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Girl Power

January 28, 2021

A little over a week ago, for the first time in the almost 250 years history of our country, we installed a woman into the second highest office in the land. We also had a chick who can kick playing football at Vanderbilt. To celebrate, I want to offer items that show gutsy women doing gutsy things. It took us 100 years after getting the vote to elect a woman to the office of Vice President, and I say it’s time to party!

You can't talk about gutsy women without mentioning Dolly. From her Imagination Library to helping families devastated by the wildfires in East Tennessee, to donating $1 Million dollars to Vanderbilt's COVID vaccine research, Dolly has become the patron saint of Tennessee. But her journey wasn't easy and she had to put up with a lot of sexism and discrimination to get where she is. If you are looking to be inspired by a powerful woman, look no further.

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole last fall with Hillary Clinton, but this book was my favorite of hers. It features many, many strong women making a difference around the world. It’s not hard to be inspired by Chinese doctors and African activists and authors and athletes of all nationalities. If you get the audio version, Hillary and Chelsea will read it to you, but if you get the book it has great pictures. Maybe split the difference and get both. 

I had no idea what to expect with this one and did not know Glennon’s history. How she’d been an evangelical author who wrote about keeping her family together after her husband had an affair. How she recently revamped her entire lifestyle and family by divorcing her husband and marrying retired soccer player Abby Wambaugh. Her book is very positive and uplifting throughout, even when life gets hard. One of my favorite quotes of hers is, “We can build our lives from the inside out. We can stop asking what the world wants from us and instead ask ourselves what we want from our world.” Glennon reminds me a little bit of Elizabeth Gilbert, who makes a few cameos here, and who I also recommend.

As a MacArthur Fellow, Nigerian author, activist, and speaker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written several different books and essays about feminism. I like the idea of this one the best. Her friend, Ijeawele, had written her a letter to ask Adichie how to raise her daughter as a feminist. Adichie offers her 15 suggestions starting with, “Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only.’ Not ‘as long as.’ I matter equally. Full stop.” 

I used to work in the music business and it was hard out there for a chick. Music journalist Lisa Robinson details her decades (she started in the 70s) of work in the music biz, talking about all the women artists she interviewed over her tenure. This book came to life because a male executive once made the comment to Robinson that no female artist had a number one hit after becoming a mother. No shrinking violet, Robinson quickly pointed out that both Adele and Beyonce have, just to name a few. Girls of any age can rock, and these are some of their stories.

If books aren't your gusty thing, how about a movie? In 1970, the Miss World pageant was being held in London. A group of gutsy women decided to protest the pageant's sexist ideals - and thus the Women's Liberation Movement was born. This same pageant is also notable because it was the first time a POC was crowned the winner. Miss Grenada, Jennifer Hosten, went on to become a Canadian diplomat after being crowned, and she eventually returned to the pageant to work as a director for the Miss World Caribbean events.

Congratulations to Vice President Kamala Harris, cheers for Sarah Fuller, and huzzah for all the strong women out there doing their thing. Glass ceiling? What glass ceiling? Queen B was right. Who runs the world?


Happy breaking new ground…
:) Amanda

PS Boys feel free to party with us. Inspiration and success are not gender specific. This is a celebration for everyone.

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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