A book titled What a Woman Is Worth was released this week. It’s a compilation of stories from various women describing their journey to discovering their own worth. It’s complied by Tamara Lunardo (aka Tamara Out Loud) and I wrote a chapter that’s in it.
My chapter is titled, From Under a Bonnet to Freedom. I didn’t pick the title, but it fits my story. It’s a synopsis of my struggle to recognize my own worth as a woman, which has been an issue from day one due to a domineering/controlling father who saw women as second-rate and because I spent many years in communities where women didn’t have equality, starting with my mennonite childhood and continuing in the traditional evangelical community.
I open my chapter with a scene from one of the many extended family dinners we had as I was growing up.
Our intense game of dodgeball is interrupted by a call to dinner. My cousins and I are hungry, so we stop the game knowing we’ll play again after the meal.
We noisily file into the house already filled with dozens of aunts, uncles and other cousins. The kitchen counter is covered with serving dishes filled with familiar PA Dutch food. An extension table surrounded by chairs stretches through the kitchen into the adjoining living room.
I’m starving — but instead of being able to eat and chat with most of my fellow dodgeball players, I have to stand by watching and serving them.
My extended family is too large to all eat a family-style meal at one time, so we eat in shifts. The normal practice is for the men and boys to eat first and the women and girls to serve them. After the males finish eating, the men find comfortable chairs in the parlor and the boys return to the dodgeball game.
Before the women can eat, we wash the plates, silverware and cups. After the table is reset, the serving dishes are retrieved from the oven, where they’ve been put to keep the food warm.
The women in my family are a fun, lively bunch and we chat as we eat, but half my mind is on the dodgeball game happening outside without me.
This was my world in 1975 and I accepted this type of thing as normal because it was all I knew. – Janet Oberholtzer in What is a Woman Worth
What a Woman is Worth is divided into five sections covering relationships, abuse/healing, society, expectations and faith. So if you or a woman you know has struggled with recognizing her own worth, this is a great book for you/her.
Get you paperback or Kindle copy here: What a Woman is Worth.