“Did some of us get a limited edition handbook that others didn’t get? You know the one that gives instructions on how not to suck?”
That is the question Luvvie Ajayi tweeted on August 4, 2014 after discovering that a “journalist” had plagiarized her work. It is the same question she asks in the introduction of her new book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual.
We all have plenty of ideas about things we could do or should do every single day. Most of the time, we forget about them and move on with our lives. Ajayi, on the other hand, decided that she would be the one to bring that limited edition handbook to the masses.
I have been reading Ajayi’s hugely popular and widely-respected pop culture blog, Awesomely Luvvie, for years. I began my own blogging career in 2007 with a feminist and social justice website called Menstrual Poetry before eventually shifting my focus over here to Woman Tribune full-time. It was when I was a part of that niche that I first discovered Awesomely Luvvie. It has remained one of about a handful of blogs that I largely credit with keeping me entertained and enlightened.
I’m Judging You is a series of humorous essays that dissects our cultural obsessions and calls out bad behavior in our increasingly digitally connected lives. Contrary to what the title of the book suggests, Ajayi isn’t casting her judgments on us without taking a long look in the mirror first. The first chapter of the first section of the book is a lengthy admission of perpetual lateness. When she proclaims that we are the worst, she is totally including herself. And she has suggestions for how we can all collectively do better.
This book is full of laugh out loud gems (“Behind every ain’t-good-for-nothing man are bedroom skills beyond measure.”) But there is also a time for serious conversations, and those take place in the Culture section.
Folks, this is the book we need. It is the book we deserve. Every side-eye and dose of shade — we had it coming. Every bit of it.
We are still having conversations about what an unarmed black person did to get themselves shot and killed. We are still asking what a woman was wearing to get herself raped. We are still arguing about whether two people who love each other should be allowed to get married or raise children. We are still explaining why street harassment isn’t flattering (“Girls are being sexualized by random toads and goats on the streets and told to smile about it.”) We are still legislating women’s bodies.
We can all do better. We should do better. We need to do better. We need to do the hard work and have the uncomfortable conversations. We need to be able to admit the harsh truths about ourselves and know when to laugh about it. We will be better off for it, and maybe we might even leave this world in better shape than how we found it.
When we know better, we do better, and Luvvie Ajayi is side-eyeing us until we do.
Buy ‘I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual’
I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual is available now everywhere books are sold.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.