A regular shtick in the old Peanuts cartoons would show Lucy sitting behind a table on which rested a sign: “Psychology, 5 Cents.” This image kept running through our minds as we read The Feminine Manifesta by Lilly Hills and Karen Hudson.
Not that this book lacks merit. Quite the contrary. But it is a conglomeration of pop psychology borrowed—with sources meticulously cited—from previous authors and used to support the authors’ goals. That goal is to improve the lives of those who need help—and that is worthwhile.
Built around Karl Jung’s timeworn idea that everyone has both a masculine and feminine side, this “Manifesta” is a glorification of the feminine side, especially when it involves women appreciating and encouraging and recognizing the value in themselves, and in other women. It begins with the interesting point that women’s problems in the workplace are mostly with other women, that in a competitive work situation, where the masculine need to compete dominates, women can ease and enjoy their lives more by appreciating the qualities of their female coworkers, and working together–instead of competing with them.
Bruce and Kathy Roberts may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They say, “Women could be much less stressed out,…if [they] weren’t constantly picking at [their] own perceived flaws and inadequacies. It’s like [they’ve] got an aggressive inner jockey—always riding [them]selves with the whip instead of offering [them]selves a carrot.” (p. 2 of Preface) The focus here is on women, but this is a universal definition of stress, one that cuts across gender lines.
The authors are charming and sympathetic, and write well too. We liked them from the start when they claimed they’ve been making each other “laugh til they snort since they were thirteen.” And since we believe, ala Readers’ Digest, that “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” they’ve been practicing what they preach for a long time.
Unfortunately, in this tough job market and even tougher economy, it’s easy to forget to relax, to appreciate, to be positive. And when we–men or women—forget this, sometimes a huge dose of common sense can bring the important things in life back into focus. That’s what this book provides. So, for anyone with a stressed out life, whether from work or school or family—or a combination thereof—The Feminine Manifesta could well be the book to turn that stress around.