Book Review “Bitch Doctrine: essays for dissenting adults”, Laurie Penny

“She may be a bitch, but she’s a genuine bitch with a heart.”
Emily Henry

Yes, this book had been picked by me only because of the cover. ‘Bitch’ is a catchy word. As well as ‘fuck.’ If you are planning to succeed in your life, you have to reconsider the title of your next novel. That was direct advice from Mark Manson (my ex-review hereThe Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F@ck). Gosh, do not forget Jen Sincero and her prodigy-advice “How to become an asshole with a kickass smile and pockets full of cash.” Add look, reputation, and personality, because with all that cash you can buy it (my ex-review hereYou are a Badass at Making Money).

But we have bigger problems, folks. Our society is bleeding. I’d say top-massive-excessive-awkwardly-gross kind of bleeding. And this is the central theme of the book “Bitch Doctrine: essays for dissenting adults” written by Laurie Penny (2013-2017).

Frankly, I have mixed feelings after I had finished the collection of her essays. I like, and I dislike it at the same time. Yes, it is possible. It is happening more often with non-fiction though.
“Dislike? Why?” I asked myself.
I don’t know.
Maybe because I am:

  • A fake feminist
  • I want a nice tidy, clean room
  • I don’t think that love is political, but it is used by everybody and can become anything you want
  • A difficult woman, but aren’t a bitch
  • Against the war between two genders
  • Don’t want to live in a commune, date multiple people at once and stress about my career

God, Madonna hates me now!
Zero ambition, girl! Zero ambition!

Still, each page of the book is screaming about injustice so many of us are facing and, sadly, it speaks right to my heart.

It is work. This is what we told from the day we are born. You serve your love, body, heart to the man. Love is your emotional labor.

Is a long trajectory towards marriage. Nobody is asking if a woman want to travel the world, spend time with her friends. Yes, the woman also wanna scream ‘Bullshit!!’ and sit, drink beer at the dark pub until 4 am. But is she allowed to do so? Nope.

Because if she does:

  • she doesn’t love you
  • she’s automatically a bad wife
  • she simply has inappropriate behavior for a mother of your kids

x x x

Policeman: Is it your wife? And if “yes” what she’s doing here in the middle of the night? That’s a bad example of motherhood.
Wife: Yes, I am a f@ckin’ WIFE. I finally have some free time. Let’s go and dance! Nooooowwww!
Policeman: I am already dancing with your husband tonight.
Wife:(to husband) Hiiiii. What’s your name again?
Husband:(to policeman) I don’t know this woman, officer. 

x x x

Interesting things mentioned about novels of Jane Austen. “They are not romances. They are horror stories,” says Laurie Penny. Women in those novels are fixed on marriages because without husbands they’d be facing poverty, shame, and social isolation. Women are living in cages built by men… No doubt this is frightening.

Calm down; we have much more options now in 2018.
That’s why we call those novels – ‘romance’.

Just be anything, they say. And then they leave you to struggle against the world and the dictionary. 
In 2015 the word “cisgender” had been added to the lexicon of the Oxford English Dictionary. Plus ‘Mx’. And that’s how you can change the world. Or start. Even if you belong to 0.05 % of the cisgender-population (3.5 million or 10 times the population of Iceland)…you are still a human being. You should have a choice.


The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil. H. Arendt

Rape. Yes, men know what rape is. But women lie, they say. Official numbers – only between 2-4 % are lying. So what’s about the rest?..

The style and language: I think I didn’t like the vibe of the book. It is too “pushy”. Yes, I understand we are in the middle of a grumbling tsunami, and the change is close, but the author suggests that this is a an excellent read for the girls in their twenties, and I’m going to disagree.

“There’s no point being nice in a burning world” Laurie Penny

Ray: It is easy to say ‘Go to hell! We’ll build the new world! Without you, men!” It reminds me of a comedy by Aristophanes, originally performed in Athens in 411 BCE. 


    There are a lot of things about us, women

    That saddens me, considering how men

    See us as rascals.


                        As indeed we are!

Dramatic poets (of course, men!) in classical Greece are often showing women as irrational creatures in need of protection from themselves and others. Protection sounds wonderful. But from whom exactly? And why?

x x x

Policeman: Are you sure you don’t know this woman?

Wife: He is my damn husband, don’t you see? I used to give a shit what he thinks, but I don’t know.
Husband: No, sorry, officer. I don’t know this woman. I already got another wife.

x x x

Attention! The author is mentioning that she doesn’t hate men as individuals. But she dislikes “men” as a social phenomenon. I have to agree with her because feminism isn’t about fighting men all the time. It is about:

  • Fairness
  • Redistribution of wealth, power and influence
  • Changing the old to the new

Ray: Ah, who want to share power and wealth? Show us that silly fella…

So are you ready to become a feminist today?
If the answer is ‘YES’ – read the book.
If the answer is ‘NO’ – read the book twice.

3.5 = I’d buy it again because it is an interesting narrative voice (but be ready: aggressive) with a lot of energy and hope at the end…that one day:

‘women will be actually permitted to be artists, to create fiction, to make mistakes, to grow up, to be FLAWED and HUMAN in public.’ Laurie Penny

Next post – psycho tale “Discovery”, 18+
To check my plan for next week – click ‘About Ray’ page

Book Reviews

Victoria Ray NB View All →

Living in Sweden. Awesome. Happy. Writing. Ayurvedic food. Healthy lifestyle. Dogs. Literature. Drawing. Meditation/Yoga.

16 Comments Leave a comment

  1. “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.” – Socrates
    Those, of course, goes for fuckin’ bitches, too! lol….Couldn’t resist.

  2. What fun would it be to build a new world without men?
    Oh, and a bitch with a heart…..what more can a man hope for? I’m all in. And if she is wearing hot lingerie….well, she has my heart.
    And speaking of the war between the sexes…..I had no idea that has occurred. All I have been doing is loving the other sex. Over and over again.
    Have a great day.
    Lonely Author smiling his little mischievous smile. Thanks for the compliments on Ms. Smouldering blog. Very touched.

Don't be so shy...

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