Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen

Bad Girls

Hardcover, 216 pages
Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Chronicle Books
Source: Publisher

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen is as the title suggests: a (by no means exhaustive) collection of women who lived life fully and along the way changed the world or at least how the world thought about some things. Some of them did so intentionally but for others changing things (or the world) was a happy coincidence.

The author cautions in her note that the little biographies accompanying the illustrations of these women are by no means all the scholarship that exists about them and is intended as a springboard for more research by interested parties. I found the collection to be interesting and illustrative of the different kinds of strong women but I wish that the author had focused her research globally rather than in the West because apart from one or two (or maybe more but not a lot) women from Asia, the majority of these “bad girls” are either from North America or Europe. I wish there had been more women featured from other parts of the world. Another gripe (this may be personal, I admit to it freely) I have is that the book features Tina Fey but fails to feature Beyonce (I mean, really?) or Michelle Obama both of whom are (in my not so humble opinion) badder girls (in the context of the way this word is used in the book) than Fey.

Also, this may just be the style but Yash noticed it first and got me thinking too, some of the illustrations give white skin to WOC. As I said, this just may be the style but the choice did make me pause and think.

Overall, I appreciate this collection and I appreciate that it exists. However, I wished for more diversity in the collection and hope that this is not definitive but just a beginning for more volumes featuring more women who have long been footnotes in history but who deserve entire volumes of their own.

That said and done, I do think this will make a wonderful gift for everyone as a reminder of what women are capable of. Perhaps this can also lead you to create your own list of bad girls, some of whom this volume has perhaps missed.


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