Feminism, Women's rights; & Equality. There is a lot of material about it out there and somehow, not enough at the same time. There are a few books that I consider feminist classics that I think everyone should read but this particular list, is all about modern feminist books that I truly think have the potential to become classics.
From poetry, to essay collections and fiction... these are the 10 feminist books on my 2020 TBR that I hope will inspire you:
1. Hood feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mimi Kendall
"One of the biggest issues with mainstream feminist writing has been the way the idea of what constitutes a feminist issue is framed."
I was sold on this book the moment I heard the title. I am always here a fresh voices in black feminism and this one has received glowing reviews from many of my favorite bookstagrammers so I can't wait to dive into it.
2. Girl, Woman, other by Bernardine Evaristo
“be a person with knowledge not just opinions”
The summary of this book reminded me of For colored girls ( If you have not read this play or watched the movie, you definitely should).
The only real thing those two works of fiction have in common is that they written by black women and they follow the story of different women as they navigate very different yet very similar struggles that are rooted in black womanhood.
3. It's not about the burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race- by Mariam Khan (Editor)
“I believe the role of the writer is to tell society what it pretends it does not know.”
One of my biggest issues with mainstream feminism is that a lot of "intersectional feminists" and women who were forced into the religion want to speak for muslim women. It's about time for me to read about muslim feminism as written by a great group of muslim women.
4. Sensuous knowledge: A black feminist approach for everyone by Minna Salami
What does it mean to be oppressed? What does it mean to be liberated? Why do women choose to follow authority even when they can be autonomous?
Minna Salami's multiple award-winning blog Ms. Afropolitan was very instrumental in making me the feminist I am today so I know what I am talking about when I say that I expect great things from this book. She marks her spot in written african feminist theory by exploring a number of daunting questions.
5. Don't touch my hair by Emma Dabiri
Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. Black hair is never 'just hair'.
I know a lot of people don't agree with that statement and those are the people who need to read this book the most. This book explores the history of black hair from pre-colonial Africa to the era of "boxer braids" and all of the struggles in between. It shows why our hair matters and why cultural appropriation extends to hair when it comes to black people.
6. Pretty Bitches: On Being Called Crazy, Angry, ... and All the Other Words That Are Used to Undermine Women by Lizzie Skurnick (Editor)
Words are made into weapons, warnings, praise, and blame.
I have complicated feelings towards the word 'bitch' and many of the other words that are discussed in this book. I am therefore very curious about their place in modern society, how they have been used and continue to be used. This book is an insight into that and many other subtle forms of sexism that women face.
7. What kind of girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Why didn’t I come forward sooner? What kind of girl stays after her boyfriend hits her? What kind of girl gets hit in the first place?
This is a Young Adult Contemporary novel so it will probably be a quick read. The author takes a different approach to show the different kinds of abuse that women experience from a young age.
TRIGGER WARNING: Physical abuse, physical abuse, eating disorder (bulimia), drug use, self harm.
8. Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different by Lisa Selin Davis
Gender nonconformity can be--and often is--a true gift.
I loathe the term 'Tomboy' but ironically, this is one of the books I am most excited about on this list. Probably because the author seems to dislike the word as much as I do. This book looks at what word meant, means and what it says about our ideas when it comes to masculinity and femininity. This book is based on the author's viral New York Times op-ed.
9. The Genius of Women: From Overlooked to Changing the World by Janice Kaplan
Even in this time of rethinking women's roles, we define genius almost exclusively through male achievement
If I am being honest, this is the book that I am most worried about getting to. Most of the reviews that I have read mention how slow paced it is and that is always hard for me when it comes to non fiction - fiction too. It's still on my TBR because it tackles a bias that is so prominent. Also because we do not hear enough about the magnificent things that women have done throughout history.
10. Say her name - Zelta Elliott
Say her name and solemnly vow Never to forget, or allow Our sisters lives to be erased;
We do not celebrate women enough. We celebrate women of color even less. So this poetry collection had to make it to my list. As soon as the blurb said it was a chorus of voices celebrating the creativity, resilience, and courage of Black women and girls, I was sold. Of course I want to read that.
So, there you go. Let me know if you've read any of these or if you have them on your list.