The Objectification of Women

If you’re reading this because you think I’m going to rant about how women are patronized and under-estimated because of their sex, this isn’t the post for you. If you’re reading this because you think when I say objectify that I’m getting mad for a guy thinking of a woman as only an object (which is technically the definition), then this actually isn’t the post for you either.

I’m writing this post because I believe that feminism has strayed so far off the path, that now women objectify women in their attempt for equal rights.
Confused? Wait – here’s a picture:

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Apparently this magazine is qualified to decide who the most successful women are. Check out that little digital sticker with the exciting, “Who’s #1?”

So, I’m supposed to read the article where you tell me how Reese Witherspoon is successful, a slap-you-in-the-face reminder that I don’t make millions each year, that I don’t have anything near a McMansion, and I will never in my wildest dreams be that gorgeous.

Still with me?

Oprah, who’s notoriety is international beyond belief, has an article on being a great leader. Sara Blakely, who invented Spanx, allowing women to all squeeze themselves like sausages into undergarments so that we could all look like the ‘ideal’ woman, tells you how to balance career and family, while Donna Karan, the wealthy fashion icon, tells you how to land your dream job.

Notice anything?

There’s no article on the woman that decided her dream was to be a Kindergarten teacher. There’s no article on the woman that decided she wants to know how to cook. From scratch – yeah, without directions on the back of a box. There’s no article about the woman that – heaven forbid – decided her dream was to stay home and raise her children, giving up her career in the process.

Instead we are given ‘ideals’ to measure ourselves against. How can we possibly be ok with who we are when we’re told success is measured by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Oprah? And who decided the media was forefront in measuring success?

Because guess what? I’ll let you in on a secret. They don’t know.

YOU get to decide whether you’re successful. You, whether you’re sitting there in your high-powered suit telling corporate how to run this business, or whether you’re wearing yoga pants and rangling toddlers. You.

So you say, sure, Jenna, you’re right. I get to pick whether I’m successful, and I’m not going to compare myself to what the media thinks is successful. (This may involve taking a haitus from social media and your magazine subscriptions.) But, what is success?

I don’t know.

All I can tell you is that when my husband kisses me and I know that everything between us is ok, then I feel successful. That when my children are happy to see me and want to tell me all about their day, I feel successful. That when a friend confides in me or I finish a project that I know I gave 100% on, I feel successful.

But it goes even further. When I comfort a friend, or manage to help someone in need, I feel successful. When I decide not to take offense, and replace anger with empathy, I feel successful.

Because when it comes down to it, you decide how successful you are. You decide what your life means.

And you – you are enough.

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Book Review: Once Upon a Time from the Perspective of an Innocent Bystander, by Cynthia Breheny

Once upon a Time from the Perspective of an Innocent Bystander by Cynthia Breheny

This is a cute Lloyd Alexander-esk style fantasy book where characters are interesting, magic comes in unlikely places, and story will wind you around into an absorbing new world.

The only thing I wished about this book is that some scenes had been slashed. I would have liked the story to start with more of a -umph- rather than an introduction to characters.

And lastly – I love the cover. It’s perfect for its audience, which I believe would be best suited to upper middle grade and higher.

You can find Cynthia here on Goodreads.

Cover Reveal: A Crafted Courtship!

It’s a little early, but I can’t help it, I love my new cover! The second book in the ‘Dear Friend’ series is about Sally Fancot, the quiet no-account girl barely mentioned in book one. Some of your favorite characters are back, but the story revolves entirely around Sally and her quest to be herself.

My designer’s facebook page, and you can find her pre-mades here.
Look for publication in July – I’ll post, of course, when it’s out and available.

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The Crafted Courtship Designed by Victoria Cooper Designs

Description:

Six years after a tragic accident impacts her family, Sally Fancot’s greatest wish is to escape her overly protective parents.

An invitation to wedding festivities at Holcombe Manor suddenly prompts her controlling parents to realize her marriageable years have all but passed.  In an effort to see their daughter settled, they remind Sally of a promise made in her first season to accept the first eligible man who offers.

However, Sally finds herself regretting the promise when she begins to be pursued by creepy Lord Piedmont, while simultaneously being unnerved by another guest that looks annoyingly like a Greek god, with the arrogance to match.

When an anonymous correspondence begins by chance, Sally finds unexpected feelings for her new unknown friend filling her daily thoughts, and slowly her confidence begins to build. Could she thwart everyone’s plans for her and ever dare to make her own?

Book Reviews for A Wager To Win

Check out these lovely features of my Regency romance:

Library of Clean Reads (Laura Fabiani, who is also an author herself!) is a top reviewer on Goodreads. You can find the review HERE.

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Working Title Blogspot did an author feature and a selection of the book for you to read – hop on over and get to know me a little better. 🙂 You can find that review HERE.

Happy Reading!

Books to read for Book Club

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copyright Powers Library bookclub

I was recently asked to help found a book club, never mind that I’m already a member of a book club. What is it about people and exclusivity? We all want some.

Here’s a list of the books that had the most people talking actually ABOUT the book rather than the latest gossip. And when I say talking, I mean thick, meaty discussions that allowed for some intense conversation.

I also highly recommend that when hosting, you provide dessert, and that the dessert has chocolate somewhere in the name/ingredient list. Because, so help me, if you serve a vegetable platter, I might throw it at you.

EIGHT BOOKS TO READ IN YOUR BOOK CLUB: (details below)

Elizabeth: My Story
This heartbreaking memoir follows the Elizabeth Smart story about the 14-year-old girl that was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home, then fortunately returned a little less than a year later. Topics could include kidnapping, child molestation, polygamy, panhandling, helping the homeless, judging others, etc.
This was a wide-eyed read for me, a scary experience from page to page, especially because I’m familiar with the Salt Lake area, having hiked extensively there. The inside look into the type of man who would do something like this was incredibly revealing and truly horrifying.
I hugged and kissed my children much longer in the weeks following my reading, and I got rid of it – partly so others could read it, partly because I don’t plan on reading it again.

Hidden Figures
This book is essentially about the black women that worked for NASA during the space race – a lovely tribute to both women and a minority and the roles they played at the time. However, it’s so much more. In these pages are vignettes about others who worked for NASA, others that lived during this time of racial and gender inequality, and sometimes those are the best parts.
Topics may include racial or gender inequality, the growth and change in science, the space race, the working woman, etc.

Ruth
Elizabeth Gaskell’s version of The Scarlet Letter, it has a more intricate plot and depth to characters that allow for better reader-character interaction. Topics may include fallen women, manipulation of others, reputation, illegitimate children, forgiveness and repentance, etc.
Gaskell is one of my favorite authors. Her book North and South is wonderful, and the movie beats any Jane Austen adaptation – yes, I’m serious. Try Cranford and Wives and Daughters too – also fantastic, and yes, the movies are also wonderful.

The Hiding Pace
Another memoir, this time of a WWII survivor who was Christian, but spent those horrifying years hiding Jews. Topics could include Concentration Camps, WWII, war and its effects, what it means to be a true Christian, etc.
This is a book I’ve read and reread over and over again since I was very young. It reads smoothly, and Corrie is a woman who feels real; someone you can commiserate with, making the story all the more personal. The Christian themes can be for anyone – her big heart inspires us all to be better in our trials, whatever they  may be.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
This fictional novella by the well-known Robert Louis Stevenson is pulled apart over and over again as we argue about the nature of man, and of course the obvious question: Can we truly overcome our baser side?
Topics could include the nature of mankind, the search for truth or meaning, including it necessary?, the idea of science intervening with psychology and religion, and of course agency of humanity, etc.
I love Robert Louis Stevenson’s style, so I find his short stories my favorite. However, for a book club, this allows for some very strong and important opinions to be shared. Also, is that cover not perfect??!

Room
Held captive for years, a woman and her young son are finally freed, allowing for her son to finally see the outside world for the first time. Topics could include kidnapping, rape, the raising and care of children, etc.
I couldn’t read this book when it came time for my  book club. Others had a wonderful time talking about the intense subject matter, but as a mother of a son, it felt like it would be too easy to have nightmares.

The Man in the Brown Suit
Any of Agatha Christie’s mysteries would serve – they’re all exceptionally well written (This is a favorite). What’s really interesting about her stories is the psychology behind the characters. I defy you to read a book and find a character that acts uncharacteristically. Topics may include murder and what would drive someone to such an act, the predictability of mankind, and the psychology of a person, etc.

The Trimmed Lamp
O’Henry wrote a ridiculous amount of short stories, but they were all incredible. Thought-provoking and inspiring and interesting, all within about 10 pages. Grab a couple of them for a shorter read (say November? December?) that will still pack a punch during your discussion. I recommend The Trimmed Lamp for starters, a lovely story about two young women and the choices they make.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that if your book club needs something relaxing, say…a fluffy romantic ‘beach’ read? You could try A Wager to Win, which is most definitely fluffy. The sequel will be coming this summer too! Of course, if you’re in a mother-daughter book club and need something you’ll both like…you could try The Unbreakable Curse, my fractured fairy-tale. I would love to know what you think of either or both of them, so feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Scavenger, by J. L. Willow

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The Scavenger, by J. L. Willow is a YA suspense thriller with some teen angst and a strong drug angle to go with. This contemporary high school story will scare you without giving you nightmares – a plus if you still sleep with a night-light. (No judgment.)

The writing is interesting and well-structured. I would say that too often the author doesn’t get the tone right, leaving the characters speaking roughly the same and a little stilted, while the descriptions (which are excellent) still feel a little stiff.

The plot is interesting as well, and considering so many events lately in the U.S. and the legalization of marijuana, etc, it’s very relevant and relate-able on some level to almost everyone. My biggest pet peeve is how it ended. I think with the dark subject matter, I expected a darker ending.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Age recommendation: 14+ (A precocious kid could handle it, though, and frankly, if you’ve read the 3rd book of the Ranger’s Apprentice series, this isn’t any rougher than that, so revised… 10+? depending on your kid.)

Parental advisement: swearing isn’t too hard core, second and third hand accounts of teenagers overdosing and of course the references to drug dealing, adults who drink and are physically abusive, homeless kid, a gun shooting