Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

Anne Helen Petersen

With its brisk and engaging analysis, and its appealing topic, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today.

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“Petersen's gloriously bumptious, brash ode to non-conforming women suits the needs of this dark moment. Her careful examination of how we eviscerate the women who confound or threaten is crucial reading if we are ever to be better.” —Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of All the Single Ladies

From celebrity gossip expert and BuzzFeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessible, analytical look at how female celebrities are pushing boundaries of what it means to be an “acceptable” woman. 
 
You know the type: the woman who won’t shut up, who’s too brazen, too opinionated—too much. She’s the unruly woman, and she embodies one of the most provocative and powerful forms of womanhood today. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of “unruliness” to explore the ascension of pop culture powerhouses like Lena Dunham, Nicki Minaj, and Kim Kardashian, exploring why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today.

“Must Read List” – Entertainment Weekly
Named one of Cosmopolitan’s “Books You Won't Be Able to Put Down This Summer” 
Selected one of Amazon's “Best Books of the Month”
A Refinery 29 Editor's Pick


Advance Galley Reviews

*I received this early electronic review copy from Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an an honest review.* I liked that this book was a way to look at a handful of famous women in a different way. A lot of good points were brought up about Nicki Minaj, Hilary Clinton, and Kim Kardashian that I had not considered before. The only downside of the book is that if you are not too up on pop culture, some of the referenced women may be lost on you. I was lucky to be familiar with all the women in the book aside from the “too gross” women. If you weren’t familiar with the women mentioned, then the book might make you want to look them up. A solid book about modern women who are, “too much.”

While I couldn't pinpoint any specific problems with this book, I struggled to get into it and completely lost steam into the third essay. As always, thanks to First to Read, for access to this digital galley.

This book is so, so good. I highly recommend EVERYONE read it. After the election--and Mr. Trump's surprising win--I was beside myself. The outright misogyny of the election and the interim period running up to inauguration was shocking. Absolutely so. I've felt rattled ever since. Petersen's book speaks to those concerns, namely about how women brave enough to go against the grain end up censured. She looks through history to show how women have been policed by systems of power in compelling and interesting ways. Her writing is easy to read and insightful, and I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in feminism and the current political climate. Five stars!

one of the things that struck me most about the elections last november was the amount of misogyny out there. when hillary lost it felt like i'd been bathed in ice water and the shock of it made me see how far women still had to go in order to be truly equal. i'd always resisted the idea of labeling myself as a feminist. but the pride i felt in hillary's nomination, in voting for her, told me that there was no reason for me to be uncomfortable to identify as a feminist, even as i recognized that labeling myself as such would open me up to confronting sexist attitudes from sometimes surprising quarters. in too fat, too slutty, too loud: the rise and reign of the unruly woman anne helen petersen takes all the critiques society throws at women and analyzes them through the eye of celebrity. petersen has a particular interest in celebrity and the media and culture of celebrity and the role it plays in society and its norms, and this interest is perfectly suited to the topic at hand. from serena williams to kim kardashian to hillary clinton to madonna, these women both flout society's strictures while suffering through incredible scrutiny and blatant sexism. petersen may be working as a journalist now, but she is first and foremost an academic and at times her writing lapses into phrasing more suited to an academic paper than a nonfiction work on celebrity and feminism. there were certainly also moments where i was frustrated by the fact that it felt like she was simply reporting on sexist behavior without providing analysis and positing remedies that feel necessary. but ultimately the topic and the structure of the book really works, and even as petersen asks us to question our own judgments of the women spotlighted in her novel this is a very easy book to relate to. especially if you are a woman.

I received Ann Helen Petersen’s Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud as an ARC from Penguin. Petersen’s work with Buzzfeed and on Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style has been very engaging, so I was excited to read her book. I was not disappointed. Petersen’s book gives historical context to the women she profiles along with in-depth discussion about their “unruliness.” Petersen does not limit her analysis to one type of woman or genre, but discussions politics, sports, television, and books. The discussion on each topic is academic, but very easy to follow and accessible. I especially enjoyed the first chapter on Serena Williams. I do not follow tennis and knew very little about Williams, but the discussion was so engaging and the examples that the author used to discuss Williams being “too athletic” and “too black” spurred me to do my own research with a critical eye. Discussions on history and gender are not new to me but I learned quite a bit of context from this book and I would not hesitate to recommend this book or any of Petersen’s work.

I very much enjoyed this book. It is an honest look at the ongoing discrimination against women. It is particularly pertinent in this political climate.

Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud is an historical accounting of gender-based discrimination by not only men, but also women, against women and the effect such discrimination has had on everyday and famously unruly women. I appreciated the writing style and voice of the author, Buzzfeed's Anne Helen Peterson, who provided indepth analysis of the state of feminism today, as well as role models for tomorrow.

I enjoyed reading this one. I thought it would be totally different and was pleasantly surprised.

A look at how certain women in the public eye (mainly celebrities) have pushed beyond the typical behavior expected and praised of women and how that effected them as well as our culture. I recognized most of the women, though I didn't know about their history and accomplishments in depth. I appreciated that every example was explained (for example, a magazine cover was mentioned and rather than having to look it up to see what Petersen was talking about she described the image and the relevance of it,etc.). Each woman got what I'd call a mini biography and analysis on how she was unruly and what changed or could change because of her refusal to completely toe the line. While Petersen discusses the achievements of these women she also doesn't idealize them into females of perfection either. She brings up some of their faults and stumbles. She discusses how even though these are 'unruly' women there is still often a line that they have to toe in order to avoid being completely dismissed and how much ridicule they draw for challenging the status quo at all.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I felt like the author did a great job exploring why we're so fixated with the different women focused on in the book, but also why we're so quick to tear them down. I thought she drew excellent parallels to women who were lumped into the same categories as the other women mentioned in the book to give even more backstory to how long this has unfortunately been happening in society. It was an easy read that addressed an important topic.

This book is a comprehensive, well thought-out look at the variety of ways women are "boxed in" both historically and in our current culture, achieved through interesting profiles of a handful of interesting celebrities. I loved that Petersen broadened her focus to include intersectionality, privilege, class, historical context, and a few topics that aren't covered very often (at least yet) in the feminist literature canon: ageism, pregnancy, being "too gross." All of these added a fresh, unique take on a subject I read a lot about. If I have one criticism, it's that at times the book gets too "into the weeds" academically: at times it reads more like a school thesis than the "feminism explained through a pop-culture lens" book the title (and author's BuzzFeed credentials) leads us to believe it will be. I get the usefulness of adding the passages from historians, academics, critics and researchers; it needs to be balanced out a bit more with a punched-up tone.

For more, check out www.girlwithabookblog.com! Buzzfeed writer Anne Helen Petersen covers a range of “unruly” women, using celebrities to describe how society reacts now and has historically to different types of unruly women. In the author’s own words, the women in the book, "spark feelings of fascination and repulsion" and are "explicit and implicit alternatives to the 'new domesticity.'" (p 10). The entire collection felt like an extended long read and each section is broken into chapters that feature a specific celebrity and then culturally and historically situates their corresponding label. I was familiar with all of those profiled which probably helped me eagerly approach each of the essays. Because of how this felt like a series of long reads, I recommend reading each piece as a stand-alone and not concurrently. Set aside 20-30 mins to read a chapter and then come back to the book the next day to read the next standalone piece. Otherwise, it feels repetitive and the book as a whole becomes less shiny. For me, the standout is the piece on Kim Kardashian and her "performance of pregnancy" which discusses how publicly being pregnant has evolved since the beginning of pregnancy depictions (the Virgin Mary), to how pregnancy was omitted and banned from media enactments, to how Demi Moore's naked, 7-month pregnant body on a magazine cover completely changed the public performance. Petersen discusses the emergence of "cute pregnancies" with cute, slim bodies and compares and contrasts Kim Kardashian to Kate Middleton, who was cutely pregnant at the same time as Kim’s unruly pregnancy. Compared to the rest of the pieces, this chapter had the best integration of the history of celebrity than any of the other chapters. I found Petersen’s piece on Jennifer Weiner to be the most unlike anything I’ve read elsewhere and I found myself sending multiple quotes from the essay to a friend. The Weiner chapter had the most sociological influence, demonstrated by comparing mass market books to the “high” culture of books marketed to the “educated” classes. As someone who reads a lot, this was a very necessary reflection on what’s allowed to be a “good book.” Overall, I recommend this book – as long as you spread out consuming each of its chunks instead of devouring it in one sitting. I ranked the pieces in order of my perception of their quality below. I didn’t necessarily rank the pieces on the celebrities I liked the best as the highest (i.e. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are probably my favorites, but their chapter was my least favorite): 1. Kim Kardashian (Too Pregnant), 2. Serena Williams (Too Strong), 3. Jennifer Weiner (Too Loud), 4. Nicki Minaj (Too Slutty), 5. Hillary Clinton (Too Shrill), 6. Melissa McCarthy (Too Fat), 7. Caitlyn Jenner (Too Queer) (later in the chapter, Petersen categorizes her as probably least unruly, but counterparts on her show are), 8. Madonna (Too Old), 9. Lena Dunham (Too Naked), 10. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer (Too Gross)

As I have seen in other reviews, I became nervous about how I would enjoy the book when I realized that the author is a Buzzfeed author. As it turned out this fear was unfounded and, as was eloquently and thoroughly explored in the "Too Loud" section, my reaction only reflects on my own opinion of the meritocracy in publishing. This book was everything I thought it could be--a great break down of intersectional feminist issues as seen through celebrities and other well-known women--and even more. It's academic in scope and writing, but still remains accessible to any reader. What surprised me the most were that the chapters I didn't anticipate enjoying ("Too Loud," only because I wasn't familiar with the subject, and "Too Naked" for my own personal reasons of disliking Dunham) were the ones I enjoyed the most. As much as I felt engaged with the chapters that explored topics I was familiar with and people I already enjoyed (and so whose defense I could readily get behind), I enjoyed even more the chapters where I had to stretch my own understanding and thoughts, either because it required me learning something new or thinking of somebody in a way beyond my own preconceived notions. I'm thankful for this, because it proved that this book can be enjoyed both by the converted and those who need more convincing. Overall this was a great primer on where feminism and pop culture meet, well-written and thoroughly researched. I would highly recommend for anyone interested in the subject matter and for those who want to learn.

3/5 - Not entirely what I was expecting, but still quite an informative and enjoyable read. I wish the chapters would have had a bit more of a broader focus, instead of fixating on a specific female celebrity, but the book was well-researched and the author's points were well-made.

It took me a little while to get into Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I expected it to read like a Buzzfeed article since Anne Helen Petersen is a writer for Buzzfeed and the book announces this right on the front cover (of the ARC anyway). Once I got past that expectation I was able to enjoy it much more, so whether Buzzfeed is your thing or not, if you are into feminism and interested in exploring how celebrities affect the movement, you should give this book a try and forget that the writer also writes for Buzzfeed. It is clear that Petersen has done extensive research on each celebrity in the book and makes a good case about their impact on society as "unruly women". There are some people you'd expect to be in this book, Hillary Clinton (my favorite chapter: too shrill) and others who the audience, and even the celebrity themselves, may not necessarily think of as a feminist (Kim Kardashian: too pregnant) but nevertheless they have had an impact on how society and media views women through their "unruly" unapologetic ways. Some chapters were better than others, the ones that really kept me engaged and thinking were: Hillary Clinton-too shrill, Serena Williams-too strong, Nicky Minaj- too sexy. 4/5

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I found this book to be informative and thought-provoking. In each of the ten sections the author examines the potential reasons and impacts of the subject's unruliness or unwillingness to conform to societal norms. I do believe she was rather objective in her assessments of each of these women and point to both why we admire or hate them. At times I did feel like I was reading a book on feminism because the focus of most of the societal views was laid at the feet of the white male majority. I would have liked to have had included a section on cosmetic surgery as there was so much focus and discussion about body image in the book. Despite that missing piece, I found it an enlightening and enjoyable read.

I really enjoyed this collection of essays by Buzzfeed's Anne Helen Peterson about various "unruly" women and their place in society: their rise to fame despite their unruliness, their refusal to conform to gender norms, and "typical" femininity. I particularly enjoyed the essays about Caitlyn Jenner and Jennifer Weiner, Jenner because it brought a lot about trans people to my attention that I hadn't been aware of before, Weiner because sexism in the publishing world is something I care a lot about. A lot of these essays made me think about the celebrities highlighted in ways I hadn't before and I am grateful for the experience to have been able to learn more about them.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought she did a great job writing a thought provoking book that asked a lot of questions and brought to light a lot of issues that occur in media and with well-known people and celebrities. It was really great writing that drew you in and kept you reading throughout the entire book.

Overall, a thought-provoking book on how some women are deemed "unruly" in our current culture. I found it to be a quick read and I appreciated the questions it brought up about he male gaze and how women are really pushing boundaries rather than appearing too fat, too slutty, etc. I recommend this as a great choice for a book club or as good way to get insight on how the media is portraying various types of women. In the end, nobody can stop you but yourself,

This book is well written and gives an insight into why certain celebrities are perceived in a certain way. This collection of short stories is a must read for all. It just reminds me why we should not wear labels but always be inspired to be the best, be unique and be kind to everyone. I recommend this book to all.

A look at the societal demands placed on women, and those who are pushing the boundaries of what is generally considered "normal femininity". Using a collection of essay's showcasing various celebrities, who are "too" much of something, give a face to the very real societal repulsion of a woman being too fat, too old, too sexual or too outspoken, too in your face and strong. In each essay the rise, fame and sometimes decline of these woman is highlighted as well as how the public responds to them. The material is interesting and well presented, though I did find some of it dull and perhaps gossipy, I think it more to do with the nature of the topic as opposed to the writing style or presentation. There is a very fine line between commentary and rant. Especially, when the topics of sexism, racism and women's rights are concerned. The author manages to walk it and bring these topics out in an honest and thoughtful manner.

This is an interesting and well-written collection of essays about women in the public eye. Petersen takes a look at women who are considered 'extreme', and examines why society perceives them to be that way. The portraits are well-researched and consider many angles, and the author leads us to consider each situation from a feminist viewpoint. A great, quick read for those interested in celebrity and the way women are portrayed in and by the media.

I don't watch that much TV or follow sport so this book is a bit difficult to review. Overall it was well written and gave a brief synopsis about the woman featured in the chapter. I would say this book is best suited for those who follow popular culture and are more familiar with the people mentioned in the essays.

Overall, I thought this was a good collection of essays that will appeal to the younger crowd. Most of them captured the whole picture rather than just the point the author was trying to drive home. I was disappointed in the Kim Kardashian and Hilary Clinton essays though. I felt key points were missing. And even though it was only briefly discussed I thought it was weird to mention the "gross" headline about Madonna kissing Drake onstage but not mention the context. People were mad because Drake didn't know she was going to kiss him, not because of the age difference. I did enjoy the book though, and it brought up many good points.

The author may know a thing or too about pop culture and how celebrities are portrayed in the media. She is the culture writer at Buzzfeed, after all. In this book, she provides profiles of different celebrities and the way in which they are just too unruly, and how they have both embraced and eschewed their unruliness. Melissa McCarthy is too fat, Kim Kardashian is too pregnant, Madonna is too old, and so on. I think I expected this to be a little more gossipy but to be honest there are good feminist arguments about how these women are perceived and the backlash they receive for not conforming to society's ideal celebrity persona. I especially liked the essay on Nicki Minaj which condensed her responses to interviews and created a very compelling narrative. Some of these profiles are better than others and I felt at times she was reaching in order to prove her point but overall, this is a great addition to the growing genre of books about women's unruliness. I received this book from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

I don't know why I had the impression that this might be a funny book.....but there was nothing funny about it! It is a real good book tho...essays regarding the way women are held to a different/unfair standard ....in just about any aspect of life. The author uses famous celebrities to showcase examples, quite effectively, I might add! It's pretty easily readable, considering the serious nature of the subject. I did win this e-ARC in a Penguin First-To-Read Giveaway Program, simply in return for my own fair & honest review.

I really enjoyed this collection of essays. It's pretty similar to a lot of Petersen's work for BuzzFeed, so if you enjoy her essays about celebrity for them, you'll probably like this book. I don't know that it breaks any new ground, but it's a great, accessible book for people just starting to learn about modern celebrity and its intersection with feminism.

 


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