Suzy Freeman-Greene reviews 'Bitch Doctrine: Essays for dissenting adults' by Laurie Penny

Like Wonder Woman loping across a battlefield, arms raised, bracelets repelling bullets, Laurie Penny charges boldly into the culture wars. In Bitch Doctrine, we traverse trigger warnings, misogynistic trolls, sex work, commodity feminism, gender identity, transphobia, free speech, nerd entitlement, left-wing rape apologists, and toxic masculinity, exemplified by the rise of Donald Trump.

Naturally, ‘Orange Hitler’ gets some of Penny’s best lines. He is ‘a lacquered, lying sack of personality disorders’, and the 2016 US election campaign resembled ‘a wet dream that David Lynch might have had after falling asleep watching Fox News’. Wit is an essential part of the armour worn by Penny, a young, British, ‘genderqueer’ feminist. ‘Some of my best friends truly are straight, white men,’ she assures us late in this book. ‘Sometimes we do straight white men things together, like eating undercooked barbecue meat and scratching ourselves in front of Top Gear.’

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are already a subscriber, click here, or on the ‘Log In’ tab in the top right hand corner of the screen, and enter your username and password to log in. If you have logged in but are still seeing this message your subscription to ABR Online may have expired. Please contact us or click here to renew your subscription to ABR Online. More information about ABR Online can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in November 2017, no. 396

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.