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Safe Healthy Empowered
Author: Rebecca St. James and Lynda Hunter Bjorklund
Publisher: Tyndale Publishing http://www.tyndale.com
Length: 218 pp.
Singer Rebecca St. James and writer Lynda Hunter Bjorklund (“Focus on the Family,” “Family Life Today”) take on the modern myths surrounding womanhood in SHE: Safe Healthy Empowered. S. James provides the insight of growing up in today’s society, and fighting against the world’s stereotype of what a young woman should be, while Bjorklund shares the benefits of having fought the wars, going through divorce, and the effects of having lived through the age of feminism.
Much of the book attacks the media image of women: That she must be beautiful, thin, sexy, successful, string, outgoing, and independent. The authors debunk this idea by illustrating God’s intent for women: that strength and beauty come from emulating Him, and being who He has made you to be.
Each chapter closes with a “SHEism,” a summation or “point to ponder” for the reader. Some of these seem obvious, especially when the authors just spent twenty to thirty pages making that very point, but it is not unlike the “signposting” technique used by most preachers, the concept of “if you don’t remember anything I said, remember this.”
Topics such as eating disorders, control, surrender to God, establishing boundaries, proper protection, and mentoring are addressed. The authors are particularly string is showing where feminism has failed to produce its desired results, and how it has contributed to the erosion of the family structure in today’s world.
As an adult male, reading SHE provided some insight as to what women want, expect, and need in order to feel secure. Women reading this will find instruction, empathy, and unflinching details of experiences that did not go the way the authors had hoped they would. Their plan is for you to learn from their mistakes, and the mistakes of others they have known.
Tyndale is also publishing a junior version of SHE, aimed at teenagers, to prepare them for what’s ahead, and attempt to de-program the images they are bombarded with each day. The concept here is a good one, while its execution may be slightly incomplete. SHE should be used as a springboard to further study, and drawing women closer to God’s ideal.
Brian A. Smith 3/6/2005