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‘Collapse Feminism’: Your next powerful feminist read

Searching for for your next bit of feminist reading? Still looking for a fab holiday gift for the feminist in your life? We’ve got the perfect thing for you.

Alice Cappelle’s Collapse Feminism: The Online Battle for Feminism’s Future is a great way to expand your feminist reading list or even to get started if this is something new for you.

If the name Alice Cappelle is a new one to you, let us catch you up to speed.

In just three years, she’s grown her YouTube channel by creating over 80 video essays and has amassed 327,000 subscribers. Cappelle introduces herself on her YouTube channel saying, ‘Bonjour! I’m a French girl doing video essays on topics I enjoy’ which is clear from a sweeping glance across her channel, with passionate video essays on things she loves. If you’re looking for content about anything to do with women (hey, us too), she’s got you covered. Female rage, desirability, and women’s sports are all things she covers in depth, with videos almost twenty minutes long.

Her passion has also effectively translated into her debut book, Collapse Feminism, as her knowledge and interest about online feminism, but feminism as a wider concept, is palpable.

Collapse Feminism book front cover, Repeater Books

Collapsing feminism? Have we got that right?

Collapse Feminism is a call-to-arms and an attempt to reverse the usual doom and gloom that surrounds conversations around feminism. We are so here for it?! Focusing on how backlash against women is orchestrated online, Cappelle takes her readers on a journey and honestly we feel changed (for the better) after reading it.

As she discusses both in her book and online, feminism goes a lot further than striving for equal rights. By analysing the class system, political stances, and heterosexuality (you knew it was coming), Cappelle comes to several conclusions about what we can do, and what society could be doing, to preserve feminism’s future- as well as our own.

She structures the book into two clear parts with several subsections within, delving deeper and providing even further analysis. Starting with ‘Part 1: The Ideal Woman’, Cappelle covers the rise and fall of the girlboss and what could be an alternative to girlboss culture. She then moves into a somewhat difficult conversation around ‘traditional femininity’, how this is manifesting online, and what this means for ‘choice feminism’. Comparing Patrick Bateman to that girl (you know the one), Cappelle laces her arguments with sarcasm and light humour, so you may find yourself exhaling out of your nose at surprising times.

‘Choice is not an end in itself’

Part 2 moves on to the sexual revolution and whether it has failed or not. From a chapter on ‘pussy power’ to discussing purity culture, part 2 asks a larger question as to whether or not society is willing to change its ways.

With countless famous faces at the heart of this conversation, Cappelle makes this book accessible for so many, particularly those who maybe wouldn’t have picked up feminist literature before. Although she covers a range of factors that play into the future of feminism, Collapse Feminism never comes across as overwhelming, instead making readers aware of how many aspects come into play when discussing women’s rights and the patriarchy. For example, when discussing that girl, she writes that the concept of the girlboss and that girl ‘is not just about work and capitalism; it is also about gender and patriarchy’. She continually references how it’s easy for conversations about feminism to forget how various intersections overlap, but this is essential to the future of feminism- especially when the internet can act as an echo chamber, trapping people in their tiny corners and restricting their view of the larger issue at hand.

Grounded in internet culture, Cappelle allows readers to relate to current internet culture. Although this is clear from the cover and blurb of the book, you’ll still find yourself thinking, ‘oh I know that creator’, or ‘I saw that exact trend’, for better or worse.

‘There is no matriarchy and no plans to create one’

Some sections of her book even act as extensions to videos on her channel, such as her videos ‘we created ‘that girl” and ‘Alternative self help is brainwashing you’ informing much of a segment in part 1, aptly named ‘That Girl and Alternative Self-Help’. If you’re a fan of her YouTube channel, you’ll love her book so make sure you get your hands on a copy.

On her Instagram, she writes that she ‘did [her] best to write something that is technical but accessible, educational but also political’ and we think she’s done exactly that. Grab yourself a copy if you don’t believe us (we’re right though x).

Collapse Feminism: The Online Battle for Feminism’s Future is available now in the UK and US wherever you buy books (and we recommend you do!) If you’re after more book recs, check out our list of books for queer women here!

Team Nonchalant x

Robyn Hill
Robyn Hill

Robyn is a nerd currently studying Creative Writing in Bournemouth and figuring out ways to always bring cats into conversations. She can usually be found stuffing too many books into a fraying tote bag and asking for alternative milk in her hot chocolates.

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