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Home   /   Book Review: New Female Tribes by Rachel Pashley

Feminism is something that is becoming more and more popular. Females are becoming increasingly empowered, and this is something that is taking the world by storm. From the #MeToo movement, to countless #BodyPosi advocates, the upskirting bill and so much more – feminism is ensuring that the world is a more female friendly world, a more equal world, and a world in which everybody feels comfortable and able to express themselves freely, free from objectification, judgement, sexualisation and restrictions.

In July, Rachel Pashley released the novel New Female Tribes – a book that explores and investigates how women see themselves, and how other people see women. This book is a triumph in explaining women and the four new female tribes operate and break boundaries within modern society.

Rachel Pashley is the head strategist at the world famous marketing agency J. Walter Thompson. She became incredibly frustrated with the way her clients referred to their female audience as ‘busy working mums’ while the male audiences were portrayed as goal-driven, and highly motivated. Rachel wanted to change the stereo-types and encourage women to dream book, so her company J. Walter Thompson endorsed the idea, and the New Female Tribes was born…

According Rachel Pashley and her book New Female Tribes, there are four key female tribes: Alphas (who focus on careers and achievements), Hedonists (who are focused on self-development and pleasure), Traditionalists (who are focused on the home and children), and Altruists (those who are focused on the community and environment).

New Female Tribes is based upon a global survey in which Rachel carried out. The survey took place over five years, with 8,000 women (aged seventeen to seventy), and across 19 countries. Because of the vast scale of this survey, the findings are accurate, and in turn incredibly informative.

Within the novel, Rachel investigates how women are evolving, changing, and gaining a mind of their own. Marriage is no longer the ultimate goal for many women (which it was when my nan and grandad were growing up) – doing and achieving is a lot higher up on their lists. Many women in this day and age are goal driven, something that wouldn’t be heard of many years ago – whereas now, it is practically mainstream. You see it everywhere – women achieving, women dreaming, and women being their own bosses. Instagram is flooded with #girlboss and #hustle, and thousands upon thousands of women and girls who are turning their dreams into their very own realities.

This novel is extremely eye-opening and very addictive too. I found myself constantly wanting to read on, and constantly wanting to discover more about my ‘tribe’ and about the female race in general, if you will.

New Female Tribes looks at the way in which women have been portrayed in the media, advertising, and popular culture. It even talks about the ‘female gaze’. Most of us will be familiar with the ‘male gaze’, but Rachel introduces us to the ‘female gaze’, a gaze in which females can now get pleasure from the men in the media, rather than the other way around. For years, women have been objectified in both mainstream media, as well as porn, but the ‘female gaze’ now shatters this ‘tradition’.

Rachel also touches upon how you could once determine a woman’s stage in her life, depending on her age. Rachel writes that years ago it would go a little something like this: “twenties – single and working; thirties – married working mum; forties – stay-at-home-mum; fifties – retired grandmother.”

And the above is somewhat true – many years ago, this would have been a very accurate way in which to determine somebody’s job, relationship, and life status. But in today’s modern world, the above dated structure just doesn’t fit… at all.

In today’s day and age, women of any age can be the CEO of a company – twenty-two or fifty-eight, the sky really is the limit for women living in today’s world.

Rachel Pashley’s novel, New Female Tribes is an insightful and highly eye-opening read. Feeding you new facts, stats and, old traditions from times passed – this book shatters the glass ceiling and gives women the positive kick up the backside to do what they want and achieve all they can, while informing brands to take away new ways of representing women in their media campaigns.

If you want to learn more about how women perceive themselves, and if you want to see how the rest of the world perceives women – this book is everything you need. New Female Tribes retails at £20 (hardback), and is available from Penguin.

Read more from Mollie, here.

Sub-edited by Callum Raines

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June 2024