Welcome to another edition of: I’m a feminist. Now what (do I read)?! Following from where I left off, here are my top feminist books.
Beauty Queens is a bit of an unconventional pick, I know, but hear me out. It’s a beautiful satire which centres around pageant queens stranded on an island after a plane crash.
The plot is quite alright, full of drama and twists and turns, but what sets it apart is the writing style, which you either love or hate. I experienced both of these feelings intensely at different points in the book.
The satire aimed at consumerism and capitalism in general comes in the form of little product adverts scattered around the book in form of footnotes. I read this book on a Kindle, which meant each time I got to one, I could see the footnote in a pop-up. I don’t know if I’d have liked the book so much in physical form when you have to go forward to the end of the chapter to get that bit of magic.
Being a YA book, this book shows the principles of feminism without shoving it in your face. It also highlights how inequality affects girls from different cultures and social and economic backgrounds. It has diverse characters, not only culturally diverse, but also focuses on LGBTQ.
Even though it can be a bit too much for some people (395 pages?! same thing could have been achieved in about 250), I think this is the perfect book to show teenagers how inequality affects them.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Perfect for someone younger and to highlight issues, but too long and a bit silly for me personally | However, I still liked it!
Caitlin Moran might be my favourite British person (ever) who happens to have the most awesome hair in the universe as well. She’s unapologetically bonkers and I love every second of it!
We need more people like her to ask the questions the rest of us are too ashamed to ask: Why do we need brazilians? Why are we judged on out decision to have or not to have children? Why is there an obligation for women to be nice?
She tackles important issues, but does so in such a fun and crazy way that it’s impossible not to be entertained. Although this isn’t exactly my type of humour, I still appreciate it and it’s made me ask myself why aren’t I more bold when I put forward my ideas and passions.
For throughout history, you can read the stories of women who – against all the odds – got being a woman right, but ended up being compromised, unhappy, hobbled or ruined, because all around them, society was still wrong. Show a girl a pioneering hero – Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc – and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed. – Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman
All in all, a crazy book which addresses serious issues and doesn’t make you claw your eyes out by doing so. It makes you mad (like all good books on feminism should), but the fact you’re laughing at the same time compensates for your anger.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Watch Caitlin speak in an interview and you’ll want to pick up this book
Addressing every issue in the book, Jessica Valenti dives head first into what we need to discuss as women in the 21st century. From slut shaming to the institution of marriage and beauty, it covers important topics for women.
The style of writing is quite colloquial and if you read Valenti on feministing.com, then you know how this book is written. It’s an easy peasy read and that’s what proves appealing to young women who just want to know what’s behind feminism and not be preached like they’re in school again.
The main criticism of this book is exactly its most powerful appeal as well: its simplicity. If you’re familiar with feminist topics, then you’ll find this quite boring and not substantial enough. However, you should buy it for your daughter, son or cousin (if they’re under 20).
Even though I agree with the criticism of this book, I still think it has such an important place on the market. I remember being 13 and wanting to read anything that sounded controversial and made me form my own opinions. This would have been so handy (instead of Twilight)! We need those basics to go forward from and delve into this ocean of opinions, information and ideas on inequality.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Going back to basics!
I hope you enjoyed this run-through some feminist reads. I for one sure know I have to get my hands on some more serious literature when it comes to this topic, but I think I’m on the right track. Next off, I plan on reading How to build a Girl by Caitlin Moran.
If you have any suggestions of good books on feminism (novels, memoirs, fiction or non-fiction, sociology, psychology, whatever you think fit!), please leave them in a comment and I promise to give them a try.