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Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts: Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World (How to Use the Power of Pleasure) Paperback – June 2, 2003
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About the Author
Regena (derived from the Latin for "queen") Thomashauer is the author of Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts and Mama Gena's Owner's and Operator's Guide to Men. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.
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Overall, I felt that Mama Gena's general concepts were pretty spot-on: the key to happiness is loving yourself, maintaining a state of mindfulness, and, most importantly, respecting yourself as the unique and fabulous creature you are. She correctly points out that women are typically raised with the idea that we must be sweet to everyone, not cause waves, and not be selfish in any way. Unfortunately, this leads to women, who can be tremendously powerful forces in the world, feeling unimportant, useless, and consistently disappointed and depressed. So her insistence that women shift this paradigm and begin to accept themselves as beautiful, fierce, intelligent, and capable people is absolutely true, and bless her for writing it in such an accessible way.
A lot of people giving this negative reviews are deeply offended by Mama Gena's orders to "explore yourself" physically. Come on, don't be prudes. How well do you know your man's gear, what he likes, how he likes it? You should know your own gear even better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with becoming intimately familiar with your vag. I mean come on...you bought a book that has a graphic on the front that looks like a vaginal opening. Did you really think your lady friend wasn't going to get at least a few pages dedicated to her?
All of that said, I did have some serious problems with the book.
As much as her overall messages were on-point, the specific examples she gave seemed to wildly contrast with them. She spent a great deal of time talking about how you had to love yourself DESPITE the attention (or lack thereof) of men...and then talked about approximately a zillion women who used her course to get a man. She talked about how women with all the money and treasures in the world were still unhappy, then discussed how some of her Sister Goddesses were given jewels and furs just because they really, really wanted them.
The book also seems to assume that the women reading it have boatloads of money to spend. Obviously things like getting a manicure or a facial or a massage every week or buying yourself flowers or sexy new underwear aren't the ONLY way to pamper yourself, but it would have been nice if she had considered those of us who simply don't have a lot of disposable income and provided some ideas for us.
There is a LOT about "getting and keeping a man" in this book, which really seemed to be a significant betrayal of the entire first chapter. If you read this book and you already have a man, or you aren't looking for a man, or if you're into women, you can pretty much just skip chapters 5-6, as they are all about how simple men are to figure out.
On that note, I was a little offended by the "simplicity of men" concept on a few different levels: the men in my life are every bit as complex, insecure, and sensitive as I am. The validation, love, support, and enthusiasm she claims we should expect from men is something that is very much a give-and-take in my marriage (which I would classify as being a very good marriage). Respect should go both ways. The book doesn't talk much about showing your man respect. It does talk a lot about dangling a carrot in front of your man (if I recall correctly she actually uses that metaphor at one point). Also, she said absolutely NOTHING about toxic men. I mean if you're going to talk about how to hook a good man, you'd think she would have ANYTHING AT ALL to say about the men out there who are abusers, or leeches, or emotional vampires. But there seems to be no judgment passed on men except that "they are all the same" and that a simple, four-step process will magically transform them into prince charming.
Mama Gena is not a writer. This much is clear. She has some good ideas, and I think she means well in this book, but it feels very much like this book is a transcript of one of her courses, rather than a well-thought-out tome of feminine empowerment.
Read it for the message. Read it if you feel, as I generally do, that you are somehow "lesser". Let her message of your unique fabulousness wash over you and transform you, if you like. But don't hang on her every word. Many of her words are flawed.