Who is a feminist? what makes a feminist? and how to discover whether an individual is feminist many questions like these pop up in your mind whenever you are surrounded by a bunch of people debating feminism. Well, feminism is a deep concept and cannot be understood in a single explanation. Occupying knowledge about feminism is a continuous process with multiple theories and perspectives. There are many times you debate with your own perspective and wonder whether you are feminist or not? Well, not to worry here’s the showbiz of some of the best feminist books that can help you to create a vision while trying to work out what being a feminist is.
Let’s understand feminism with these most valuable Feminist books:
1. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – Proto-feminist
Author: Mary Wollstonecraft
Published In: 1792
Getting inspired by the revolutionaries at the time when they demanded greater rights for mankind Proto-feminist Wollstonecraft stood for her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Independent, educated, and intellectually esteemed, Wollstonecraft proposed for equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice, and for women to define their profession.
The book clearly creates a vision for women as the natural and intellectual equals of men and deserving of equal treatment and opportunities, which explains the demand for gender equality that exists years ago as well. Though the book received with a mixture of admiration and outrage, the book is a must-read to understand the history of feminism closely.
2. A Room of One’s Own – Explore Women as Writers
Author: Virginia Woolf
An extended essay by Woolf based on a series of lectures faced literary criticism claiming women to be intrinsically less to be writers and creators than men. The book of Woolf points out the systemic education and economic failures that never led women writers of the time to establish. The extended essay appoints a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction so with the delivery of series the essay turns out to be a non-fiction. The essay is considered to be a feminist text and demands for both a literal and figural space for women writers within literary tradition patriarchy is dominating. Explaining the feminism through non-fiction is though is an indirect way, the essay explains it very clearly.
3. Feminism is for Everybody – Feminist Theory
Author: Bell Hooks
Published In: 2000
Critically acclaimed cultural author’s book is the next word to say that feminist theory is dense. Bell hooks set out in 2000 to create an educational text for those who understand from enacting media and outdated ideas about “feminazis.” The vision of tracing a beloved community is the world of all equalities that was discussed, mutual respect, and justice. The book work as a critical analysis of the most argumentative and challenging issues faced by feminist at presents such as reproductive rights, violence, race, class, and work. Hook represents all, that makes a clear vision society, to build a great future with equality.
4. Gender Outlaw – Transgender
Author: Kate Bornstein
Published In: 1994
An experience of a transgender woman coming directly to you. Non-binary may be a relatively new term to mainstream readers, isn’t it? well, non-binary writers and society have been discussing the complexities of gender issues for years. This recently revised and updated, self-described “nonbinary transfeminine diesel femme dyke” writer traverses the coating of cultural, political and social factors that play a major role in gender transformation, considering gender binary to be harmful to the society. The book with such great outbreak is a must-read to understand the term “feminism” in a unique way.
5. Bad Feminist – Women of Color
Author: Roxane Gay
Published In: 2014
A journey and evolution as a woman of color, the book is the best in taking readers to the auspicious ride in funny and insightful essays. There is no shame in accepting your priorities and choices and that is all about life. The book dealt into the irony and takes upon the state of feminism today, Gay takes on trigger warnings, the complications of loving catchy songs despite their degrading lyrics, and how symbolically media negatively impacts women and people of color. Well, these are basic things we observe but choose not to react, the books is a great metaphor of a person living two lives and without knowing it.
6. Little Women – Various Ways to be a Woman
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott, most enduring novel and loved by each for its different reason. Though feminism was not the plot of the novel when the writer interpreted March sisters in the 1860s. The book influenced generations of readers young and old, male and female and make them fall for the book. The characters with the passing age find love, pursue their art and endure loss. Little Women shows explain various ways to be a woman and showed a special way of treating feminism.
7. Men Explain Things to Me – Classic Conversation
Author: Rebecca Solnit
Published In: 2014
The essay is a take on what goes wrong in the conversation between men and women. Cleverly explaining about assuming that men know it all and women don’t. That’s not true right, but still, this was the phase women were facing. The books comprise of encounters between men and women hilariously performed and how the gender war works. Now classic essay with six perfect complements, with the examination of the writer Virginia Woolf ’s embrace of mystery, not knowing anything, the actual situation into marriage equality, and the most bitter yet important violence against women. The book is not only to understand feminism but a masterpiece to understand humanity as well.
8. Redefining Realness – Transwoman
Author: Janet Mock
Published In: 2014
No one can forget Janet Mock the most recognizable and admired trans woman. The book is nothing but her autobiography, that 2300 words turned her into an influential and outspoken public figure. The journey of growing multiracial transwomen from a poor background to one of the country’s most respected advocates offers. Making an exceptional mark and experiencing manifold ways to womanhood. This compelling memoir quest fro identity, unawareness about gender and not to be shy about it.
9. Sister Outsider – Intersectional Feminism
Author: Audre Lorde
A collection of 15 essays gives a clear voice to Intersectional feminism which has been quite popular nowadays, a manifold array of opinions participating in the conversation. It includes many famed names and author Audre Lorde brought the black, odd, feminist panorama in front at the cultural discussion in this iconic collection of essays and speeches on racism, sexism and homophobia. These essays explore the development of the author and longstanding solicitudes about routes of improving empowerment among minority women writers.
10. The Bell Jar – Mental Illness
Author: Sylvia Plath
Published In: 1963
It’s haunting when hearing about the woman’s descent into mental illness in the 1950s, the book is the semi-autobiographical story the suffering of a woman, The Bell Jar is a well-defined story of a young feminist and the journey to understand the situation of women. Plath died committing suicide after its first publication makes it much more connecting to the audience. The struggle is never easy and the ways are much strange yet you fight, fight for the wellness, for surroundings. The book is a must to read to understand the struggle that leads towards feminism.
11. The Bloody Chamber – Dark Fairy Tales
Author: Angela Carter
Published In: 1979
Who hasn’t gone through the most iconic tales which include Little Red Riding Hoods, vampiric Sleeping Beauties, a Beauty and the Beast and the wife of Bluebeard spins into the dark and sensual versions are the most amazing examples of carter’s talent that can never fade. The stories share a theme of being closely based upon fairytales or folk tales. With such mere approach and the world of fantasy to explain the reality of life can only be done by carter. The collection of 10 stories can make you explore the darkest side of the most loving fairy tales.
12. This Bridge Called My Back – The Fight
Author: Rosario Morales
Published In: 1981
This compilation array of personal essays, criticism, poetry, and visual reflection is an uncompromised definition of feminism by women of color. The book explores the gender, race, sexuality, class—shape how all connected to the world and what the world gives in return. The compilation though originally published in the ‘80s, the issues they present are still the same and the question raised at that time are still unanswered. Feminism is not only a term raised by young generation its a belief in and desire for equality between the sexes since ages.
13. The Female Eunuch – How Strong To Be
Author: Germaine Greer
Published In: 1970
An international bestseller in the ’70s is a dynamic and divisive, Greer’s landmark in history. The book became sensational with the approach for its assertion that women should consider tasting their own menstrual blood. Author’s approach towards inherent and inevitable biological discrepancies between men and women more over at the physically different is the ideology due to social conditioning. Drawing on history, literature, biology, and popular culture, the description of women’s persecution is indispensable, raised voice passionately within the social critique and still there is a lot more to change and remained unachieved.
14. The Vagina Monologues – Forbidden
Author: Eve Ensler
Published In: 1996
The name itself defines it all, though the book is a not traditional, but turned out to be a major feminist touchpoint for 20 years from its first performance. The author started having a conversation with women about their vaginas and that become The Vagina Monologues. Though women are shy they secretly love to talk about it. They never got an opportunity to be vocal about it the book has its sections dedicated to sexual consent, body image, sex work, reproduction, and more. The book is the voice of many and gave a great opportunity to know about women identities and experiences.
15. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens – Womanist
Author: Alice Walker
Published In: 1893
Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker has given more than 20 years to her comprehensive career. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens is a collection composed of 36 separate pieces, speeches, and reviews focus on both the personal and political. Walker defines the term “womanist” at the beginning of the collection as “A black feminist or feminist of color. The book is a compilation of many aspects that exists but the society is afraid to encounter such as a woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually.
The author appreciates and prefers women’s culture. These are accounts of the civil rights movement to sentiment, analyses of other authors, and her personal reflections as a black woman, mother, and feminist.
Feminism is not just a term its an advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of gender. All of us might have encountered many situations that would have developed a thought about equality not only in the queue but in education, the standard of living, empowerment but how and when will the change come, and what can we do as an individual.
The above-mentioned books are the best feminist books ever written by brilliant authors. The advocative books are not only educative or informative but they are also inspiring and stimulating. They give you a glimpse of feminazis and their approach towards feminism. Each book has numerous essays written the plethora contains anonymous books on feminism, but the above-mentioned books are the ones that were selected based on readers’ experience, popularity and knowledge an actual feminist book should contain.
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