the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
Both Becky and I are proud book-bloggers and feminists. When we read, we are the annoying ones that point out any sexism but also celebrate any proud displays of feminism/equal rights. These are some books that centre around feminism and how it affects them and the world they live in because even though some of these are works of fiction, the situations are an everyday reality. When we discussed which novels we could feature in this post, we both realised that there wasn’t a huge list. Hopefully, especially in YA, this will change as the years go on and feminist is no longer a ‘dirty word.’
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
This book is a collection of poetry split into four parts: hurting, loving, breaking and healing. It is combined with beautiful illustrations and I connected to this book from its first poem. Rupi Kaur reminds us to love ourselves and love one another, to accept our femininity, to be okay with our broken parts. She encourages women to love one another but most importantly, for us to love ourselves. As she says ‘you are your own soulmate.’ A line so simple and yet something that we so often forget to remember. It also focuses on mental health, feminism, and emotional and physical pain. It looks at relationships within families as well as with spouses, and how the ruination of one could affect the other throughout someone’s life.
What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne
This book is the third in ‘The Spinster Club’ trilogy by the author. Although each book focuses on feminism, this is the book in which its main character, Lottie, goes on a mission to call out every act of sexism she witnesses or experiences. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, even if it involves blaring a horn and throwing custard pies at buses. Her parents want her to focus on more ‘important’ things, she gets in trouble at people and she receives constant abuse from a group of boys at her college. Both Lottie and the reader are surprised with how many acts of sexism there are each day – whether big or small and for a young character to do this in a YA novel is very important in our eyes. Make this series compulsory in secondary schools!
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A short but powerful introduction to feminism. This is an edited version of a talk Chimamanda gave in 2012 in which she tells us her experiences both as a young girl and a woman in which she hasn’t been treated equally to her male counterparts, especially growing up in Nigeria. This book becomes a reminder of why we still fight for gender equality and destroys the misconception that a feminist ‘hates men.’ It is short but shocking and will stay with you long after you have read if you are interested in feminism or just need a stark reminder, then definitely add this book to your shelves.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale is the story of a futuristic, dystopian USA in which women are viewed as nothing more than objects to men. After a nuclear war has taken place, women have been given specific roles in society; either wives to rich men, “Martha’s” (aka household servants) or Handmaid’s. Offred is a handmaid – her name literally meaning ‘of Fred’, and it’s her duty to provide the Commander that she’s been assigned to with heirs now that his wife is too old to conceive. The Handmaid’s Tale is a disturbing novel, with many biblical references throughout that make the government in the story believe their motives to be correct. What’s most disturbing about this book is that it isn’t hard to imagine the world that it takes place in. The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic piece of feminist fiction. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill follows a similar plot to this book, written in a more modern setting.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
The Everyday Sexism project was started by Laura Bates after she was harassed on public transport in 2012. From this project came this book – filled with shocking stories of sexism that women experience on a daily basis. Everyday Sexism showcases real life stories which feature both the smallest incidents of sexism such as wolf whistles and cat calls, right through to serious attempts at sexual assault or gender discrimination within workplaces.
Are there any feminist books that you would recommend that aren’t on our list?