When I was young, I loved reading biographies about strong females. It was nothing I did consciously. Once I started reading about one, I seemed to gravitate towards others.
Amelia Earhart, Jane Addams, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, and Anne Frank all had stories that resonated with me. I wanted to be strong like them one day.
And then when I was in 7th grade, my old heroines were replaced with new images:
It was no longer a woman’s strength that appealed to me, rather it was her image. I remember vividly how my friend and I decided to diet in an effort to look like Cher. Mind you, at that time, I was short and petite, and would have actually had to grow considerably, not to mention the fact that I was fair and freckle faced.
I spent a lot of years trying to achieve a physical reality that was different from my own. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to learn to love and care for the body I was given and focus on other more important things.
I just read her latest book, The Invention of Wings, and was very pleased to find out that the story was based on a real woman’s life.
I also recommend reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which details her journey to reclaim her power as a woman.There are many ways to give away our power in today’s societies, and we need all of the reminders we can get about how to build upon our strengths and put them to good use in this world.