Why, yes, ladies - I do have a funny way of enjoying myself.
I really should get back to blogging.
And so, I realized - hey, this is kind of like a blog post that I already wrote! So I cut and pasted. Hooray! Except I put asterisks where I'd be advertising, so I'm not. I only fixed one typo, because it hurt my head so much.
On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 10:24 AM,
Hello and Happy November, Josephine!
There is a profound pressure placed on young girls in current day society based on their image: the need be thin, beautiful and appealing. Instead of looking to serve others, the focus is constantly on "me!" The struggle of peer pressure emerges and girls strive for whatever it takes to be well liked and popular. They fear walking the road less traveled because, to them, it appears to be the lonely road. Girls fear failure. Due to this fear, we oftentimes see far too many girls let life pass them by as they 'go with the flow.' One will find that as you look back upon your life, the moments that stand out are the ones when you have done things for others. Oftentimes, people forget to think beyond themselves. It is our desire for "M**** ****s" to empower girls to try new activities and as they gain knowledge and skills, learn to recognize the importance of using them for benefits that reach beyond themselves.
My sister and I just finished "M**** ****** ******," the first book of the M**** *****s series devoted to helping inspire and empower young girls (ages 5-9) to explore new hobbies and create new goals.
In the book, M***** has been invited to a birthday party and she wants to bring her favorite treat-- cupcakes! But M***** nervous about making them, for her last baking adventure sadly ended in a baking fiasco. What will she do? Join M***** and her mom on this sweet endeavor as, together, they learn how to bake the most delicious cupcake with just a few simple steps: finding a recipe, creating a shopping list, understanding measurements and measuring utensils, rules of kitchen safety, the finishing touches, and, at last, sharing the tasty treats with friends and family! Become engaged, as M***** gains confidence from working through mistakes, experiences joy while discovering her special strengths and abilities, and develops a love for learning- the sweetest treat of all!
At the end of the book are biographies of real life people that have used their passion for baking to open cupcake shops around the United States. The following cupcake shops are featured in the book: C*** *** **t (West Hollywood), S******s (Texas and Newport Beach), M******* ******y (New York), C****** *****ct (online blog) and F****** ********y in Long Beach :) The reason for these bios are to empower young girls to dream big!
I'm attaching the book cover and a recent book review of M**** ****** *****g (found in the November edition of the L**** ***** ********e).
I'm writing to find out if you would be interested in reading some of the story story? I would love to get your personal opinion for you are someone who longs to see young girls grow in their confidence and seek out passions. And if possible, is there a way of getting a review or mention of this book on your blog.
Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing back!!!!
I am not Josephine, and am dismayed that I was addressed as such, though that doesn't colour my response as much as you might think it would. I read all solicitations with an eye toward finding material for my other position as a freelance writer for an online site for mothers, where the advertisers and my editor there allow me to pitch and produce content for fair compensation.
My name is Marla Good, and I write the blog titled Hello Josephine. I understand your mistake, as when blogs are solicited for non-paid reviews the information in them isn't always carefully checked in the rush to contact as many as possible, hoping for publicity.
While I admire your endeavour, and generally like to support anyone's attempt to create, I'd like to stress that our daughter is not quite five, as is noted in the sidebar, so we are outside of your target market. Further reading in the archives would tell you've I've spoken out about giving up blog space too cheaply, as this advertising value has great power among women - you must know this, hence your approach.
Though we're reading ahead in age, and I often look for books that are topical that will broaden our perspective, I feel that your book and that your premise is exactly what I find odious in most childrens books these days. You see, at this point, Josephine doesn't feel any pressure to be anything other than her best self, and is naturally giving; more, she is comfortable with the status of her current friendships and peer relations. As we explore her changing boundaries and developing life experience together, we're discussing, among other things, why and how people choose friends and how to treat them and be treated in turn -- but that is my job to help her through it - not a book's. I think introducing such topics at such a young age does more to lay a foundation than to break a glass ceiling.
What's more, I don't believe books such as yours "empower" girls so much as reinforce these stereotypes. Everyone fears failure. Life doesn't so much pass girls by as it gets wrested from them by the circumstance of inequality, compounded by motherhood. Going with the flow is a human, protective instinct - not something to reject off-hand for the sake of some faux-feminism. Further, "doing things for others" is exactly the kind of gender-biased role in which young women often mire themselves in in an attempt to curry favour - not to prove themselves.
While the story might have value in covering perseverance and developing enthusiasm for learning - some of that comes with age, and the rest is innate and I'm hoping that quite honestly, Josephine will dream a bit bigger than the ideal of opening a cupcake shop (or any similar example) -- because few have succeeded to the extent of those mentioned; and before it became a trend, many struggled and failed. You see, we live in a neighbourhood where retail is hard, though burgeoning - and our cupcake shops are struggling. Good, healthy organic bread bakeries are thriving - but that's something altogether different. The real-life example is that cupcakes shops are luxuries and will be among the things that suffer in the new, hopefully more austere economy that we actually welcome. Cupcakes are a treat - we have cupcake themed birthday parties. But we recognize them as fripperie. Her current ideal of becoming an animal rescuer is far more needed in the world, and I'm glad that right now, she doesn't believe that she can't do it - and neither do I.
When I look back in life, what stands out are the things I did for myself that allow me to help others - not the many many times I helped without thought. If I didn't have a lifetime of learning how to position myself so as to have the ability to do certain great and specific tasks for those in my life who are in need, I couldn't feel good about how these instances played out. But the scenario you present is that people forget to think beyond themselves and should do so more - where I would argue that empathy and responsibility, because they're learned, cannot simply be forgotten, and should have less to do with being rewarded for exercising them - and ought to have more to do with how children must learn their place in the world in relation to all others - not mere friendships. And empathy eventually lets them see that everyone walks a lonely road, and I'm fine with teaching that to Josephine.
I appreciate the offer, as it was, but I think your book is not only not for us - I think it might be giving girls a message that works contrary to your assertions and would hope in future books that you give young girls more to strive for than success at baking cupcakes.