Sunday, May 29, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19 and 20

A Book that changed your mind about a particular subject (non-fiction): Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life by Joan Gould
What’s your favorite fairy tale? Whether it’s “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hansel and Gretel,” or another story, your answer reveals something significant about you, your experiences, and your soul. In this penetrating book, Joan Gould brings to the surface the hidden meanings in fairy tales and myths, and illuminates what they can tell you about the stages in your own life. As Gould explores the transformations that women go through from youth to old age–leaving home and mother, the first experience of sexuality, the surprising ambivalence of marriage, the spiritual work required by menopause and aging–her keen observations will enrich your awareness of your inner life.

Full of archetypal figures known to us all, Spinning Straw into Gold also includes stories from the lives of ordinary women that clarify the insights to be gained from the beloved tales that have been handed down from one generation to the next.
Even though this book is only one interpretation of fairy tales, it completely changed my outlook on the entire genre. I always kind of considered fairy tales to be sexist and while I still think there are sexist elements to fairy tales, I'm much more open minded now then I once was. What I always considered to be one way is open to interpretation thanks to this book. I love it when that happens.

A Book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed minded person: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
by Julia Serano
A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist. Serano shares her experiences and observations — both pre- and post-transition — to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.

Serano's well-honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. She exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.

In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activist must work to embrace and empower femininity — in all of its wondrous forms.
A lot of books can go here, but I think this one kills two birds with one stone. In the end though, any book that challenges your current worldview is a good choice.

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