Jennifer Weiner: Living in Girl World

Jennifer Weiner has topped the New York Times bestseller list with her women's fiction and, recently, her first children's book, The Littlest Bigfoot. Her newest book is Hungry Heart, a collection of essays reviewed below. Read our full interview with Weiner here.

Photo: Maarten de Boer

One of the essays in this collection--"The F Word"--recounts Weiner's daughter Lucy using the off-limits slur "fat." Her account of their mother-daughter heart-to-heart over this transgression left me wondering about her thoughts on how we should be talking to our young boys about this topic. She told me, "Here's the truth--I live in Girl World... my two daughters, and my assistant, Meghan, and Terry, who helps with the house stuff and childcare. During the summers, I'm in Cape Cod with my daughters, plus my mom and her partner (and my poor husband who, I joke, will probably get his period some day if he does this long enough). I work in publishing, which is run, largely, by women. Aside from the occasional bruising Twitter scrap, I can go weeks--months--in this utopian bubble, where women's voices are heard and respected, because women's voices are all there are.

"Then, occasionally, I get jolted back to reality. So how do we talk to boys about it? I think we start by just talking. Just the act of speaking your truth, with the implicating that your female voice and your female story matter, are both important. You make sure that what you're showing your boys is what you want them to grow up believing. If you want them to believe that there is beauty beyond a 25-year-old white, blonde, size zero, then you act like you believe it, too. If you want them to believe that women's stories matter, then you read books by women. If you don't want them to judge women based on their appearances, you can't do it, and you can't surround yourself with people who do." --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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