I am turning in my Feminist Card now I have written this review that will most likely be controversial.
While I agree with much of what was said in Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real about Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America edited and introduction by Amy Reed, I had a hard time empathizing with most of the essays presented and therefore, had a hard time reading these essays by twenty-one authors. But then again, that was the point of most of them. To be hard to read. To be uncomfortable.
I am not black, Asian, Muslim, or some of the other identities presented. I am not “queer” enough for some people (but the fact I have “one drop of queerness” is enough for others), but I am “fat enough” to be part of the jokes and the dislike against people of size. And Julie Murphy’s essay spoke to me.
Murphy said she is a middle finger to the world. So, the joke is Trump got “fat women walking to the polls”? Murphy says, Count her as one of them. Yes, there are things out there telling her she’s not “good enough” and people who will call her “brave” for eating a salad, but she owns herself. Many of the other essays, I did not feel they were owning who they are. Just finger pointing.
In other words, this book is uncomfortable. It is pointing out the wrongs.
Nina Lacour pointed out the wrongs, admitted her part in some of them, but also found ways to fight back, to try and help not just herself and her wife, but the Billy’s of the world. Who was Billy? A friend in high school she watched get pushed up against his locker, get angrier as he got older and lost touch with as it became “too hard” to be friends. Now that she is part of the people that Prop 8 affect, she’s fighting when she always should have. Too little too late? Maybe, but I figured what Lacour was saying was it’s never too late to join the fight. Maybe you can only see the bad when it finally affects you.
I picked two people to focus on as they were the ones I related too (thought I write this review not having finished all the essays.). I added the image of the quote from Fannie Lou Hamer because that is what this book is about. These women are, “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Hamer also made me think. I went on to learn more about her. She was a feminist who felt abortion was murder. (I would then read her name again in Run V01 by John Lewis.) I learned the Susan B. Anthony was racist (which was not a surprise, sadly). And Aisha Saeed mentions that there are words that mean to heal, to give comfort, but can be more hurtful then the “I can say anything I want now Trump is president” comments. I relate to Saeed as I have said those “healing words” and I have had them said to me. If nothing else, these stories will make you think.
The fact these essays were written in response to the 2016 Election, does make some things outdated. Yet, we are still dealing with the issues presented. Not just as people of color, or as a queer person or as a woman, but as people.