Book review: ‘Iron Butterflies’ heavy on injustice |

Book review: ‘Iron Butterflies’ heavy on injustice

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I love reading women’s – and men’s – stories of success, so when I heard about “Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World,” I looked forward to inspiring biographies about how women are changing the world.

While Birute Regine, author of “Iron Butterflies” includes at least 50 successful women’s stories, ranging from all walks of life, the book is a little heavy handed on pointing out all of the injustices women have faced, and still face in the world. Some people love to educate themselves more on that particular topic, but for me, such a focus diminishes the true and powerful force of women in the world.

Regine presents the gender biases in a format, which, based on chapter titles, looks like it will emphasize self-growth. Chapters titled Pursue Your Passion, Close the Gender Gap, Heal the Hidden Wound and Shedding Self-Imposed Limitations seem to promise redemption – and they do, to a point. But overall, I walked away with a heavy, rather than light and motivated feeling. Regine weighs her book down by writing extensively about the problem, or the grounded caterpillar, rather than the freely flying butterfly.

Of course, Regine does inject her writings with strong female role models, praise of feminine traits and ways women continue to empower themselves. But, I wanted the overall tone of the book to focus more on the strong, “iron” butterfly and less on the struggle of coming out of the cocoon. Though this is my personal preference, the book’s promotional material, including press releases and the back cover, make the book’s focus sound as though “Iron Butterflies” takes for granted readers know that throughout history, women have struggled with issues of equality, so it moves on to add strength to a new generation of books that motivate women by relaying other women’s story of triumph. The back cover asserts: “‘Iron Butterfly’ convincingly demonstrates how traditionally feminine skills and values – inclusion, empathy, relational awareness, emotional strength, and seeking a holistic perspective – can be applied to empower more people than ever before.” And, it delivers on that end – but in-between, there’s a whole lot of regurgitating the problem.

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