Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Empowering Young Women*

Being a young person, and growing up within today's society is incredibly difficult. I can speak from a personal perspective, because I have dealt with quite a few challenges in the past, and even as the days go on, I can't say that it gets that much easier, if I'm honest.

As a blogger, I'm very kindly given gifts from time to time that I'm able to explore, and then talk about here on my blog. I received this book by Naomi Katz a couple of months ago from a particular company, and since then, I have been doing my research, and also reading it myself to see what I think.

Here's a little sneak peak at the blurb. 'Do you remember your first kiss? Your first heartbreak? Your first bra? The first time your best friend betrayed you? Beautiful: Being an Empowered Young Woman peels back the truth behind becoming a woman in a chaotic world where airbrushed perfection is beauty - when in reality, beauty is who you are.
Beautiful offers strategies to help young women cope with contemporary issues, like body image, the media, relationships, competition, sex and peer pressure. It explores the way adolescents see and talk about themselves, and answers the big questions young women are afraid to ask. Naomi Katz offers truths about conquering adolescence and cultivating a unique sense of self. Weaving together narratives of real teens, Katz, a teacher who has worked with young women all over the globe, proves inspiration for growing girls looking for guidance in an increasingly complicated world.

Whilst I was reading this book, I made notes about everything that stood out to me, and so I'm going to be sharing some of those points with all of you, in the hope that you will want to give it a read yourselves.

It starts off by speaking about cat calling, and how Naomi was speaking to her teenage girl students about their experiences. She admitted herself that she has no tougher time than when she was a teenager. She explains how she wrote the book, because teenage life is hard, and she wants all of us teenage girls to feel good about ourselves, and proud to be who we are, rather than ashamed.

One thing that stood out to me as soon as I started reading this book was that there are little boxes on each page with extra, yet equally as important information. For example, one examples what adolescence is, and how it can affect an individual, socially, physically, and emotionally, therefore defining that key word for young people, who may have been unaware otherwise. She also includes a couple of sentences, or paragraphs on each page, which are the experiences of fellow teenage girls. They are written in italics, so you can easily distinguish the difference between this, and the rest of the text, written through Naomi's perspective.

By including the experiences of both Naomi herself, and other young people, it's actually really reassuring, and comforting to know that loads of other people understand how it feels to be going through the adolescence period in your life. Living with your parents can become tense, and you may find that you're arguing a lot more than you used to, so by reading this book, you'll begin to realise that so many people are actually going through  the same thing as you, even if you didn't think that was ever possible.

Never have I read a book that has completely changed my way of thinking, and my attitude towards life. I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, that this book has impacted me in ways that I would have never thought it could have. It allows us to question ourselves, as to whether we're proud of the way we behave, and the way we treat others, how we can become better friends to those we care about, and even if we have hurt people that day, or week. Every single sentence is an eye-opener, and I think that's very rare to see in a book. Naomi approaches every subject in an incredibly sensitive, yet insightful way, and that's something that I, and probably many other young people, admire. She talks about how we tear others down to make ourselves feel better if we're insecure, we are all heavily influenced by the media, and those around us, and she even goes on to talk about how masturbation is normal, and how even though people may do things to fit in due to peer pressure, hoping to become 'cool', it can lead to accidents on the road, and it can potentially ruin, or even end someone's life.

Throughout the entire thing, there are paragraphs, which contain key bits of advice, such as 'Be honest', and 'Be aware'. Naomi encourages people to use their power to impact others for good, and help make the world a better place. Your attitude and language is ultimately what affects others, so make sure it affects them in a positive way.

Everything is covered, from the media, to body image, to friendships, to respect, to sex. It doesn't feel like you're overwhelmed with information, and other people's experiences. Instead, it feels like you literally have a guide to the life of a teenager right in front of you. It's changed my life, and I think that it has the power to change yours too.

I'll probably be doing separate blog posts in the future on some of the things I've taken away, and learnt from each topic, but I think that's enough for now to convince you to pick up a copy of this book for yourselves. If you're from the UK, like quite a lot of my readers are, then you can order it here, or if you're from elsewhere in the world, then you can just Google it, and find a website that will deliver to you!

This book is an absolute gem, and I would highly recommend it to all of you girls, and women out there. You definitely need it in your life. Mark my words.

I just want to thank the lovely company that sent me this book, and I would also like to thank Naomi for writing such a beautifully inspiring book. I absolutely love it, and it's definitely something that I'm going to continue referring to in the future.
Are you going to be checking out this book? What are your initial thoughts on it?
Lots of love always,
Jade xo


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