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Editorial Reviews

“This is an important book... Walter has started a discussion that needs to take place not just between women, but between all of us,” Sarah Vine, The Times

Publisher's Summary

Listen to the Guardian’s review of Living Dolls in the Guardian Audio Edition podcast, 7th January 2013

"I once believed that we only had to put in place the conditions for equality for the remnants of old-fashioned sexism in our culture to wither away. I am ready to admit that I was wrong."

Empowerment, liberation, choice. Once the watchwords of feminism, these terms have now been co-opted by a society that sells women an airbrushed, highly sexualised and increasingly narrow vision of femininity. Drawing on a wealth of research and personal interviews, Living Dolls is a straight-talking, passionate, and important book that makes us look afresh at women and girls, at sexism and femininity - today.

Natasha Walter was born in London in 1967. She read English at St John's College, Cambridge University, and then went to Harvard as a graduate student on a Frank Knox Fellowship. Her first job was at Vogue magazine, she subsequently worked as a reviewer, columnist and feature writer at the Independent, the Observer and the Guardian and became a regular broadcaster particularly on BBC2's Newsnight Review and BBC Radio 4's Front Row.She is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and children who seek asylum in the UK , and in 2006 she founded the charity Women for Refugee Women.

©2012 Natasha Walter (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What listeners say about Living Dolls

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  • Yuefang
  • 14-05-2014

Greatly Empowering Book!!!!

If you're a woman, you need this book. I'm much aware there's misconception growing about what beauty should be. Shamely most of the concepts are installed by advertisements or movies or any kind of digital ntertainment in 21 century. I long this kind of book so I could have reliable source when I come to discussion with my daughter.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-04-2021

Well thought out and researched

the interviews, mixed with data make foe a very compelling 'read' (listen). I learned sooo much from this.

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  • jangofettt777
  • 24-02-2021

Wonderful, insightful, and well-told

Great composition on many modern issues of real feminism, and it effectively points out the many misconceptions of feminism that men and women hold. It highlights a lot of the age-old negative stereotypes that women and "feminist" women not only believe but actually perpetuate (such as being empowered by pole dancing) - and astoundingly explains their origins and harmful impact on both men and women today. Fantastic, full of sources and scientific studies, and well-written. A must read for any true feminist.

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  • Laura8
  • 21-06-2016

Narrator does nothing for the image of feminism

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes as it is a very important perspective in the fight for equality

What did you like best about this story?

That towards the end there was a particukar focus on the negative impact of gender stereotypes on men as well as women.

What didn’t you like about Anna Bentinck’s performance?

Narrator sounds haughty and puts on 'silly, girly' voices for the women in the book who are glamour girls, strippers, or just not helping themselves in the case for true freedom. A bit disrepectful I felt although possibly accurate.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Probably not.

Any additional comments?

A male narrator would have been brilliant. Brilliant evidence presented but part of me wonders if it isn't twisted a bit just like those she is criticising - 'we find what we expect'.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-04-2021

wow , 1 star is too much for this one.

I am still shocked. Books and authors like that give feminists a bad rep. If you are a feminist do yourself and favour and don't buy this one - no one warned me. Summary: She spent the entire book slutshaming women in every way possible , well that's about it. The narrator was super annoying - that was fitting for this book I guess. I listened to it in double speed so that I wouldn't have to suffer through it for longer than I had to. Every minute of it made me so angry and I m sure if this was a paperback I would have chucked it in the bin about 20pgs in.

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  • Diane
  • 11-04-2015

This book made me squeal with excitement!

If ever I could write a book of my thoughts and have them read out beautifully, it would be this. I now feel excited and optimistic and not alone about the future of feminism. Brilliant!

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  • Nicholas Corkhill
  • 15-05-2018

A bit preachy / boring.

Walter’s main thesis is that sexism is a self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotypical gender roles, with all the associated inequality, stem from learnt and reinforced behaviour. She spends most of the book labouring that point from various angles whilst criticising those who favour a more fatalistic or genetic reasoning for gender roles and behaviours. The comes across as a sob story and lacks enough attack to get the revolutionary juices flowing. Dull.

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  • Rooberry
  • 16-06-2018

What’s with the accents?

I got 40 minutes in and could listen no longer!
I’m sure that the content of the book has an intelligent argument but why, when the narrator was quoting women in shorts/small tops, was she putting on a girly/cockney voice.
When she was quoting other authors or ‘herself’ (though not read by the author), she was using an intelligent and authorities tone.

Offensive and belittling!

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