There’s something to be said about losing yourself between the pages of a book. But what if you find yourself instead?
Books have always been a safe haven for me since I can remember. They were the one consistent in a life that has been full of change. From moving halfway across the globe to starting University, they’ve been there for me when nothing else familiar has been. But it wasn’t until recently that I understood the full impact they’ve had on me.
Stories of fiction, with strong women and young girls, have shaped me. Through these resilient female figures, I grew and understood how to stand up to the challenges life has thrown at me. They taught me how to love, forgive, be a better person and how to use my own voice. If these strong women in these novels can fight dragons and conquer kingdoms, why can’t I? They gave me strength when I struggled to find it myself.
Although I didn’t understand what the word “empowerment” meant when I was younger, I appreciate it now.
Looking back, I want to tell younger me who stayed up past her bedtime, on a school night, reading under the bright light of her bedside lamp, that I am just as powerful as these women I’m reading about. I can move mountains and change the world. I want to tell her that there is a whole community out there of women just like me who find themselves empowered through the work of fiction.
For some of us, novels are the only way we feel truly represented and understood. It is through literature and books that I found myself being heard. Whether it was reading about a character with similar traumas to mine or relating to a character’s life events, books have held me in a way no other piece of media has. They’ve validated me and healed me on such a personal level, and I know this is the same for many women in my life.
Works of non-fiction have also been incredibly impactful. Reading about someone’s life experiences and realizing that you are not alone in your struggles is perhaps the most profound feeling of all. Women sharing their greatest successes and lowest moments to inspire and encourage other women is a testament to the resilience of women as a whole. To be so unabashedly yourself and put it out there for the world to behold is a level of bravery truly unparalleled.
As women, we’ve been underrepresented in the world of literature for so long.
The classic shelves are often dominated by men; certain genres are full of male writers and very few female writers. The books by female authors I was taught about in school can be named on one hand. But that doesn’t mean we should stop writing or reading.
We can change these numbers and balance out the literary world by being active members. Reading books about women’s empowerment, struggles, and survivals, picking up books written by women for women, actively engaging with books written for us and about us shows that we’re here and we’re listening.
Why not pick up that book you’ve been eyeing for a while?
You might find something more than you were looking for, something life-changing. After all, words are the mightiest power at our disposal.