The Best Book I’ve Read This Year: No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power

The day we came home from BlogHer 10, I pre-ordered three copies of Gloria Feldt’s new book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power.  Then I wrote this, BlogHer 10 Recap: You Are Powerful, and pre-ordered another copy for my mom’s birthday.  I spent weeks waiting for the arrival of my copy. As the release date approached, I started choosing books from my TBR stack that I thought I could finish quickly, allowing me to start No Excuses immediately. The day it arrived, I was in the middle of a YA fiction that I barreled through – not just because it was fun to read but because I was dying to start No Excuses.

Gloria Feldt is brilliant. She’s a brilliant writer and a brilliant speaker. I was coming down from my BlogHer 10 Closing Keynote high and No Excuses arrived at just the right time.  I was getting tired of continuing to hear women putting themselves down, using misogynist language to describe themselves and other women, reading news articles about women and money (or their lack of it) and the dearth of women in power positions. I needed another jolt of inspiration to help me stay in the positive thinking/do something to make things better mode.

No Excuses was exactly what I needed.

I read the Prologue and tweeted to Gloria that I loved it so far!

I got to pages 75-76 and tweeted again that I was really loving those pages (BlogHer made its first appearance in the book.)

And then I stopped tweeting and got really serious about the reading.

When I finished the book, I immediately tweeted that Gloria Feldt had written the best book I’ve read all year. And I meant it.

It’s not that I learned anything that I didn’t already know, because I didn’t. The women she features throughout the book are familiar to me. I’ve met many of them. I’ve written about many more of them. I’ve read about them.  Women like BlogHer CE Beth Terry. Writer and activist Courtney Martin. Michelle Robson, founder of EmpowHer. Seeing her showcase them for owning their power was powerful.

Gloria’s analysis of the 2008 election wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know and hadn’t already said but she was saying it. Out loud, in print. That was powerful. Reading Feldt saying exactly what I’ve been thinking about women’s losses under Obama – the Stupak Amendment and the Paycheck Fairness Act (which you should contact your Senator about RIGHT NOW – time is running out AGAIN.)

Hearing again about the struggles of women in the workplace, about women who don’t even consider asking for more money, and women who ask and don’t get it  – makes me angry, a good kind of angry. Feldt’s commentary on James Chartrand was so damn on the money that I cheered out-freaking-loud. As I did again when I her thoughts about women “choosing” to leave the workplace.  

And then there’s the problem women have historically always had – we don’t press our advantage, we don’t continue to fight after we’ve accomplished a goal. We step back, we let others go first, we find others more deserving, we’re afraid we might lose because it’s not time yet. Talk about angry. Yes I am.  You should be too.

I could go on and on – every page inspired me and every page influences me. My co-workers have the pleasure of me pitching stories with woman power slants – or reframing stories so they really focus on the woman power issues. My partner has taken to calling me “Gloria” because I rant about a female Survivor contestant who has given up her power to a man (it’s going to come back and bite her in the ass – it always does and why don’t we know it by now?) I find myself saying “power to” a lot and I think I always have said that but I hear it differently now with a “not power over” message resounding in my head.

Gloria Feldt is like that. Her words seep into my life and have a way of turning what I already know or practice into something bigger and bolder – something just a little more powerful than it was before because I’m acting with an awareness that wasn’t always present before.

I cannot wait for my daughters to read No Excuses. Michelle, who is 20, has to finish her Third Wave Feminism and Feminist Theory classes first – she’s drowning in feminism as it is and RJ, who is 14, is shoulder deep in college guides  (don’t ask) but soon, very soon, I’ll have the next wave of feminists in the family to talk to about No Excuses – and about the ways that they are thinking about power – and ways that they can own their power. I can hardly wait. And if I find myself faltering – feeling tired – feeling discouraged, I can re-read No Excuses or track Gloria down on her blog or at SheWrites and I can be inspired all over again.

Posted via email from Life. Flow. Fluctuate.

Comments

  1. Rachel M says:

    “Third Wave Feminism and Feminist Theory classes”? Wow. Back when I was in college I lived in the “feminist studies” dorm (the only non-co-Ed housing choice available) and we had RitaMae Brown as our housemother one term, but we didn’t have *anything* like “Third Wave Feminism and Feminist Theory classes”!

    I wonder if she’s studying us… :-)