Review :

Patriarchy drives me crazy. When the world disregards our accomplishments, gaslights our lived experiences, brainwashes us into self-sabotaging beliefs, and drowns out our voices with insidious narratives designed to prop up the power structure, it's critical to clap back and claim space. Though the rhythm and rhyme of this book took me a while to appreciate, I'm certainly glad it exists. I recall having to read a bewildering array of source material to bushwhack and debate my way to consciousness and concepts we've got definite vocabularies for, today. A women's studies minor who moved to Texas and lived through a prolonged period when self-defining as a feminist was WAY out of vogue, it's gratifying to see the Unladylike gals making it cool to name and tame patriarchy's pitfalls. They do it across every aspect of life - because that's where it hides in plain sight. And it's fascinating. And it's empowering. In my own lifelong pursuit of good mental-emotional health, someone finally clued me in to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). After untold years of helpful - but, let's admit it, somewhat aimless - talk therapy, I was struck by CBT's practical beauty. Never will forget the time I read a list of "thinking errors" CBT defines. "Thinking errors" thought I. "Nah, that's just thinking!" Obviously, had some work to do on my thought-feeling-behavior cycle - but the paranoid version had been modeled for me since childhood. You know, by my mom. See, patriarchy drove her crazy, too. No doubt it did a worse number on her - I'm indebted to the generations of women that came before me. Apparently tho, the crazy-making is still ongoing. One thing that struck me about this book is how CBT it is. Much of the work here is the Unladylike gals disrupting the steady stream of gaslight and hogwash we're forced to inhale and/or swallow, and replacing it with CBT-inspired honest and practical approaches to self care. It's women deciding to regard our own accomplishments, and get clear on what blocks them. To trust our lived experiences, and get clear on who doesn't want to see them. To care for ourselves, believe in ourselves, and get clear on what normal really is for us. To speak for ourselves, tell the truth of our stories, and get clear on both feelings and facts. Thought I was an old hand at this feminist stuff. But, reading the field guide immediately inspired me to claim more space for who I really am. Well done, unladies. Well done.

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