The struggles within womanhood extend far deeper than pay gaps, sexual harassment and the feminine beauty ideal. There are things we have to deal with on a daily basis that wouldn't even occur to a lot of men; things that we have grown so used to that we wouldn't even be able to put our fingers on them ourselves if it wasn't for writers like Cecelia Ahern.

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Today (November 1), the Irish novellist - and author of PS, I Love You - unveils a brand new book of short stories entitled Roar. It's a compilation of thirty modern fables dealing with themes of ageing, marriage, embarrassment, and the stresses of everyday life for women. Named for the Helen Reddy lyric "I am woman, hear me roar", it's one of the most uplifting feminist works of recent times.

These contemporary folk tales are almost in the vein of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, easily consumed within an hour or two. Some will have you crying with laughter, others crying with rage, and - more often than not - crying with the sadness of every woman who has to suffer in ways that most men cannot imagine.

We have stories like The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared exploring the visibility of older women and The Woman Who Found Bite Marks on Her Skin about the feelings of guilt "eating you alive" as one tries to juggle motherhood, marriage and a career all at the same time. These are things we can all relate to - or most likely will do at some stage in our lives.

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash
Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Then there are tales like The Woman Who Was Kept on the Shelf which deals with the concept of trophy wives (quite literally) and The Woman Who Grew Wings which follows a Muslim refugee who learns to rise above the negative attention she receives in the school playground. Not all women will have to face such obstacles in their lifetimes, but that doesn't mean we can't sympathise and learn to raise people up who are struggling through them.

The more light-hearted titles include my personal favourite: The Woman Who Was Swallowed Up by the Floor and Who Met Lots of Other Women Down There Too. It's all about that feeling every one of us gets whenever we do something incredibly embarrassing or inappropriate. Sure, we all know we can laugh these things off in the future, but us katagelophobes definitely need to be reminded in the moment that momentary humiliation does not mean the end of the world.

"Roar has been my passion project for some time", Cecelia said. "I was so connected and addicted to the stories that I became 'The Woman Who Couldn't Stop Writing 'The Woman Who' Stories'. These women are relatable, and their conflicts are real."

Learning to communicate with others and accept ourselves just the way we are are lessons that weave their way through these beautiful narratives. Of course, not all the themes here are exclusive to women, but that's exactly what makes a collection like this so relevant.

When it comes to it, men and women are not so very different from each other. And that's precisely why it's worth fighting for equality. After all, we're much stronger together as a human race than we are divided.

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