So in my last post I gave everyone a very long and overly detailed description of how I planned to structure book reviews on my blog. In this post I will throw all of that structure out the window and review two books from a completely emotional place.
To give a little background to the emotional foundation this post is built upon I'm going to reveal some more of my back story, nothing too traumatic, so everyone can keep reading safely. Before I was BookWench I had another lovely and aggressive nickname – Feminazi. Somehow the boys in my middle school in Texas were given access to Rush Limbaugh, and my tendency to argue that women were just as good as men, and to challenge conservative gender roles led to years of me being stuck with a label that makes me both angry and somehow proud. The past few months have led to that particular facet of my personality coming back to the forefront as I watched the conversations about women happening on the national political level, as well as on a personal and familial one. Somehow women were taking a giant step backwards and I was not about to let the young women I know/ am related to become complacent and allow that to happen. The rage was reaching epic levels, but then a well-timed reading of a book brought me some hope, as it often does.
I immediately took to Facebook and posted the following “If you have a teenage girl, know a teenage girl, or still have an inner teenage girl go out and buy them Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and pair it with Tina Fey's Bossypants. I feel like those two books could guarantee a future generation of smart, funny, classy women who could rule the world. Seriously.” And while it may seem odd to pin my hopes for the future of my gender on two comedy writers, they provide accessible and humorous guides to becoming an awesome, smart, powerful woman. They are women who have fought their way to the top of a male-dominated industry without sacrificing their femininity, grace and intelligence. I strive everyday to be more like these ladies, and I hope that I can convince some of my younger cousins to set aside the Twilight books and pick up a book with a more honest view of teenage girl-hood, and give them some real role models to follow. And after Tina and Mindy have amused them and taught them some important life lessons we can point them to the record-breaking number of women holding positions of power in government and give them a wide range of lady-heroes. Even in my adult life, reading both of these books gave me things to aspire towards as a woman, as a writer, and as a person. These women are the kind of people I want as friends, as well as the kind of person I want to be, and somehow they manage to make it all seem entirely do-able.
So- I encourage everyone to go out and read these books. Right now. Give them to everyone you know for upcoming gift-giving holidays. Give them to teenage girls to help create a generation of smart, funny, powerful women. Give them to teenage boys to teach them that they should want to befriend/date/marry smart, funny, powerful women, because in my opinion those men are few and far between. I value the men I know who have already discovered this, they are precious and rare and I wish more of them were straight/single/wanted to date me. Give them to adults to help them find two more names to add to their fantasy night at the bar guest list. (That's something everyone has, right?) They're quick reads, but with depth and intelligence that seems to be lacking in a lot of today's bestsellers. I cannot recommend them enough.
In closing- some quotes from my new imaginary best friends:
“...write your own part. It is the only way I've gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you.” - Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
“So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.” - Tina Fey, Bossypants