Lauren Windle’s Notes on Feminism is a strikingly bold collection of notes on a theme, in which the author names some of the unspoken realities which will be familiar to many Christian women. 

Windle doesn’t shy away from articulating unspoken stereotypes: “Many people feel that the ‘perfect Christian woman’ is slim, with a bouncy ponytail and bright eyes. You’ve already got a picture in your head, so I don’t have to colour it in for you. But very few people look like that. Even the women who seem to look like that often don’t when they’re just hanging out at home.” She also contends that the Church needs to teach more fully and honestly about sex, suggesting that: “most people only discuss the issue at church youth camp, when teenagers are told to keep it in their pants at all costs”.

Building on her previous book Notes on Love (SPCK), she critiques the absence of women leading churches in their own right: “We need to do more to make sure women don’t feel inferior if they aren’t attached to a man. The Church is, generally speaking, terrible at this.”

Each ‘note’ takes a different format, which makes for an innovative and enjoyable read. Anecdote sits alongside biblical exposition, nestled among cultural commentary, historical analysis and the odd poem. For those instinctively put off by feminism, the introduction (entitled “The F word”) helpfully defines terms and engages with popular critiques. 

The sections on sexual assault and oppressive structures may fill you with holy rage, while the parodies of Christian subculture will have you laughing out loud. Windle expertly illuminates the female experience while exuding a genuine respect for men, a thoughtful approach that is rarely seen in feminist authors and which makes this book appealing to both sexes. 

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