Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s topic is: Ten Books Every X Should Read (up to you! Examples: every history nerd, memoir lover, ballet lover, feminist, college student, etc etc.)
I’ve chosen Ten Books Every Feminist Should Read because I’m a feminist.
I’ve read a lot of feminist books in my time at university, both fiction and non-fiction, so this should be fairly easy for me.
Okay, on to the list…
This is an iconic feminist text from the early 1960s when second-wave feminism was starting to gain traction. Yes, many of the ideas are out of date but I still think that it’s a key feminist book that people should read.
I admit that this is a difficult book to read and understand but it’s well worth the read. Butler’s style of writing is far too complicated but her ideas about Gender Performance are excellent and incredibly interesting.
This is another old book but it’s really useful when considering different constructs of women and femininity. This book powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and it is an exploration of inequality and otherness.
This essay was a response to the Rights of Man that came about during the French Revolution. Wollstonecraft was a clever writer and through this book she produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. She set out arguments for an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice, and for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner. It was revolutionary in a time when revolutions were started by men.
If you haven’t read a book by bell hooks then you need to. I chose this one because I’ve read it thoroughly.
In this book hooks seeks liberation and she asks her readers to take look at feminism in a new light, to see that it touches all lives. It’s an invitation to explore all aspects of feminism and understand how feminism can help people all around the world.
The Bell Jar is an exploration of female mental health. The main character is a talented, successful, and beautiful woman who is breaking down. In this book Plath explores the darkness of the female psyche.
Herland is a utopian novel that depicts a secluded all-female society. It’s eventually invaded by men who marry some of the women. Gilman focuses on the idea that a society of women would be peaceful whereas patriarchal society causes wars. This book featured in my Women’s History Month post from March.
This novel was first published in 1899 and in it Chopin explores the construct of femininty in the USA’s deep south. It is considered an early look at female emancipation as the main character turns her back on society. She abandons her family and her ‘duties’ in search of self-discovery.
This is technically an essay but it’s available as a PDF here. It’s a really interesting read about intersectionality in feminism and how Women of Colour are treated. Feminism should always be intersectional because women from around the world face different obstacles, some much more violent than others, and it’s important to realise and understand this.
This is a book of poetry that explores the perspectives of the ‘wives’ of famous men and famous women in history, mythology, and folklore. My favourite poems are ‘Delilah’, ‘The Kray Sisters’ and ‘Pygmalion’s Bride’.
I only gave this 3.5 stars out of 5 when I first read it but I was only 16. I know that if I read it again, as a woman who is much more educated on constructs of femininity, then I’d give it a much higher rating.
Please recommend me your favourite feminist books, either fiction or non-fiction, because you can never read too much on a subject like this.