Books for Women

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The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

I first read this in my 20’s and now, 20 years on, I am sad and angry that this discussion is still so relevant. That the whole perfection, beauty thing has actually gotten worse in this social media, Kardashian, digital image era. That young girls and boys are being bombarded with images of ‘perfection’ waaaay more often than I was. Are being encouraged to compare themselves to an ideal that doesn't even exist and are engaging in unhealthy, destructive behaviours because they think they will work to get them there. And today's ‘perfection’ is even further from reality than it was when I was a teen. The way advertising presents it is just as harmful as when companies used media campaigns to encourage people to smoke.

(from site)

This is the classic that aimed to redefine our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity. In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before. Alongside the evident progress of the women's movement, however, writer and journalist Naomi Wolf is troubled by a different kind of social control, which, she argues, may prove just as restrictive as the traditional image of homemaker and wife. It's the beauty myth, an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society's impossible definition of "the flawless beauty."

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The Wounded Woman

Linda Shierse-Leonard

Another key book from my own journey. Brilliant and insight provoking.

(from site)

An invaluable key to self-understanding. Using examples from her own life and those of her clients, Leonard, a Jungian analyst, exposes the wound of the spirit that arrives from the father-daughter relationship.

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Women and Desire

Polly Young-Eisendrath

I first read this book in my 20’s and now plan to revisit it. It was impactful then and I imagine it will be more so now. I’ll update this when I know.

(from site)

Provocative and vital, this groundbreaking book delves into the complex world of female desire and discovers that, sadly, women often want to be wanted rather than to be fully engaged with life.

Instead of being able to know what they really want or who they really are, women have been conditioned to accept images -- the good daughter, the nice friend, the ideal boss, the perfect mother -- to define themselves through reflections from others. As a result, self-direction, self-determination, and self-confidence are undermined from adolescence through old age. A double bind comes to surround female desire: a woman is damned as "the bitch" if she is direct and self-determining; but she is confused and indirect if she plays the Object of Desire.

Dr. Young-Eisendrath shows us how to break out of this double bind so that we can encounter the challenges of choice and responsibility for our own desires. She wisely uses mythological and personal stories to help us take control of our sexual, relational, material, and spiritual lives. If you feel confused, resentful, or trapped in a life that does not seem to be fully yours, then you can find a clear path to your true self, once and for all, with the help of Women and Desire.