Photo: Pexels
Culture

13 Feminist Books EVERYONE Should Read

Everyone should be a feminist. To be one simply means that you believe that women are equal to men, which we are. The fact that the topic is still up for debate, and that we still have to fight for this recognition is incredible. Yet here we are.

Thankfully, there are feminist books that will help inform everyone about what feminism is, the history of the fight for women, and how women of different races, backgrounds, and religions have fought for equality. These books on feminism are must-reads, so we can understand and embrace intersectional feminism, and work together to fight injustice. Add them to your fall reading list, share them with loved ones, and spread the word.

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique is Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking 1963 book on what it means to be a woman. The bestseller is credited with launching second-wave feminism, and questioned why women were supposed to be happy solely being mothers, wives, and caretakers of the home. This is a classic in the library of feminist books.

Available at amazon.com, $8.23

Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds, by Gina Rippon

A newer publication that takes a look at how women and men are often separated by false information is Gina Rippon’s Gender and Our Brains. In it, the professor of cognitive neuroimaging utilizes neuroscience to uncover the truth about women and men’s brains.

Available at penguinrandomhouse.com, $17

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, by Audre Lorde

View this post on Instagram

“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”⠀ ― Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches ⠀ 🖤 ⠀ Given what's been coming out recently with female authors speaking out against the abuse they have suffered at the hands of male colleagues, more angry debates about the response (or lack thereof) to the ongoing pandemic and how communities are (or aren't) acting to keep people safe, and the ongoing struggle Black and other POC face in being seen and getting justice and equality in our world, I thought this was a good time to share some of Audre Lorde's words. No question, just a reminder to keep working toward positive change, my friends.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ #bibliophile #bookaddict #bookcommunity #sisteroutsider #booklover #booknerd #bookworm #bookwormsunite #readingismagic #readersofinstagram #bookdragon #bookquotes #prettybooks #bookish #readingislife #booklove #blackauthorsmatter #blackstoriesmatter #roses #readinglist #bookstagram #igreads #bookflatlay #readingislife #writersofinstagram #writingcommunity #authorsofinstagram #booksbooksbooks #nonfiction #speeches

A post shared by Chelscey, aka C.E. Clayton (@chelscey) on

Audre Lorde is a Black lesbian poet and feminist writer, whose book, Sister Outsider, is a must-read feminist book. It contains 15 essays and speeches that explore the topics of racism, ageism, homophobia, sexism, and class. Sister Outsider is often required reading in many universities.

Available at amazon.com, $12.99

We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Another feminist book you should add to your reading list is We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The New York Times bestseller is a short read, adapted from Chimamanda’s TEDx talk bearing the same name, and which breaks down inclusive feminism in modern times.

Available at target.com, $7.99

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot, by Mikki Kendall

Mikki Kendall addressed a huge issue in the feminist movement in her book Hood Feminism. The feminism movement has often not included the narratives and struggles of non-Anglo women, and that means that the feminism movement hasn’t truly been complete. Hood Feminism speaks on this through Mikki Kendall’s own experiences, shared in the form of personal essays.

Available at amazon.com, $15.62

Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism

View this post on Instagram

Is your feminism intersectional? What have you done to make it more well-rounded? How is your fight for equality inclusive? – I think many of us who consider ourselves progressive can forget that just because we’re fighting for progress, doesn’t mean we are doing it in a way that benefit’s everyone. Advancing interests for the privileged isn’t a fight for equality. – This book club book has been on my list for a while, and coincided with #NonfictionNovember. I felt like each essay was the perfect length and the topic variety was good, but I was definitely left wanting more from a few of the topics. – #books #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #vsco #vscocam #vscobooks #bibliophile #bookpics #readersofinstagram #chicagoreads #bookaddict #readeverywhere #vscoreads #bookphotography #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookworm #bookreview #coolgirlsread #bookster #feminist #walltraveled #canweallbefeminists #bookclub

A post shared by Emma (@bookstagr.em) on

Good books on feminism won’t just introduce the topic of feminism, or trace its history. They will challenge how the movement has worked–or hasn’t, who it’s included–or hasn’t, and will make you think. Can We All Be Feminists? is such a book. Essays by 17 writers of different backgrounds offer a multifaceted perspective of feminism and what that means.

Available at amazon.com, $13.96

Women, Race, & Class, by Angela Davis

View this post on Instagram

Livro: Mulher, raça e classe – Ângela Davis . 🌹 “Temos que falar sobre libertar mentes tanto quanto sobre libertar a sociedade”. . Mulheres, raça e classe de Angela Davis é um dos livros mais importantes para compreender o feminismo interseccional. Nessa obra, Davis analisa as estruturas racistas, sexistas e classistas que ordenam nossa sociedade, considerando como essas questões se entrelaçam. . A partir disso, podemos perceber como as opressões relacionadas às questões de gênero, raça e classe se apresentam em diferentes formas e nuances, sem necessariamente que uma se sobreponha a outra, porque, na verdade, se intercalam. . Um dos aspectos mais importantes desse livro talvez seja a crítica de Davis aos movimentos feministas lideradas por mulheres brancas que se mostraram incapazes de compreender as diferentes realidades e demandas das mulheres negras. . Davis aponta, por exemplo, como em muitos momentos o movimento sufragista esteve tão concentrado em conquistar mais direitos paras as mulheres brancas que ignoraram as outras formas de opressões que coexistiam naquele mesmo momento histórico. Sobre a autora Angela Davis é filósofa, professora emérita do departamento de estudos feministas da Universidade da Califórnia e ícone da luta pelos direitos civis. Como ativista, integrou o grupo Panteras Negras e o Partido Comunista dos Estados Unidos. Foi presa na década de 1970 e ficou mundialmente conhecida pela mobilização da campanha “Libertem Angela Davis”. Foi candidata a vice- presidente da República em 1980 e 1984. Autora de vários livros. . #angeladavis #mulheresracaeclasse #womenraceandclass #Book #Books #Bookaholic #ABookaholicGirl #bookshelf #Instabook #instareading #lendo #bookish #instalibros #ilovereading #libros #instalivros #bookstagram #instaread #LoveBooks #AmoLivros #AmoLer #boitempo #VamosLer #8M #racismo #leiamulheres #BlackLivesMatter ✊🏾

A post shared by Bel dos livros📖❤️ (@leitura_que_liberta_) on

Angela Davis’ 1981 book, Women, Race, & Class is a necessary feminist book every self-proclaiming feminist needs to read. It traces the history of the women’s liberation movement, pointing out that it has often been both racist and classist.

Available at bookshop.com, $15.59

The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions, by Paula Gunn Allen

To be a true feminist, you need to understand a feminine perspective from as many different identities and experiences as possible. Including that of Indigenous cultures. Paula Gunn Allen’s The Sacred Hoop shares the role that females have had in Indigenous traditions in what is now the U.S.

Available at amazon.com, $24.25

Bad Feminist, by Roxanne Gay

Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist is a book of essays in which the author speaks on feminism, criticism, and politics. She speaks on experiences of her life, on how it’s okay to love the color pink, and her thoughts on pop culture. This newer book quickly became a must-own for all those with feminist books in their library.

Available at powells.com, $16.99

The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir

View this post on Instagram

It really is coming to an end, my reading of The Second Sex. I have something like 150 pages to go. This book is a mothership. The magnum opus by the one and only Mme Simone de Beauvoir. It takes me one full year to dedicate to the reading and the learning. It sure is a reading of a lifetime. Fear no more to the thick, dense, feminist philosophy reading. Just a little sharing for those who are planning to approach The Second Sex in English, there are two translate versions (as far as I know), the latest is the orangy cover, translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, and then the vintage one is translated by H.M. Parshley. I don't know what the critics say about the two versions but I personally own and started reading the two parallelly and I do prefer the vintage translation version by H.M. Parshley better because it is much easier to read and comprehend and the biggest difference I see is the cohesiveness of the translation. That said, the latest version is, of course, an amazing work of translation as well but the vintage one got me with the tone and emotion that kept me engaged through and through. The extra is that grand cover design with one of Matisse's masterpiece. I propose that maybe you can read the two for 10 to 20 pages and pick the style that you like. Anyhow, what best for all of us is to read is the original French version. Le Deuxième Sexe, Simone de Beauvoir, 1949 . 📷Summer 19, Sardegna

A post shared by Curiousity🌞 (@curious.inc) on

Another old school look at feminism comes in the form of Simone de Beauvoir’s book The Second Sex. Published in 1949, it looks at how women have been treated throughout history. It is separated into two volumes: Facts and Myths, and Lived Experience.

Available at betterworldbooks.com, $4.48

Men Explain Things To Me, by Rebecca Solnit

View this post on Instagram

I heard Rebecca Solnit read parts of Men Explain Things to Me earlier this year, and I truly didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the situation until now. I’ve been meaning to pick this one up for a while and decided to read more than half in one sitting (or lying down) when I couldn’t fall asleep. Was that the best idea on a workday? No. Was I fully enraged at 2am and cursing the world? Absolutely (though it was 💯 worth it!). Unfortunately, this is a library copy so I couldn’t add sticky notes to my favorite passages (I’m too much of a wimp to mark up my beloved bbys!), which means I’m for sure adding this to my Christmas list 😬 Also, even though this copy is battered, I take solace in the notion that so many others have loved and devoured this book as well. . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #bookworm #booknerd #amreading #bookaddict #booklife #bookhaul #booklove #igbooks #instabooks #igreads #shelfie #bookish #instaread #currentlyreading #goodreads #booksofinstagram #rebeccasolnit #menexplainthingstome

A post shared by Soyolmaa | Соёлмаа 🇲🇳 (@newbookontheblock) on

Credited with coining the term “mansplaining,” Rebecca Solnit dedicates seven essays to exploring misogyny, the exploitation of women, violence against women, and of course, the issue of mansplaining. It sheds light on topics many bury away and don’t speak up enough about.

Available at thriftbooks.com, $13.55

A Vindication of the Rights of Women, by Mary Wollstonecraft

View this post on Instagram

7/10⁣⁣⁣⁣ Long story short: In this short book, Mary Wollstonecraft proposes her argument for the education of women and increased female contribution to society at a time where the phrase 'feminist' did not exist. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Thoughts: Interesting fact, probably not entirely relevant, but Wollstonecraft is Mary Shelley's mother (author of Frankenstein) – I just find this fascinating for some reason! Anyway, published in 1792, Wollstonecraft's 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' is decades ahead of its time. This is, arguably, the founding text of Western Feminism; and so, a pivotal read for everyone. However, unsurprisingly, the length, language and style of writing can get a bit tedious (but this is a product of the time); there's a lot of style and verse when you just want the point to be made concisely. Nevertheless, Wollstonecraft's attitude and forthrightness is incredibly prevalent when reading this. It is definitely a seminal piece of work – one that has had an especially profound impact on the literary world. If you can get over the language/stye of writing, it is definitely worth a read. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ #ANovelPage

A post shared by A Novel Page (@anovelpage) on

This feminist gem takes us back to 1792, when Brit Mary Wollstonecraft had the guts (the ovaries!) to write and publish a book on feminist philosophy. It is an antique clap back to the published work of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord’s report that spoke about limiting women’s education. It is a great look at what feminism, and feminists looked like in the 18th century.

Available at secondsale.com, $3.88

Fat is a Feminist Issue, by Susie Orbach

Part of feminism is recognizing and dismantling the things that are set up to make women feel like failures and less than. Like the idea of being “fat.” Men don’t have the pressure or expectation to be a certain size, while women are drilled with the idea of looking a specific way from the time we are little girls. Fat is a Feminist Issue, by Susie Orbach looks at this problem, and how it creates a bad relationship between women and food.

Available at amazon.com, $6.25