Polly Vernon is one of those writers that we find entertaining on almost any subject. She is good at identifying cultural phenomena such as “Mrs One Up From House” i.e. those of us who always order the second most expensive wine in a pub and also fly on EasyJet, buy High Street cashmere and eat takeaway sushi. She also has a winning turn of phrase: we still treasure her description – for example – of Elle Macpherson’s tan as “a cartoonish boy-pleasing variation on gorgeous”.
Given this form, we have been waiting for Vernon to write a book for years and now Hot Feminist has finally arrived. It’s written in the same witty style as her journalism but has an important message about inclusivity at its core. Vernon has even written a chapter called Fear Of Getting It Wrong, citing all the examples of behaviour that might seem un-feminist but arguing that we should cut each other some slack on these issues. The whole book is written with a great deal of verve, humour and tolerance and also, an unexpected emphasis on kindness.
We don’t agree with everything Vernon says by any means (we do mind Page 3, for example and she doesn’t) but this is part of the point: she is suggesting that feminists don’t all need to agree on everything in order to create a movement together. Importantly, she also talks about her own experience of sexual assault, abusive relationships and abortion. We can’t help but feel it’s hugely inspiring to hear a woman as successful and frankly, self-actualised as Vernon discuss how these issues made her feel.