally abusive. She cautions against negatives elements of society – pornography, for example – that gloss over sexual aggression and normalize assault.
When you hurt someone’s feelings, Given counsels, and never offer an excuse instead of an apology. Ask the person you hurt or offended how you can make amends.
If people can’t be accountable or apologize for hurting someone – whether they meant to or not – it’s a red flag. No. It’s the red flag.Florence Given
Stepping where few dare to tread, Given offers a roadmap to today’s vocabulary and personal choices, such as deciding to adopt “they” as their personal pronoun. She explains that people may identify with their biological sex or identify as nonbinary and use gender-neutral “they/them” pronouns.
She also explains the touchy concept of “privilege,” the concept that membership in a certain group may confer a societal advantage. For example, if you are white, you may face fewer obstacles – say for professional advancement – than a person of color in a similar role.
Given encourage her readers to take responsibility for their own growth and healing, from the inside out, by practicing self-reflection and embracing their community.
Outgrowing people who do not support your growth is an act of choosing your own happiness and makes room for people who deserve a place in your life.Florence Given
She recommends several steps you can take to fortify yourself, such a talking to yourself in the mirror, trying therapy, taking yourself on a date alone, keeping a daily journal and investing in your health. Build momentum toward healing built on self-regard.
Given makes no secret of her deep-seated anger at patriarchy, sexism and misogyny. But she doesn’t intend to make you angry; she wants to make you strong.
It costs more to be a woman in the same world where we are paid substantially less than men, and we’re supposed to believe that ‘splitting the bill’ is the route to equality?Florence Given
Her blunt, straightforward, no-compromises discussion of sexual, societal and gender issues is controversial, opinionated, profane, passionate and uncompromising. Her no-nonsense sincerity may remind you conceptually of climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Both regard their positions as fundamental common sense and have no patience with disagreement. Given wants her primary audience – Generation Z young women – to hear her call to action and find and honor their strengths.
Florence Given also wrote the novel Girl Crush. Parallel books include Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez, Be Bold: Manifest Your Dream Life by Alexis Fernandez, Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall, and Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker.