‘Locally Made Panties’ Is The Feminist Book I Didn’t Know I Needed: BUST Review

by Nicole Guappone

The cover of Arielle Greenberg’s Locally Made Panties is delightfully audacious. It’s a photograph from 1975 of a woman with the Farrah Fawcett flip, reclining on a bed, legs spread. She wears a white tank and pulls her white panties up by the waist and against her vulva, giving us a peek at her pubic hair.

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Locally Made Panties is a collection of essays detailing Greenberg’s fraught relationship with her feminism and her obsession with clothes, body image, and consumerism. Essay titles like “New Bras,” “The Comfort of Buying Shoes,” and “Everyone is Dressed Their Best at the Conference” might make this book sound twee or (that dreaded word) “fluffy,” but it’s a collection that faces those contradictions by which many women, specifically feminists, are conflicted.

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Greenberg knows we struggle with these issues, with being called “bad feminists” for liking lipstick or wanting to be thinner. I applaud Greenberg for gifting us with this sassy, easily-digestible collection that actually ends up being an incisive look at those “frivolous” things such as make-up, fashion, and navy blue t-straps with a small heel. Locally Made Panties is the feminist book I didn’t know I needed until I read it. It’s the book that gives me permission to care about the more trivial things, even though, as Greenberg states, “there’s a fucking war on.”

Nicole Guappone is an MFA candidate in the nonfiction writing program at Columbia College Chicago. She is an assistant editor for Hotel Amerika and editorial assistant for The Review Review. She has been previously published on Femsplain and contributes interviews to The Rumpus. She also contributed to the anthology The View From Here: Stories About Chicago Neighborhoods. Nicole lives in Chicago with her partner and their cat. Her Twitter handle is @nicoleguappone

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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