Book Review | The Vagenda by Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett


Title: The Vagenda: A Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media

Authors: Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Genre: Non-Fiction, Feminism

We’ll buy more things if we are kept in the ‘self-hating, ever-failing, hungry, and sexually insecure state of being aspiring “beauties”‘

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From the creators of The Vagenda website, Holly and Rhiannon talk about the way the media treats women and the side effects of those negative attitudes.


Starting with the positives, I think there were a lot of issues raised that I have noted myself over the years.  It is obvious just by picking up a women’s magazine that they are promoting a certain sort of woman, one that not everyone can or even wants to aspire to.  Men’s magazines are doing it too – women are more often than not talked about because of how they look and not because of what they have to say.  The authors back up their arguments with personal examples, and from stories sent to them through the years of running The Vagenda blog.  Some of the stories in the book are uncomfortable to read, and I can vouch for them as I have experienced them myself or know someone who has experienced similar situations.

Nevertheless, Holly and Rhiannon use a very sarcastic tone, which although funny, does take away some of the professionalism of the serious topics they are discussing.  However, upon exploring their website, I can see that this style is synonymous with them, and is just the approach they have taken to get their views and information across.  There is no doubt that they are passionate about women’s rights, and I was pleased that through the course of the book they set a few things straight about feminism following negative perceptions of the word.

Before reading the book, I recommend browsing the website’s articles.  I found the experience was better as then I could pick and choose what interested me.  As someone who doesn’t read all that many magazines, I might have been interested to see how films and the Internet portray women in greater detail, but for what it is worth, I enjoyed the read, and found most (though not all) of what they talked about relatable.  One thing is for sure: if you read this book, you will never look at a women’s magazine in the same way again.

Star Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)


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