This was another audiobook I’ve listened to recently and having it read by Tara Moss herself gave it extra poignancy given the personal nature of much of this account of the treatment of women in today’s society. Moss recounts her childhood, the loss of her mother as a young teen and her very early entry into the world of modelling. Much of it was frightening. The young age these girls were/are and the sorts of photos they are expected to participate in, the products they are promoting just does not correlate. You know society has gone wrong when teenagers are used to sell anti-aging creams! While Moss herself chooses to (or is lucky enough to be able to) avoid the ultra skinny model look, she sees it first hand in those working with her. Girls so thin they start growing hair all over their bodies, girls with appalling teeth from throwing up all the time. There didn’t seem any appeal to the life style at all – not even the cash, as Moss describes the years she went making almost nothing.
But modelling was only a small part of Moss’s story. She is also a highly successful crime novelist. This success has not come easily. There have been many critics, some who accused her of not writing her own books – she ended up agreeing to a polygraph test to subdue these rumours. Who else has had to do that? There seems an assumption that beautiful women can’t also be smart – she proved that was not the case on her appearance on Q and A at the launch of this book. Many of her book reviews – written by women as often as men – make references to bodies, cosmetic surgery, or personal appearance despite it being A BOOK REVIEW!!
The second half of the book chronicles a range of issues facing women and where women are excluded or discriminated against. These included sexual violence, pregnancy, motherhood and breastfeeding and politics. I could relate to a lot of it and have found, since becoming a mother, that the world is not quite the even playing field I had experienced prior to having children. The statistics are often shameful. I particularly liked her discussion of why she calls herself a feminist – and not a humanist as other celebs have decided to go with. Her sentiments were echoed in this recent article from Tanya Plibersek. While there is a lot to worry about and a lot of work to do still in regards to sex equality, we have come a long way and there seems to be global attention now on the areas we need to work on, books like this included. Let’s hope it pays off.