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Superwomen only exist in fiction

Becoming Super Woman: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Go from Burnout to Balance by Nicole Lapin, BenBella Books, US $26.95, Pp 320, September 2019, ISBN 978-1946885937

If you are reading this book or this review, you likely aspire to be a superwoman or want to know why you have failed to become one. In a world where superman rules, it is quite natural for women to idolize superwomen. But it is rare that women realize why they idealize superwomen. In Becoming Super Woman, Nicole Lapin explains the origin story like this, “Superman started saving the world. Then he saved Superwoman. And, then, Superwoman went on to save the world, multiple times — all while strutting in sassy red boots and remaining perfectly coiffed. So, it’s basically a tale of a woman who was saved by a dude and then went right into saving everyone. Never complaining. Never missing a beat. Is that truly who you want to be, what you want to strive for?” She answers that she does not want to be such a superwoman but a Super Woman. She writes, “That space in between is important. That space allows me to define, on my own terms, what being ‘super’ means for me and my goals without the pressure and limitations that come with the make-believe one-word word.”

Nicole Lapin argues that becoming a superwoman is not the solution to women’s problems. She says women’s aspiration to become one is rooted in certain societal background. There is no quick fix. She says that, in fact, there is no external solution to an internal problem. Many women tend to think that they are OK “just muscling through your problems as they arise or maybe even think you’ve found balance.” She argues that balance is not something you create, actively participate in, and practice all the time. And ‘not drowning’ is not the same as ‘swimming.’ The space between ‘hanging in there’ and being truly happy is where the real work is. She writes, “My space was a pretty big one. But, if I could close that gap, then anyone can, including you.”

In a survey of women, Nicole Lapin found out that 82 percent of respondents have experienced burnout – and 89 percent have felt they were on the verge of burnout. 49 percent have experienced a legitimate breakdown – and 71 percent have felt like they were close to experiencing one. 88 percent of women said there had been a time when mental or emotional stress affected their work. Almost 50 percent of respondents feel anxious four or more days a week. 57 percent said that their life did not feel balanced. 67 percent feel the pace of their life is sustainable. This is surely not a happy situation, and this is where the problem lies.

Why is this happening to so many smart, successful and strong women? Nicole Lapin says that these women’s stories are quite similar. These women feel like they have to achieve more than others especially men, be perfect, and power through whatever is going on. They are striving for balance in a fast-paced, hyper-connected world where we feel like we have to apologize if we take more than an hour to reply to an email. Women are working like crazy. They are burning out. Nicole Lapin argues that superwomen only exist in fiction. However, super women exist in real life. It’s time to kill the idea that you have to be Superwoman. It’s time to become a Super Woman. That is the only way to take control of your life and outshine others in real life.

If you are a woman who feels burnt out because of work and society’s pressure, Becoming Super Woman is what you need to read. But you can surely become a super woman and Nicole Lapin tells you how you can become one. She tells you how you can take care of yourself and channel your inner strengths to your advantage in life and in your career. Becoming Super Woman tells you superwomen do not exist in the real world and aspiring to become one will only burn you out more instead of bringing peace of mind. Few authors write so beautifully on women issues as Nicole Lapin. This is a book every woman — and man — must read.

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