Top 5 Feminist Books You Haven't Yet Read But Definitely Should
Here are five awesome titles to add to your own personal back-to-school reading list:
1. Enlightened Sexism by Susan Douglas
In this great pop-academic read, Douglas traces the "girl power" movement of 1990s media (as seen in figures like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Janet Reno) and how it ended up creating a subtle but dangerous message that the work of feminists has all been fully achieved already. If you've ever been frustrated by a conversation with someone who claims that "we don't need feminism anymore" because "women are already fully equal to men," then you'll want to read Douglas's argument about where this idea came from.
2. The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan
OK, so you've done your feminist historical homework. You've read The Feminine Mystique, The Second Sex--you've even gone all the way back to Mary Wollstonecraft's 1792 A Vindication on the Rights of Woman. But why not go even farther back--back to 1405, when Christine de Pizan made a feminist argument nearly 600 years before feminism ever existed? In this landmark text, Pizan builds an allegory city where women are safe from gendered violence, oppression, and inequality, all with the help of her feminist fairy godmothers Reason, Rectitude, and Justice. Bonus points if you teach this text to your students--here are some ideas on how to do this.
3. The Woman Reader by Belinda Jack
While you're on that history kick, settle in with Jack's book for a deliciously thorough history of women's literacy. Starting with prehistoric times and continuing all the way to the present, Jack documents struggles for women's literacy, including censorship and education battles, and the daring acts of countless women who stood on the forefront as advocates for women readers.
4. An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
Gay's Bad Feminist got tons of great attention, and for good reason--but don't overlook her novel, An Untamed State. This gripping narrative of a woman kidnapped in Haiti and held hostage by a gang of men also contains an unexpected love story. It's a tale of survival, courage, trauma, and recovery that also delves into issues of class and immigration. Once you start, you really won't be able to put it down, so block off a day for this suspenseful read.
5. Plot by Claudia Rankine
You read Rankine's fierce, ground-breaking Citizen. But what about Plot? The innovative, experimental forms of this book of poems explore pregnancy and childbirth in ways that will demand your full emotional and intellectual engagement. Check out this lively text for a cutting-edge, avant-garde approach to an age-old topic.