Mina Samuels is a “writer, editor, reader, athlete, fellow traveler, movie-holic, vegetarian, and Canadian,” in her own description. She is the author of Run Like A Girl (Berkeley, CA: 2011), a book aimed at women, though I enjoyed it as well.
“Part locker-room confidential, inspiring manifesto, and personal memoir, the book shows us, through stories of nearly a hundred women, how the confidence women build by participating in sports—whether it’s running or rock climbing, swimming or yoga—can transform our lives in profound ways. Lively, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking, in the candid stories, which fill its pages, these women share how sports helped them overcome life’s obstacles and achieve the happiness and success they’d been running toward.”
Initially I struggled to become invested in this book, as it seems clearly written for women in sort of a clubby way (clubby like women are an exclusive club). However, I wanted to finish this book in the hopes of understanding women’s attitude towards sports better and possibly interact with my wife and daughter in a different way.
From an early age, girls are culturally pushed to act and look a certain way. My wife and I already see this when we overhear the conversations between the girls during carpool duties.
“”It isn’t an easy thing for a girl to grow up to be a woman, not nearly as easy as it is for her to grow up to remain a girl. You can spend a lifetime in this world acting winsome and blaming your troubles on PMS and men. But womanhood—that takes guts.” (Shawn Hubler, Los Angeles Times)
My daughter is lucky in that she has an amazing role model at home. My wife is strong and assertive and capable and smart, and also sexy and motherly and feminine. She not only takes care of us as a family, but also runs and volunteers at school and writes a blog. That’s great fortune for our whole family.
Not every woman has an example to follow, to make the leap from being a girl to becoming a woman. Books such as Run Like A Girl can be that example. Through stories about herself and other women, Samuels explores the need for strength and balance in a woman’s life (though obviously men need it as well), and shows how sports can make that possible.
“There have been times after doing something really, really hard when I feel like I could eat impossible for breakfast!”
I’d recommend this book to anyone, but especially to fathers who have daughters – this is almost a manual for things to look out for, things not to do, and ways to support her path to womanhood.
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