How Do We Know We're Doing It Right by Pandora Sykes

‘How Do We Know We Are Doing It Right?’ by Pandora Sykes, one half of The High Low podcast, debut Non-Fiction novel comprises of eight essays where Sykes dives into millennial trends such as wellness, fashion, social media, work, digital communication and binge watching, and the ways in which they impact women while asking the question many of ask ourselves daily, how do we know we’re doing it right?

I thoroughly enjoyed these essays; I was already a big fan of Sykes and have been enjoying her new podcast to coincide with the book Doing It Right. Her voice can be heard amongst the pages within her easy to read but cleverly detailed prose. Along the way Sykes references a range of sources of both men and women from different backgrounds even including fictional characters alongside her own personal experiences.

Sykes begins this book with an introduction acknowledging the topics inside are middle class privileges and that her lens is that of a white middle class woman. I recently saw a post on social media dismissing this book as privileged waffle. I can’t help but think that this is due to the recent highlight on more diverse stories, to me that discussion completely missed what diversity means, as it is not to dismiss one experience in order to make room for others. This book is what it says on the packet, it’s not fair to expect otherwise.

The variety of topics covered means that everyone’s highlights will vary. For me the essay on wellness was truly refreshing, as like Sykes I share the sentiment that this has set a whole new expectation for how women’s bodies should look heightened by its dominance on social media, although I had never considered my part to play simply through my thirst for Kombucha. My favourite essay by far was that of Get the Look on millennial fashion trends, and just how quickly ‘get the look’ becomes ‘get the life’. Everyone will relate to Little Pieces Everywhere on the fragmentation of the different aspects of ourselves, that we are constantly being labelled as just one part of ourselves in order to fit. There is comfort to be found amongst these pages that while we may never know if we are doing it right, we are not alone.

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