'Shrill' author to talk about memoir on body shaming, gender inequality


September 22, 2017

Author, performer and feminist Lindy West will speak about her memoir, "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman," in a free public appearance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in SUNY Oswego's Sheldon Hall ballroom.

"Shrill," the 2017 Oswego Reading Initiative selection at the college, visits issues of gender inequality, body shaming and Internet harassment, striving to inject humor. Against a background of personal experience, West deals with how to survive and stay positive in a world where equality is given to a select number based on gender and body image.

A 2016 New York Times bestseller and an NPR and Esquire choice among best books of the year, "Shrill" also was among selections for best memoir/autobiography by Goodreads Choice.

"Lindy West's memoir is a witty and cathartic take on toxic misogyny and fat shaming," NPR reviewer Anna Quinn wrote. "She comes to accept her body just as Internet trolls congregate en masse to try to rip this new confidence from her, but she's rearing to fight back."

Each year, the ORI Committee chooses a book intended to help first-year students transition from high school to college. Rameen Mohammadi, committee chair and SUNY Oswego associate provost, urged that "Shrill's" relevance to the current state of social relations in the United States played an important role in choosing the memoir as this year's ORI book.

"I think the committee felt given the circumstances around the country about (civil) discourse and the way people are talking to each other, a number of books resonated well with the committee and this was definitely one of those books,” he said. 

Relating to the age of social media, Mohammadi expressed his concern that individuals are losing the sense of how to communicate respectfully with each other, and that West's memoir can help shed light on and encourage tough conversations that need to take place to educate individuals on how to communicate civilly.

"The book provides a vehicle to talk about something intellectual,” Mohammadi said.

West works as a columnist at The Guardian and is a freelance writer who covers feminism, social justice, humor and body image. West's work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, The Stranger and many others. She also founded an advice blog for teens, "I Believe You, It's Not Your Fault."

Copies of "Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman" will be sold and signed at the presentation.

West also will appear at 3 p.m. that day in Marano Campus Center auditorium for SUNY Oswego's Living Writers Series.

Her talk is part of a wide range of programs in SUNY Oswego's "Many Voices, One Oswego: Diversity and Inclusion Through the Arts," an initiative supported by an Explorations in Diversity and Academic Excellence Grant from the SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Those without a current SUNY Oswego parking sticker should visit oswego.edu/parking for information on how to obtain a one-day parking permit. 

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Fighting back -- Author Lindy West, who uses humor and her writing skills to skewer body-shamers, misogynists and Internet trolls, will talk about her memoir, "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in SUNY Oswego's Sheldon Hall ballroom in the 2017 presentation for the Oswego Reading Initiative.