On our Recommended Readings page we have gathered books, articles and essays that are worth the read for all those interested in politics, feminism, everything in between and more! We ask everyone looking at our recommended readings to keep in mind what Minna Salami points out when she spoke at the Oxford Union on whether feminist movements disregard minority women,
“The feminist movement is more diverse than ever before, with women of all backgrounds adding their voices. It is nevertheless predominantly white, western and liberal voices that are heard. For instance, with the exceptions of the very lovely writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mona Eltahawy and Roxanne Gay, the top 50 bestselling critical feminist books today are written by white women.”
ain’t i a woman: black women and feminism by bell hooks
This seminal work in feminist critical thinking was named after a 1851 speech given by Sojourner Truth, in which she expressed the intersections between being both a woman and being a slave in America. bell hooks shows us how the misogynoir we see in the U.S.A. now is directly related to the slave trade, leaving black women as the most oppressed group in American society. She also examines how white female abolitionists were often more comfortable with black male abolitionists than black female abolitionists.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
This novel written by a Creole mother and wife in 1899 looks at the struggle between a woman’s increasingly unorthodox views of femininity and motherhood and the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. This book sheds light on how a woman’s rejection of traditional sex roles can come from embracing her sexuality, emotionality and spirituality.
Bananas, Beaches and Bases by Cynthia Enloe
Cynthia Enloe’s highly praised and substantial account on the relationship between feminism, gender and international politics is definitely a must for those interested in learning more about feminist international relations. She succeeds in making complex theories palatable to everyday life in the past and in the present. It is an unapologetic account of how much gender and the ideas of masculinity and femininity intertwine in all aspects in politics and beyond.
De Colores Means All Of Us by Elizabeth Martinez
A good friend of Angela Davis, Elizabeth (a.k.a. Bebita) Martinez wrote this radical feminist piece examining race, liberation and identity in 1998. A much needed Latina light was shed on how we can empower one another rather than become caught in the “Oppression Olympics”. Elizabeth calls on her 30 years experience as an activist in the civil rights movement, women’s liberation and Latinx empowerment.
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
A compilation of essays and speeches from Audre Lorde, a black lesbian feminist, gives an essential perspective on gender, intersectionality, and patriarchy. This must read changed contemporary feminist discourse, especially in how we talk about and acknowledge the intersections between gender, sex, race, class and sexuality. The book examines a broad range of topics, including love, war, imperialism, police brutality, coalition building, violence against women, Black feminism, and movements towards equality.
The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers by Bhanu Kapil Rider
Written while travelling between India, the U.K. and the U.S.A., The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers brings together testimonies from women on all aspects of life. These short pieces reveal new ways of belonging in the world and possibilities for an art grounded in a localized cosmopolitan culture. Rider presents identity, diaspora and human nature in a beautiful poetic form that creates a personal feminist work.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book-length essay is a fantastic introduction to how we should define feminism. It offers a critique of how toxic masculinity works and calls for a movement to be formed so that we may combat it and become a more equal society. Ngozi Adichie offers her own personal anecdotes to highlight how women, particularly African women, experience oppression.
Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi
Based on a true account related to El Saadawi in Qanatir prison, this semi-fictionalised novella explores liberation, class and womanhood in 1970s Egypt. The subjugation of women is looked at through the lens of it’s symptoms, such as feminal genital mutilation, prostitution and wage slavery. We can all find a true heroine in the main character of Firdaus, “a woman apart” who, despite not being given choice throughout her life, is able to find her own personal liberation.