Book Review for “Anatomy of A Dress” by Juliette van der Molen published by Hedgehog Press.

Anatomy of a Dress Blog Tour.png

I’m so thrilled and honored to be the first stop for the #blogtour for this stunning collection of poems ” Anatomy of A Dress” by Juliette van der Molen. The book is going to be published by UK based Hedgehog Poetry Press. on Dec 16,2019.

These are now available to pre-order direct from Juliette at her web site HERE.

Juliette van der Molen is a writer and poet living in the Greater NYC area. She is an intersectional feminist and a member of the LGBTQIA community.She is a contributing editor for Mookychick Magazine and author of Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse
Collection (Moonchild Magazine, August 2018).

Her work has also appeared in Burning House Press, Memoir Mixtapes, Collective Unrest, and several other publications. Forthcoming books include Mother, May I? (AnimalHeart Press, May 2019) and Anatomy of A Dress (TheHedgehog Poetry Press, November 2019).

Please read the book review and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Happy reading!!

Megha Sood


Book Review – Anatomy of A Dress by Juliette van der Molen

The book “Anatomy of a dress” is a brilliant collection of poems by Juliette van der Molen which exposes how the patriarchal rules of society have governed the dressing style of the women for generations. The author through her various masterful poems reveals the constant objectification women’s body has suffered. The immediacy and the tenderness in her words describing the pain are brilliant. Through her words and artful phrasing, she highlights the pain women’s body has been subjected to in the name of societal norms and conformity.

The author also explains the misogynistic rules and how it governs the dressing style for women. She also underlines the unfortunate fact that the oppression has not only been carried by the males but also by the same gender which in turn has lead to the disenfranchisement of women.

The riveting collection opens up with the poem “Zip me” and “My hem” where the poet through her masterful layering of words explains how the woman’s body has been constantly been objectified and sexualized and how in turn the burden of responsibility always lies on the shoulder of a woman. She clearly underlines the existence of victim-blaming and slut-shaming in our society.

How the phrase ”she asks for it” has been shamelessly perpetuated in society for generations. Instead of correcting the narrow perception of the male gender and misogyny, it reflects how the women dressing is considered to be the root cause of this heinous social evil.

Through “Zip me” she clearly reflects how the women have to smoothen up her conviction to fit the cookie-cutter world. The constant validation we need to seek from the society. The author stresses the fact that we all can be perfect with our imperfections. Though her poem “ Dart”, she also talks about how dressing is usually considered for the pleasure of the male gender.

There are many stunning poems in the collections but one of my personal favorites is “Buttoned up”.Reading it sends a shiver down my spine as it talks about the much less discussed topic of marital rape. Phrases like the “dead girl walking” and the “virgin bride” tell about the false expectations set by the patriarchal society the burden of which has been unfortunately borne by our mothers and grandmothers. 

Further in the collection “Silhouette shame” talks about the social expectation about a certain way to dress and the rules set around it. The author through her sharp choice of words stresses the fact of how the dressing of the women has been mainly regarded as a symbol for pleasure and used as the subjugation of the patriarchy. She further tells us how the misogynistic rules have dominated the dressing style of women for generations. She also brings out the dreadful fact that all this atrocity has been carried out in the name of tradition and values. Restriction disguised as justification, which she brings out in her poem “Won’t you call me sweetheart”

Through her poems “Schooled pleats”  and “S(mocked”) she tells us how the female’s body has been sexualized right at the early stages of their development. The poems also highlight the predatory behavior and the rape culture, our children have to face in the academic institutions. Juliette though her sharp words explain how the norms have been projected into an adolescent body and how the woman’s body has been objectified again and again. 

The author tries to clarify the fact through her poems that governing the dressing style is more about protecting strict social norms and hierarchies that refuse to tolerate differences or diversity.

The tail end of the collection brings us to the poem “Unmentionables” which brings out the pain of a sex worker. How the objectification of the female body has birthed this social evil which has, in turn, shattered the dreams of millions. How sex work is a metaphor for modern-day slavery.

One of my other favorites in the collection is the “Pretty thing” in which Juliette talks about the pain in conforming to society’s pleasure. She brilliantly explains by drawing a parallel with the ballerina. She also brings out the crude sexism in the phrase coined “ the pretty young thing”.

The final poem in the collection is a straight jolt to the head. The mastful words and artful phrasing used in the poem “Anatomy of the dress” is a culmination of her thoughts from all the previous poems in the book which stresses the fact again and again how the female body has been sexualized and objectified through her attire.

I would definitely recommend not to miss this stunning collection of poems.

–Megha Sood


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