I’ve just finished reading Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Jane Gilman for my book club. This book is a humorous look at a self-proclaimed feminist’s rude awakening to the actual nature of being a woman. Is there really such a thing as a true feminist?
While I am probably the furthest thing from a feminist, I connected to the author in many ways. Only five years older than myself, Gilman retells her memories as if they were being seen through my own eyes.
Was I raised in New York City? No.
Were my parents flower-children of the 60’s? No.
Am I Jewish? No.
Was I ignorant growing up of anything religious or spiritual? No. Amen.
Was I a promiscuous teen that dabbled in drugs and alcohol? Bahahahaha!
Do I strive to prove that I can do anything a man can do? Hardly.
So, how, you ask, did you relate in any way to this author?
It turns out that, at her very core, Gilman struggled with the same insecurities I did as a child and still do as an adult. She wanted more than anything to be admired. She wanted to fit in, but at the same time be herself. She felt inadequate as a writer. Though she wanted to be the ANTIBRIDE and go against tradition when planning her wedding, she found that a pouffy white dress was how she was transformed into a stunning beauty. What bride doesn’t want to be the most beautiful creature in the room? (She also found that some of that wedding tradition was a necessity to keep the peace or to keep from having a cabinet full of orange plastic bowls.)
But I digress. My point is that at our center as women, we all can find a common ground despite our differences. That’s what I love about my women’s book club. We’re composed of various ages, religions (or lack of), educations, professions, and marital histories. We can disagree on book discussion issues. We can get offended or be the offender. But we all have a great respect for each other as we gravitate toward that common ground we share. It can change from month to month, book to book; but that’s what we do – we look for the binding thread each time – and we find it.
And our differences? Well, that goes back to the author of Pouffy White Dress: I wouldn’t be caught dead being married by a Wicca Priestess, but I cannot condemn her because now I know her story.