‘psyches are shaped in a society structured with patriarchy’
‘How to Think Like a Woman’, is a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, by Regan Penaluna, using her love of philosophy as a methodology. The intriguing title surely begs the question, ‘If I am a woman, do I not think like one?’ Penaluna quickly points out, ‘psyches are shaped in a society structured with patriarchy’, and therefore opens a Pandora’s Box of questions that challenges the reader to really examine their life: is it truly their’s or has it been so engendered, that they’re ignoring parts of themselves in order to be taken seriously and legitimised?
Regan Penaluna always had an interest in philosophy, finding it as a way to distill life and discover deeper meaning. However, at some point in her graduate studies, she realised that the discourse she’d digested and purported, was, in fact, a masculinised framework that underpinned much of societal thoughts and norms. Galvanised, Penaluna sought out the feminine philosophical voice. ‘How to Think Like a Woman’ follows four such women and, further, gives us a short history of philosophy. As Penaluna reveals the women’s thoughts and vulnerabilities, trying to find their voice within society and amongst peers, so too does Penaluna journey towards finding and accepting herself. Women’s voices have always echoed throughout history, and despite often being marginalised and even erased, they resound loudly enough to inspire.
‘How to Think Like a Woman’ is a fascinating read, not only regarding the women who were brave enough to question societal norms and speak out for equality in education and rights, but also as a general guide to philosophical theories and their development. Penaluna’s personal story reads as a cathartic journey toward self-belief and contentment. Together, the theoretical and the practical meld to create a thought-provoking book.
Thank you NetGalley and Grove Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.
14 March 2023