When I started to become interested in feminism, I didn’t know where to go for advice or what to read. Luckily, there have been so many more books published by awesome women in the last few years that we’re now spoiled for choice!
These are my top picks for navigating the world of feminism and being thoroughly entertained and educated in the process. I’m jealous that you’ll be reading these fantastic books for the very first time.
This is one of the first books I ever read about feminism, and I loved it – and her – very much! Bridget Christie is incredibly funny and very human which is the ideal combination, especially for someone like me who was new to reading books about feminism. This book is serious without being too serious but covers troubling topics like FGM all the same. It also shines a light on how small things – like farts and pens – can mean something to feminism.
I don’t want to be just another Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie fan, but I am. If you haven’t listened to her TED talks then I wholeheartedly recommend them, especially The Danger of the Single Story. This book is a short essay adapted from a TED talk but well worth owning as it is a worthwhile and highly-articulate feminist call to arms. Reading it makes you want to walk out the door and face equality head on.
If we don’t have a diversity of opinion and voices in feminism then we are lost. That’s one of the reasons Scarlett Curtis curated stories from 52 women about what feminism meant to them. This wide scope of opinion aims to reflect a range of female experience although it doesn’t account for everyone, as how can it? It’s contributors include Jameela Jamil, Skai Jackson, Adwoa Aboah, Beanie Feldstein, Lolly Adefope, Tanya Burr and Zoe Sugg amongst others. The book contributes to Girl Up, the UN women’s foundation so hopefully it will give even more girls and women a voice in the future.
While this book is not strictly about feminism, it does make some important points about intersectionality in feminism. It’s very intelligently written and I learnt so much from reading it. It’s important to learn about white privilege and institutionalised racism so this book helps you become woke in more ways than one, (if those are areas that you don’t know about). Interestingly, she discusses a disagreement with our next author, whose book I recommend, if not necessarily her actions regarding that incident.
Caroline Criado-Perez has written a book that makes you feel a tangible sense of injustice about the treatment of the world’s women but also a massive respect for them. The women that she interviews are kick-ass and fighting for equality in the face of shocking treatment. This book really opened my eyes about the experiences of women around the world and while some I was aware of, a lot of them I was not. This book will make you feel outraged and impressed in equal measure.
This first book by Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project is quite a tough read but very relatable. As a women, it made me think about my experiences with sexual assault and harassment and realise how unjust it is. I’m not sure whether I would have realised that so soon without this book. The women’s stories will make you feel sad but ultimately glad that we’re speaking out and being listened to like never before. Such an important book which highlights how men’s behaviour makes us feel so they can take responsibility and ultimately change.
7. The Vagenda
A funny book by Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett which takes aim at the media industry and it’s frankly, ridiculous, treatment of women. If you feel like the media makes you feel bad about yourself then you’re probably right, especially as the tabloid newspaper’s ‘sidebar of shame’ only exists to lampoon women. There is so much news, that isn’t news at all when it only exists to belittle women, but The Vagenda gives this rubbish the ripping it deserves.
I love Caitlin Moran and I think that she’s both fair and funny in her writing. She tackles so many every day problems that affect women in such a humorous way that this may be one of my favourite feminist books. I like the storytelling aspect of it as it isn’t just about feminism, it is as the title suggests, but about the perils of being a modern day woman.
As I see Sara Pascoe as a comedian, I didn’t realise how factual this book would be, but I learnt a lot. It is also funny and I respect how candid she is about her own experience of being a woman. This book isn’t strictly about feminism, but it is about biology and the female experience so I think it deserves to be on this list. I respect any writer that can be funny, real and factual as I know how hard it is! Sara nails it.
10. Bad Feminist
Roxanne Gay draws on her childhood in this collection of though-provoking essays. She read the Sweet Valley High books, as did I, and looks at how popular culture affected how we saw the world as women. It’s hard for all women not to relate to the fact that we compares ourselves to such impossible and exclusionary ideals. A clever and very personal take on feminism.
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