I hope you’re all well and feeling the fall vibe! It’s already windy here and somehow the air breeze is cool, symbolizing that December is near. I wasn’t super busy with work today, and powered through a book. Today marks the first review under my new handle, Reading Flamingo, together with new graphics and designs.
I get all worked up when I have to talk about gender roles, equality and the importance of having your own opinion even if you’re a woman. If you’re interested to know about my thoughts on Moxie, then read on, flamingo!
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication: September 19, 2017
Moxie girls fight back!
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
Actual rating: 3.50 stars
“MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK.”
I personally consider myself as a feminist; I have a lot of opinions and perspective that are not exactly traditionally in-lined. I’ve been raised in a Christian household, my mom and my extended relatives are active in Church; but at an early age, I had this sense and urge to always form my own opinions – not just to follow what others say.
When I was still in high school, I thought being a feminist meant that I NEVER have to rely on a man’s effort and strength. I would scream and let the boys have it when they would offer to carry my rock heavy backpack, or when they would let me inside the car first before them – I never accepted any help because I thought I was being looked down as woman, too weak to do anything. Apparently, I wasn’t being feministic, I wasn’t fighting for gender equality – what I was, was being mean. I didn’t realize it until I was in my last year of high school and was choosing which college to go to. Truth be told (and mind you, I never told anyone about this), I went to an exclusive school for girls, partly because I wanted to exercise women empowerment, but half of it was just because I easily get distracted with boys and boy drama.
Okayyy, back to what I was originally saying. I loved college, it was the best years of my life! I didn’t have friends, I gained SISTERS – sisters who share the same advocacy and campaign as mine. We had school campaign movements which heavily focused on women’s rights, two most memorable were:
1. BRING BACK OUR GIRLS – our rally against the group of men who kidnapped 276 Nigerian girls from their boarding school to become sex slaves and wives to Boko Haram’s group. This was done to send a message to the Nigerian government; our school went ahead and spearheaded this “noise barrage” within the vicinity of our school, encouraging civilians and other universities nearby to be aware.
2. One Billion Rising (Annual Dance Mob) – yearly, my school invited and encouraged the student body (from preschool to college) and the faculty / administration to dance. This activity was done to promote women rights; I believe this had been covered by various local newspapers and international ones.
Both events I participated in wholeheartedly, and my four years in college taught me the true meaning behind feminism. It’s not about being the stronger gender or being too independent, but rather, fighting for equality and to abandon the traditional gender roles. Promote that what men can do, women are just as capable and vice-versa.
Men belong to the kitchen as much as women; women has a place in politics as much as men.
The first ever feminist book I’ve ever read was V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram; and in all honesty, if I am to do a comparison, I say I love Kelly Oram’s duology so much more than Moxie. I enjoyed Moxie, it was definitely feministic and it made me realize a lot more, but it lacked on the angst in my opinion.
Another claimed “feminist” YA novel is Shut Out. It’s not nearly as good as Moxie or V is for Virgin – it was actually a misrepresentation of what it means to be a feminist. Shut Out focuses heavily on how a lot of men are only after sex, and that one of the means to control them is to withhold or deny them of it [despite being in a relationship]. To me that book wants more of women’s control or edge over men; first of it’s not fair to hold a human nature over someone’s head to gain control, and second, that’s not at all feminism.
Moxie, on the other hand, was just about the right mix and start-up to call upon the spark on women to fight when they are in the minority or given unfair treatment.
• I love ALL issues of Moxie! They were so cute and nostalgic, and revolutionary.
• I love the idea that Moxie wasn’t spearheaded by anyone (I honestly thought this would tackle the idea of being nice girl to being bossy). Not having a leader made everything more personal and relatable; the best description for it is one that’s found in the book: Moxie doesn’t belong to just one person. It belongs to every girl who wants to be a part of it.
• It balanced on friendships (sisterhood), family relationships and personal relationships.
• It was feministic because the girls weren’t man-hating, they understood that there are existing guys who don’t act like douches.
• The minority group of guys who have respect for women were represented through Seth, and it’s a good inclusion in a book that claims to be focused on feminism – again, feminism is about equality.
• It was good and clear what the girls of the East Rockport High School were fighting for. The initiatives and the campaigns were simple, yet they were very relatable and valid.
• It didn’t go overboard on showcasing their stand against the school’s rules, just enough to be noticeable and to call out that the girls will no longer turn a blind-eye on the misogynistic traditions within ERHS.
• The acts of sexual harassment brought up in certain scenes of this book were taken lightly. I understood that it was trying to highlight the lack of fairness within the school system [of a sexist school] but I wasn’t a fan of how the issues were handled in the book. To me, it seemed like they were just dismissed and used as a point of unity for all these girls to fight back.
Honestly, I related to Moxie in such a personal level. Viv and I have a lot in common, we’re both raised by single parents (who, at some point, questioned the new partner of her hardworking and loving mother) – though my mom wasn’t nearly as cool and hip as Viv’s. I’ve had too many encounters with boys whose thoughts swirl into lust and hormones almost 24/7; but eventually, I landed to a sweet simple man, with an ambition and instilled respect to women (or any person for that matter).
Reading this book brought back memories, and looking back to my college days, I wish I could’ve done more. I wish I had enough courage to start a movement as important and direct as Moxie. There are still a lot of misogyny in this world, and I never believe that it will really be gone but I am hoping that in the future, someone will be as brave as Viv and all the girls of ERHS to stand and fight back. I don’t believe that the view in terms of gender and equality will ever be fully different from how it’s been all these centuries, but at least it gives a chance for both men and women to be more open and accepting.
It’s not the best YA feminist book written, but it’s definitely something. It will ignite your inner girl power, and soon after reading, you’ll be strutting down your own high school hallway with your sisters for life! Unleash the Moxie living within you!
Photos are not mine, except for the speech bubbles which separates the ones I loved and disliked about the book. I will be using them from now on, but the feminist stickers are all from Google. Apologies for the pixelated ones, I am currently blogging on my phone.
So any thoughts on the new blog format?
Also, I am one of the hosts for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, for the PH Blog Tour, the book came out this October 10th! It’s my first time to be a host, I’m both nervous and excited. Hopefully, this will be the start of many.
Question of the day: Have you read Moxie? What is your stand regarding feminism?
Last reminders, Flamingos, please do follow my bookstagram! I’ve recently poured efforts and transformed my account officially into a bookstagram. Give it some love? @reeyuhbeegale
Abi, the Flamingo.