No Excuses is a no nonsense book from Gloria Feldt that will challenge quite a few assumptions about women’s issues. Her main premise is that now there are no real barriers to women taking power, only women themselves and their reluctance to embrace power.
The book is subtitled 9 ways women can change how we think about power. Feldt acknowledges that there are still ‘insidious cultural barriers’ but ‘formally’ she asserts there is no barrier to women pushing at the open door and walking right into the boardroom.
Gloria is not seeking to assign blame; instead she wants to inspire women to embrace ‘a historic moment’. She really wants us to seize the day!
9 Ways Chapter Headings
Each of the 9 ways is a chapter heading. I really can’t do the book justice in a short review but I will list the 9 headings to give you a flavour:
- Understand (some history)
- Redefine (thinking about what power is i.e. power over vs power to)
- Unblock (power unused is useless)
- Be Unafraid (stand up and be counted and refuse to be sidelined)
- Unfetter ( Economic power and reproductive power, or sex and money!)
- Unlimit Yourself (A man would never question his ability to do the job)
- Unleash (Be angry enough, be inspired enough to take action, work together)
- Just do it (Self explanatory I think!)
- No Excuses (don’t follow your dream, lead it!)
Gloria Feldt writes well but this is not a light read. Nor is it necessarily a comfortable one; she is not afraid to be controversial. I really asked myself some searching questions when reading it. Here’s an example:
When You have Choices You Get to Have a Dream
Although conservative fundamentalist groups such as Focus on the Family (US) would likely be apoplectic at the suggestion, the fact is when we’re talking about family, what we’re really talking about is sex. Without sex, there is no family. And when we talk about sex, what we’re really talking about is a complex web of social interactions, all of them defined to a significant degree by women’s personal agency and sexual power.
Michael Goldberg writes in The means of Reproduction, “There is one thing that unites cultural conservatives throughout the world, a critique that joins Protestant fundamentalism, Islamists, Hindu Nationalists, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and ultramontane Catholics. All view women’s equality and self possession as unnatural, a violation of the established order. yet in one society after another, we can see the absence of women’s rights creating existential dangers.”
There are strong cultural powers at play resisting women having a ‘womb of one’ sown’ and it’s time to address them head on. ……As Shipley [ex New Zealand Prime Minister] laid out the facts about women globally, I couldn’t help but think how for those of us who count ourselves among the lucky ones, the time for excuses is over; it is time to make sure our good luck becomes just the way things are, for all women.
To Buy or Not to Buy…
This is a book I will turn to and quote time and time again. It’s not pop psychology, it’s serious work with serious implications, lightened by the many stories and anecdotes within its pages. If you are serious about advancing the course of women in society I urge you to read it. Don’t expect a comforting ride; Gloria is basically saying stop whining and do something! The building blocks are there, build something with them! (In a nice way, well she is a woman!)
I think it will challenge you and give you a different perspective and it may, just may, genuinely change your life! Buy it!
If you’ve read it, please share your views on it.
The book is available in the UK and US, from good bookshops, libraries, and Amazon.
Posted on February 24th, 2011 by Jane