Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently

I just finished Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently by Emer O’Toole. I listened to it on audiobook and it was narrated by Emer O’Toole

The Book
This is a non-fiction book about gender and gender roles and how we look at gender and how gender forms us and shapes us. It’s a look at make-up and hair, and how we dress, how we use make-up and how we are forced into gender roles.

It’s so interesting. It’s so good.

I listened to this on audiobook, which was also a lot of fun. I really liked the narrator. The narrator is also Emer O’Toole. I thought it was someone else, I don’t know why. It was very nice to have her read it, the book is very personal at points, and written from first person perspective, so it’s good to have the author read it. Also she has a lovely Irish accent, so that’s nice.

I liked that it’s a bit more intersectional than some other feminist works I’ve read. She’s Irish, and obviously a white woman, but she acknowledges the different struggles women of colour face and she has researched that as well, which is good. Emer O’Toole also identifies as queer, so she has a different perspective than a straight woman would have. She has done quite a lot of research on trans issues. I realize that since she’s cis and white she can only have a limited insight into trans issues and issues that affect people of colour. She still seems like she is more balanced and less white-, and cis-centric than other feminist books I’ve read.

I really liked hearing about gender roles and how we live in gender roles and how we force ourselves to conform, both men and women. And how harmful it is for both men and women to force themselves into a gender role they don’t really fit into, and how much work it can be.

It was interesting to see how O’Toole, growing up in Ireland, worked hard to fit in with the traditionally minded men and women there, and sort of denounced feminism to be cool. I think it’s quite a common thing to do as young women to seem cool, because we want to fit into this feminine, sweet, non-confrontational role. And then she gets older, moves away from Ireland, and discovers what feminism really is and she sort of comes into her own with feminism. Which I think was fascinating.


I don’t have too much to say about this book actually. I just really liked it, and found it really interesting, and you should definitely pick it up. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty dang good, and it made me think a lot. Emer O’Toole is a badass.