Girl Up with our new book review

Katie Horsburgh, Senior Section member in Edinburgh and Girlguiding Advocate, tells us what she’s been reading recently and how you should hurry to your nearest bookshop to grab a copy.

Girl Up by Laura Bates is a hard-hitting but hilarious book which exposes the truth surrounding pressures on body image, false representations in the media and lots of issues relevant to girls today. 

It is unusual for a book to leave me as excited to make change as ‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates left me.

I was really pleased after borrowing the book from the library after a Girlguiding Advocate meeting. I began reading whilst on the train journey back to Edinburgh from London and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it the following evening – yes, that’s right, it was so good I read the whole book in a day.

Funny, empowering and unflinchingly honest, Bates tackles issues important to girls and young women in a way they’ve never been tackled before. From body confidence to sex and relationships to feminism, she holds nothing back. This kind of unpatronising honesty is exactly what girls and young women need nowadays when many of the issues we face are taboo. It was wonderful to have so many of the constantly hushed questions answered, and answered by a woman who knows what she’s talking about.

This no-nonsense approach is hugely valuable, as it encourages girls and young women to feel comfortable talking about their worries and to have the confidence to break down the barriers they face. Bates really seems to have struck the balance between empathising with her readers’ struggles and not sugar-coating the truth.

The welcoming, funny style of this book meant that as I read it, I felt as though I was talking to a friend. Bates made difficult issues such as sexism and the world of careers seem accessible without addressing the reader as a child. She uses relatable examples, witty humour and pictures (the pictures are hilarious) to put her point across; which means that the books is a really fun read. At school, we discover these topics by watching out of date and often boring videos, but it was refreshing to learn in a way that was more relatable.

Perhaps even more importantly than the clever handling of issues dealt with in the book, Bates encourages her readers to go forth and do more. She includes an extensive list of sources girls can use to find extra information, and the final chapter details ways in which girls can campaign and be the change they want to see in the world. This was an excellent note to leave the book on, and inspired me to girl up to make positive change.

On a final note, I would like to say that ‘Girl Up’ was witty, empowering and honest. I’d recommend every girl my age to read this book, and I am fully intending to buy it for all my friends for Christmas (spoiler alert)!

We’d love to hear your suggestions for books and your reviews – pop us a message at @GirlguidingScot on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or email yourstories@girlguiding-scot.org.uk.