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Stacey Dooley "On The Frontline With Women Who Fight Back"

. Monday, 26 February 2018 .
I have always been a big fan of Stacey Dooley and her work presenting documentaries for the BBC. So when I saw she was releasing her first book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I devoured the book as quick as I could and just had to share my thoughts on it. Particularly with International Women's Day approaching (8th March 2018), it seemed appropriate to be discussing a book that places the spotlight on incredible women in the most horrendous of circumstances.



"Some of the documentaries I've worked on have taken me to really high-risk places. I've been on police raids to bust paedophile gangs and visited seedy, backstreet brothels in gang-controlled slums. I should be used to shocking situations by now. But this is the first time I'm going to a war-zone - it doesn't get scarier than Iraq, especially if you're a woman."

I had no idea that Stacey's career with the BBC started rather accidentally. She saw a flyer over 10 years ago asking 'Do you like fashion? Do you like travel? Do you like shopping?' And as she ticked all three of those boxes she called the number on the flyer only to discover that the BBC were looking for young people to go out to India and explore the conditions under which the 'fast fashion' clothes they purchased were produced. This turned into the 2007 series 'Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts' which kickstarted Stacey's career with the BBC and has resulted in her becoming one of BBC3's most celebrated presenters.

The first thing I loved about the book was that it re-enforced the opinion I had developed of Stacey while watching her on screen - she's an ordinary, down to earth woman and despite having made a career out of being a video journalist, she doesn't come across as a journalist. By that I mean that her presence on screen is very human; she isn't just this shadow of a person narrating what is happening but gets truly immersed into the people and their story. I find it very hard to watch documentaries when the presenter is almost removed from the situation despite being sat there in front of people telling their stories. You can see on camera that Stacey truly cares for the people she interviews and this came across in her book too. She isn't afraid to show her emotions when appropriate, but doesn't let them stop her creating the hard-hitting documentaries she is known for. This also comes through her writing, as it is clear that she truly cares about the women by the language she uses to the describe them.

A testament to Stacey's own style of presenting was clear in the section of her book when she discussed her most recent trip to Iraq and meeting a Yazidi woman named Shareen. Stacey wrote about the experience of arranging to meet with a ISIS fighter convicted of his crimes and sentenced to life. She and Shareen were given the opportunity to interview him and ask him why he did the heinous things he did. Stacey gave Shareen every opportunity to change her mind if she decided she did not want to see the man. Despite the fact it made incredible, compelling footage, she allowed her good human nature to shine through and prioritised the welfare of Shareen over getting a good shot.

The book is written in the style of how Stacey speaks, and for me, that makes it even more engaging. I feel like I'm sat having a chat with her over a tea of tea while she tells me about her experiences. She even discusses how her style of presenting was initially criticised and is able to admit herself that she agreed with them on elements. It takes a particularly self-reflective person to be able to listen to harsh criticism of themselves, pick out the important themes and work on those issues.

Another element of the book that I love is Stacey's outlook on people who say awful things about her online - "I just feel sorry for the trolls though, because I think they're sad lunatics, sat in their bedrooms, having a wank, keyboarding." In the social media centred world that we now live in, it can be difficult to switch off from criticism. In days gone past a TV personality might receive criticism from professional critics in a newspaper, but now anyone can criticise you at any time and on multiple different forums. I admire that Stacey is able to take such a brilliant attitude to people who spread hate as it is an important message to remind those reading her book. It's also a good reminder to the people that leave those kind of comments; it may seem as though the person will never see the nasty thing you said, but there's a very good chance they will and they are still human.

The book is broken down into chapters, each focusing on a different topic that she has covered in documentary form. I love that the chapters are named after the women which she encountered and have particularly impacted upon her in each of the countries visited. Stacey comes across as empathetic, without being patronising, and empowers women to speak up for themselves - rather than her simply speaking up for them. Both in her book and in her documentaries, Stacey gives women a platform, something that I imagine a lot of the women she has worked with have probably never had before.

I consider myself to be a feminist, and while there are many issues that face me as a white woman living in England, I am aware that I am very privileged in other respects. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better educate themselves about the issues that affect women across the world. Stacey covers issues such as sex working in Russia, the high levels of domestic violence and femicide in Honduras and the incredible Yazidi women fighting back against ISIS in Syria.

On The Frontline With Women Who Fight Back is available on Amazon. Please note, this is an affiliate link. If you do decide to purchase the book based on my recommendation I would really appreciate you doing so through this link, as it means I earn a small commission. But feel free to purchase it independently if you wish to.
I have always been a big fan of Stacey Dooley and her work presenting documentaries for the BBC. So when I saw she was releasing her first book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I devoured the book as quick as I could and just had to share my thoughts on it. Particularly with International Women's Day approaching (8th March 2018), it seemed appropriate to be discussing a book that places the spotlight on incredible women in the most horrendous of circumstances.



"Some of the documentaries I've worked on have taken me to really high-risk places. I've been on police raids to bust paedophile gangs and visited seedy, backstreet brothels in gang-controlled slums. I should be used to shocking situations by now. But this is the first time I'm going to a war-zone - it doesn't get scarier than Iraq, especially if you're a woman."

I had no idea that Stacey's career with the BBC started rather accidentally. She saw a flyer over 10 years ago asking 'Do you like fashion? Do you like travel? Do you like shopping?' And as she ticked all three of those boxes she called the number on the flyer only to discover that the BBC were looking for young people to go out to India and explore the conditions under which the 'fast fashion' clothes they purchased were produced. This turned into the 2007 series 'Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts' which kickstarted Stacey's career with the BBC and has resulted in her becoming one of BBC3's most celebrated presenters.

The first thing I loved about the book was that it re-enforced the opinion I had developed of Stacey while watching her on screen - she's an ordinary, down to earth woman and despite having made a career out of being a video journalist, she doesn't come across as a journalist. By that I mean that her presence on screen is very human; she isn't just this shadow of a person narrating what is happening but gets truly immersed into the people and their story. I find it very hard to watch documentaries when the presenter is almost removed from the situation despite being sat there in front of people telling their stories. You can see on camera that Stacey truly cares for the people she interviews and this came across in her book too. She isn't afraid to show her emotions when appropriate, but doesn't let them stop her creating the hard-hitting documentaries she is known for. This also comes through her writing, as it is clear that she truly cares about the women by the language she uses to the describe them.

A testament to Stacey's own style of presenting was clear in the section of her book when she discussed her most recent trip to Iraq and meeting a Yazidi woman named Shareen. Stacey wrote about the experience of arranging to meet with a ISIS fighter convicted of his crimes and sentenced to life. She and Shareen were given the opportunity to interview him and ask him why he did the heinous things he did. Stacey gave Shareen every opportunity to change her mind if she decided she did not want to see the man. Despite the fact it made incredible, compelling footage, she allowed her good human nature to shine through and prioritised the welfare of Shareen over getting a good shot.

The book is written in the style of how Stacey speaks, and for me, that makes it even more engaging. I feel like I'm sat having a chat with her over a tea of tea while she tells me about her experiences. She even discusses how her style of presenting was initially criticised and is able to admit herself that she agreed with them on elements. It takes a particularly self-reflective person to be able to listen to harsh criticism of themselves, pick out the important themes and work on those issues.

Another element of the book that I love is Stacey's outlook on people who say awful things about her online - "I just feel sorry for the trolls though, because I think they're sad lunatics, sat in their bedrooms, having a wank, keyboarding." In the social media centred world that we now live in, it can be difficult to switch off from criticism. In days gone past a TV personality might receive criticism from professional critics in a newspaper, but now anyone can criticise you at any time and on multiple different forums. I admire that Stacey is able to take such a brilliant attitude to people who spread hate as it is an important message to remind those reading her book. It's also a good reminder to the people that leave those kind of comments; it may seem as though the person will never see the nasty thing you said, but there's a very good chance they will and they are still human.

The book is broken down into chapters, each focusing on a different topic that she has covered in documentary form. I love that the chapters are named after the women which she encountered and have particularly impacted upon her in each of the countries visited. Stacey comes across as empathetic, without being patronising, and empowers women to speak up for themselves - rather than her simply speaking up for them. Both in her book and in her documentaries, Stacey gives women a platform, something that I imagine a lot of the women she has worked with have probably never had before.

I consider myself to be a feminist, and while there are many issues that face me as a white woman living in England, I am aware that I am very privileged in other respects. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better educate themselves about the issues that affect women across the world. Stacey covers issues such as sex working in Russia, the high levels of domestic violence and femicide in Honduras and the incredible Yazidi women fighting back against ISIS in Syria.

On The Frontline With Women Who Fight Back is available on Amazon. Please note, this is an affiliate link. If you do decide to purchase the book based on my recommendation I would really appreciate you doing so through this link, as it means I earn a small commission. But feel free to purchase it independently if you wish to.

6 comments

  1. I really want to read this book so much, I adore Stacey Dooley! Thank you for sharing 🌸✨

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | www.alishavalerie.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't recommend it enough! And she's fab isn't she! ❤

      Delete
  2. Keep meaning to pick this us as I love Stacey's documentaries. I completely agree with you about how she comes across as caring rather than just there for information. I'll definitely be picking this up!

    Chloe

    www.chloemetzger.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely do! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ❤

      Delete
  3. I'm such a huge Stacey Dooley fan and her book is firmly on my radar. Sounds like an amazing book! Her Isis documentaries are so, so fascinating but utterly heart-breaking.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just in utter shock the whole time I was watching her documentaries on ISIS - she was so incredibly brave to go out there! ❤

      Delete

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