Summary: What a Woman is Worth is a community project borne out of the widespread, profound responses to Tamara Lunardo’s Deeper Story blog post, “What’s a Girl Worth?” The original post chronicled the author’s hurtful experiences of being devalued by the physical and verbal attacks of men and by the unsympathetic and accusatory responses of women. In it she asked readers to consider, “what’s a girl worth?’ and ultimately concluded that though being a beloved daughter of the Heavenly Father establishes and affirms her great worth, she remains in need of encouragement from people who will repeat that truth for her to hear and believe. The ensuing response in the form of blog comments, tweets, and new blog posts inspired the formation of a book, What a Woman is Worth, to share such stories of encouragement with a larger audience.
Though God assures His people that He values them to the point of His own ultimate sacrifice, the messages women and girls receive from the world far too often say otherwise, and, far too often, they say it louder. When little girls are mistreated or abused by their parents, when teen girls are taunted or assaulted by their peers, when women are used as sex objects by men, they cannot help but question their worth. What a Woman is Worth will be a collection of essays that explore people’s experiences, perspectives, and thoughts on the worth of women and girls in an effort to bring about greater awareness of the cultural endemic that leaves them wounded, to offer catharsis, comfort, and community, and to give affirmation of the inestimable worth of all people. Specifically, the essays will explore ways in which women and girls are led into disbelieving their worth and offer messages that combat the devaluing of women and girls with godly truth.
We are looking for real, honest stories of women who have struggled to believe in their own worth and stories that affirm the God-made worth of women and girls. We encourage you to let it all out on the page, and share in detail both the external circumstances and the internal conflicts that arise because of it. When at all possible show – don’t tell. Give us the gritty details, the emotions, the conflict, how you felt, how you responded (good and bad), and what you learned, if applicable to your story. Although we rarely censor graphic content or language if it serves the story, we ask that you use discretion. We are NOT looking for self-help essays on solutions, professional opinions, or agendas.
NEW! Submission Update: The first call for submissions for the What a Woman is Worth book ended on Jan. 2 with a solid turn-out of over 50 essays. We are now looking for essays that take different angles on the established categories (see below) and essays from diverse points of view.
The issue of women’s worth isn’t just a straight, white, middle-class American, Christian one, yet such demographics comprise the bulk of our first submissions. We are looking for stories from women with a broader range of backgrounds because we want readers to see that the issue is pervasive, spanning and often influenced by sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture, economic status, religion, etc. To affect change, we need eyes opened wide. Importantly, we are not looking for “token” pieces from any group; we want essays that explore how their various backgrounds have influenced women’s perceptions of their worth.
The two-fold goal of What a Woman is Worth is to explore ways in which women are caused to disbelieve their worth and to offer affirmation of women’s inherent, God-made worth. Essays may include either or both of these goals, and thus far, they fall into one of five categories:
- Expectations & Pressures
- Faith & Religious Institutions
- Society & Culture
Goal 1: Uncovering the Lies
Stories from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood that shaped how a woman came to doubt her own worth via various instruments:
- parents and family members
- boyfriends/husbands/significant others
- strangers/society in general
- religious institutions/leadership/members
and via various means:
- verbal/physical/sexual abuse or degradation
Goal 2: Affirming the Truth
Stories that affirm the worth of women and girls in the following ways:
- reinforcing the truth of God’s love for and view of women/girls
- sharing experiences or lessons learned about the real worth of women/girls describing concrete ways people instill in women and girls a belief in their worth
Project Coordinator: Tamara Lunardo (tamaraoutloud @gmail.com)
Word Count: 1,000 – 2,000 words; please include word count at the top of your first page.
Format: Email an attached Word document (not a PDF) with your name saved as the file name.
NEW! Submission Deadline: March 26, 2012
Estimated Publishing Date: Summer 2012
Current List of Contributors: Tamara Lunardo, Sarah Bessey, Joy Bennett, Leigh Kramer, Annie Wolfe, Alise Wright, Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson, Renee Ronika Klug, Stephanie S. Smith, Deborah Bryan
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