The Ideal Woman


Source: Balzer + Bray

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno (Hardcover, 304 pages)

Lauren Swenson

     Recently, there have been talks about constraints and rules a woman should put upon herself in today’s generation. With regards to that generalization, feminism has become a great deal with literary movements. Recently a book was published in 2020 revolving around the idea of feminism which is Rules for Being a Girl. The authors, Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno had written this hardcover book and it’s considered to be a short, sharp feminist novel. This book is not well written in the context that it’s supposed to be a “sharp feminist” novel, so suggesting this book to someone is out of mind and not recommended.

     Marin is a high school student who strives academically and is a co-editor for her school’s newspaper with Chole, her best friend. Everyone is astonished by Marin’s good grades and her journalism even Mr. Beckett or Bex, her English teacher. It all started when Mr. Bex tried to kiss her and that’s when dialogue takes action. Marin had gone to the school board about the incident and they stated, “Ultimately, the disciplinary committee found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, so he’ll be returning to his classes for the remainder of the year” (Page 176). With that, Marin was ready to speak up and work and that’s when she wrote a school newspaper titled, ‘Rules for Being a Girl’. It also comes into the extent of using the movement of Pragmatic Idealism. Marin is having to work hard for the school board to notice and hear her.

     Marin soon becomes acknowledged by everyone around her and decides to create a feminist book club. With help from another teacher, Marin genuinely started to feel safe and connected. During her meetings with the book club, they reference other types of feminist authors and read their books. Through the idea of references, Marin reimagined, as she uses her new thoughts to help her situation and interpret them. Marin feels genuinely connected with these like-minded people and she starts to feel sensitivity. Marin begins to feel emotional as she starts to believe that Bex is being anti-feminist and racist. During a time in class, Marin says, “Shouldn’t there be some female authors on this list? Or authors who aren’t white?” Bex looks surprised for a moment; he glances down at the list like possibly he hadn’t noticed the omission” (Page 92-93). Marin begins to feel confident in herself for standing up to things since that day. Marin begins to see herself, she starts to understand the world at hand through feminism in her context.

     The tone of the book is very indignant and reflective, as the following plot shows injustice towards Marin’s case. The book has a very neutral tone, with very insufficient imagery. With the imagery being very little, it makes for the plot to be very dense and straight forward. It also makes for the readers to have very little detail on Marin and what she looks like. Marin’s character is very developed throughout the story but it lacks specific context about herself individually. Throughout the story, the author’s use of language is very simple, as this is considered a teen book. The book syntax is very short with quite a bit of dialogue. The authors try to put in as much dialogue as they do inner thoughts that are presented. The style of this text is ordinary, with very little knowledge.

     Overall, the heart of the following book lacks the actuality of supporting feminism. A reader should feel powerful when reading a certain book like this, but the plotline of how the character got to be a feminist doesn’t add up easily. The authors should’ve put in more detail into the actuality of the topic feminism and the power a woman should have. These authors are focused on today’s generation, as they interpret the literary movement, The New Sincerity into their book. Their book is very straight forward to the message but it lacks greater detail. The author’s ways of acknowledging the literary movement are sincerely accurate throughout the book. Although the way the authors try to interpret the idea of feminism is inaccurate in the context of the plot. This book needs to focus on acknowledging feminism and interpret the literary movement along with it. That stated I don’t recommend this book as a good read.