Keep on Empowering Women in Literature!
Disclaimer: This book was kindly sent to me from Bloomsbury Publishing and was released on the 12th of February 2019.
For the people who want to read about women empowering women in a story where the women not only talk about their experiences but do something to change the fate the world has dealt them.
Blurb: Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.
I usually chat some more here but no more comments! I loved this book and I want to get to reviewing this wonderful novel, with thanks to Bloomsbury.
The book starts off with the biggest bombshell ever! Jasmine’s main source of love and motivation in her world is dying but she must keep on living. When Jasmine is bullied by both students and teachers, at a school that is supposed to put their utmost care and attention into the art of social justice, she realises that there may be some flaws in the system. Along with her best friend and partner in crime, Chelsea, who has also faced prejudice for being a woman and wanting her voice heard; the two of them make it their mission to not stop until their voices are heard. Until something is done about the way women are treated in their society, starting with the school.
The message that this book is sending to young teens is amazing. Awareness is placed of the impact people of colour are having/ have had in the world and the teens are encouraged to use their passions to stand up for what they believe in! This is what the Summer challenge was all about. Jasmine’s group of friends combine each of their own unique talents to create the perfect campaign for women’s rights.
The Cast: Jasmine the writer and actress; Chelsea the Poet; Nadine the stylist and part-time D.J.; and Isaac the artist.
There were things mentioned in this novel, everyday influences on women pointed out and dissected of things that even I remained blissfully unaware of. I had become so used to seeing these things in magazines, advertisements, television shows, on the side of buildings, trains and trams; I was blinded. Not even realising that these messages are there, but still taking them in makes me almost think of degrading mass media advertisements as subliminal messages to suppress us women; weaken us to something lesser. Keep us compliant and in our place. Watson and Hagan opened my eyes to these messages.
The only thing that I found off about the novel was the school that the girls attended and how it almost felt too fake like it was a school exaggerated to love social justice more than life for the sake of the story. I say this because my high school is very into social justice and helping out the community, but they don’t force it upon students (except for one day of every year). I personally couldn’t imagine a school where after school activities are mandatory when they will obviously impede on homework time. Which, let’s face it, is the main focus of many schools.
The hardest thing about this review is doing it spoiler free. There are so many things that I learnt from this book, but it spoils half the story and I can’t have that happen! Although on the other hand, doing this review spoiler free leaves the review shorter and more appealing to read.
The best thing I learnt about racism from this book is the various stereotypes that are placed on black women in movie roles. These are all defined in the book, but as I was reading through the list, I now look a little differently on the women of colour in the book, ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kid. I think a little more on how much of their characters were shaped by society’s view of women back when the novel was written, and if they would be any different now?
The “I resolve” statements had to have been my favourite take away from the novel. It is a method of reflecting and goal setting, that I can realistically use to better myself in my daily life. For instance, instead of saying “my new year’s resolution is…” you say “I resolve to…” It’s more personal and is almost like a promise to yourself.
An example of my own would be; “I RESOLVE TO LOVE MYSELF.”
From the poems in this book, I have been inspired to revisit my old poems and start writing more of them. They all stem from my heart. A pained one works well, but a heart that is experiencing an abundance of strong emotions produces the best poems. That’s where Jasmine and Chelsea’s writings came from.
Women banding together, standing up for each other and guiding the next generation of activists to do what they wish they could. Even the ones that seemed too cool for school took part, knowing that this is their fight too.
We have made it to the most bittersweet of endings. But it never really ends, does it? Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan started off a wonderful discussion in hopes that their story is shared, and inspire actions to be taken to end the story they started telling. I hope one day Jasmine and Chelsea can be written into a world where they are not judged for their body size, type or gender. Where their opinions will be heard, and they can speak up, stand up and rise up!
This story will continue until we let it. Until we create equality for women; and until young boys are taught how to treat their female counterparts with respect. Until the older men of society learn that there is more than one gender on this planet. Watch Us Rise will be a story that never ends! Girls will continue to stage rallies and walk-outs. We will continue to share our stories and speak up, speak out, make our voices heard. Until our bodies stop being a selling point for products and companies cease to put us down to bring them up, we will rally and we will continue to rise!
★ Rating ★
I rated this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 stars) because it dealt with real-world issues and showed their impact on children as young as fourteen, and how these high schoolers can take some real-world action, instead of just creating a discussion. If these girls can do it, then so can us adults.
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With Love Bree xx
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