Top Ten Tuesday – 12th April 2016


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…

1. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

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 Yes, many of the ideas are out of date but I still think that it’s a key feminist book that people should read.

2. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler 

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.

3. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

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.

4. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

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.

5. Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

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.

6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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.

7. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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.

8. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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.

9. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

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.

10. The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy

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.

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19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – 12th April 2016

      1. I think that the last thing I read by Plath was Ariel and I loved it. I haven’t read Woolf in ages though. I should probably re-read some of her stuff when I get chance.


      2. Yeah. I loved it. Gilman is a fantastic writer.

        If you’re into science fiction/speculative fiction I’d also recommend The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin. It’s short but harrowing.

        Hmm, Flannery O’Connor wrote in the Southern Gothic genre and her short stories are fantastic.

        Then there’s Atwood, Alice Walker, and Kate Chopin too. That’s all I can remember.


      3. I’m glad. That’s one of the best short stories of anything I’ve ever read. Just astonishingly brilliant. Cool list. That includes The Story of an Hour I hope ha. Have you read any Dorothy Parker, Dorothy L Sayers, Katherine Mansfield or Elizabeth Taylor?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yep, that’s the Chopin story that I was thinking of.

        I think I’ve read some of Dorothy Parker’s poetry once upon a time but I haven’t heard of the others.


      5. She really was quite something. She’d make a superb dinner guest. if you only check out on of her stories, make it A Telephone Call. It’s readily available online.


  1. FANTASTIC topic^^ I read The Second Sex and it changed my life. Not even exaggerating! I want to read it again it was THAT GOOD. I also really want to read The Feminine Mystique, Feminism is for Everybody and The Bell Jar! I’d also recommend Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination by Scott Plous with is an anthology with a striking section on Feminism, as well as all minorities. A really well rounded and provocative read. LOVED this post Amy ♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I’ll have to look that one up! It sounds excellent 🙂

      The Second Sex was one of the first feminist texts that I read and loved. It made so much sense to me and I can remember nodding along with what she was saying while I was reading it. I should probably read it again too!


    1. Thanks! About half of these books are feminist theory books so if you’re not into that then I’d stick with the novels and the poetry. They’re all really good though!

      Liked by 1 person

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