My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is an important look at how shame is used against women, and how women can create resilience against it. The author conducted numerous in-person interviews, looking at areas of shame ranging form body image, to motherhood, to finances and more. Time and again, she found that women were silenced by shame and that it was not a useful tool to create change.
Part of what I found so fascinating in this book is that the women interviewed were of widely varying ages and ethnicities, yet there were universal experiences of being shamed for some perceived wrongdoing — often in areas over which they had very little control. One frequent area of shame saw women being told to be quiet and “less opinionated” lest they be thought of as “pushy” or “bitchy.”
That this is such a universal experience makes this book even more important, because many of those same women had developed methods to inoculate themselves against shame by developing support networks who would listen without judgment. You’d think this was natural, but many of those women had friends whom they thought were supporters but who actually also shamed them for various things.
This book also looked at how women use shame against others, most often because that was how they were brought up. I certainly recognized myself on both sides of the equation, and learned a great deal in the process.