Review — Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior by Kimberly Wagner
Fierce Women encourages women who are naturally assertive to embrace that part of their natures. It presents assertiveness as an expression of God's design and suggests that women can learn to use this quality as a way of encouraging others and strengthening relationships. The book focuses on marriage, and the main dynamic is that of husband and wife, but Wagner's advice could apply to any relationship. It has a complimentarianist slant, so its effectiveness will probably depend on the reader's theology.
Kimberly Wagner's journey is a lot like mine. I am a direct, take-charge person, and I have to work hard to keep a balance between being assertive and being controlling her bossy. I agree with the author that natural "fierceness" can be a double-edged sword, and I've made a lot of the same mistakes that she has. I work at the same things she does in terms of trying to align my behavior with God and let him show me how to encourage others instead of trying to control situations.
The book is part memoir and part self-help curriculum. There are parts I found helpful, such as behavior breakdowns and list of questions to ask yourself before enaging in an argument or getting upset. I have to do this all the time, and it's helpful to know that I'm not the only one. Unfortunately, the book loses me with lots of churchy language, emphasis on gender roles, and it seems to argue that every problem can be traced back to self-centered or controlling behavior on the part of the woman — whose job it is to learn to recognize and change those behaviors.
I tried hard to like this book. I really wanted to be able to recommend it. There just aren't many mainstream Christian writers who are willing to say that assertiveness is a positive trait for women to have, especially in a marriage. If the best a woman can hope for in the church is to be an "inspiration" to men and bear the entire responsibility for her husband's behavior, there's a serious problem.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review