How Holly Bourne Taught Me About Active Feminism: The Spinster Club

Feminism is something that, hopefully, people are taught from being children – what it is (the absolute equality of the sexes), how it affects society, and how to spot when someone isn’t respecting your right to equality as a woman. While this might not have been the case for many of us growing up, it’s expected that nowadays most people have a basic understanding of Feminism and why every person should support it.

Despite this knowledge, the lack of active discussion and teaching in schools and often at home, leaves many people, myself included, aware yet inactive. Able to identify inequality, but unsure how to take action. If I come across anyone else, teen or adult that doesn’t understand how they can incorporate awareness of and actions based on Feminism in their lives, I will be pointing them towards Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series.

The books deal with many other issues, from mental health to family and relationship tensions, but Feminism is at the core of the story wherever the three main characters (Amber, Evie & Lottie) go.

Though each book focuses on another member of The Spinster Club, they learn together as a team about Feminism and what it means to them. They hold meetings where they make sure they stick to the Bechdel Test (where a film/book must have at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man), judge films on this same principle, talk about important Feminist issues and help each other to grow as young women in all aspects of life.

All great, amazing stuff that I’d love to see more people doing! (Which is happening – people are actually forming their own Spinster Clubs and it’s brilliant.) What’s more though is that throughout the books they also take action whenever someone isn’t respecting their rights to equality, all culminating in a spectacular feat of active feminism in the Lottie focused ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’

This is what is so important. The girls in these books call people out when they say something that makes their inner feminist uncomfortable, make a conscious effort to be better feminists to each other, and in Lottie’s case go out of their way to point out sexism and inequality to the masses whenever they can even if this means sounding off a horn every time it happens. They’re all actions rather than thoughts or conversations happening with friends after the fact. It embeds the idea in people’s minds that if anyone behaves in a sexist way towards you, you don’t have to shut up and put up you can deal with it right then and there.

Okay, so I won’t be carrying a horn around with me, but I can take serious inspiration from these girls that Holly Bourne has created. I can point out inequality to someone, rather than seething inside but not saying anything. It’s a simple thing to do, but can go such a long way to raising awareness that Feminism is essential and inequality is everywhere. Even if the person you’ve pointed it out to is a bit of an Ignorant, someone else might overhear you and start questioning inequality of the sexes whenever they see it too!

I could have written a straightforward book review of the series so far, but Holly’s books are so fantastic that the YA community doesn’t need me to tell them that. The Spinster Club books weren’t just a great read, they affected me personally and I think it’s really important that we take note of that when we think about books. They aren’t just there for entertainment, especially YA books, they’re there to expand and shape minds, young and old, for the better.


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