A book offers a qualitative study of women’s feelings about life choices and empowerment.
In this work, Cooper (Sophie Star Child, 2015) draws on a combination of Jungian theory, popular nonfiction, and assorted interviews to explore the elements of women’s empowerment. The author begins on a personal note, tracing her own “journey toward empowerment” and those of other women in her life. The book then broadens its focus to examine larger questions of what constitutes empowerment, why it matters, and how it affects quality of life. After establishing the study’s theoretical basis, the volume moves into extended excerpts from interviews with more than a dozen participants, women of varying ages and experiences responding to questions about fulfillment, happiness, work, and family. They share stories of challenges, emotions, aspirations, and tactics for managing their personal and professional lives, providing the raw material from which Cooper draws broader conclusions on empowerment and delivers advice to readers on maximizing their own contentment. She emphasizes that “a woman’s highest obligation is to love herself without condition, in the manner one would love a child or one’s best friend.” The writing style in these pages is varied, veering between conversational prose and forests of jargon (“By integrating empowerment, Jung’s animus and anima theory and psychological happiness and how this relates to actual lived contemporary female experience displayed in the interviews conducted, we can identify models of effective interventions, treatments and modalities”). The approaches to the topic range from clinical to spiritual (“Destiny is inviting women at this time in history to shake off old outworn personas and beliefs and step into the Sun, taking our rightful place again as Goddesses of the Earth”). While sweeping statements like “in essence, the 21st century woman is in a crisis of the soul” are somewhat excessive, the book provides a valuable perspective on the realities of contemporary women’s lives and a framework for understanding them in a theoretical context, as well as strategies for maximizing one’s own authority and satisfaction. An extensive bibliography and in-text citations place the book within the context of Cooper’s substantial research.
A worthy blend of psychology, ethnography, and feminist theory that investigates the factors shaping women’s perceptions of their lives.