Not to Be Dramatic, But These Feminist Books Will Make Your International Women’s Day

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Reading allows your mind to develop new perspectives about the world that surrounds you. By reading some of the most popular feminist pieces, we are able to open ourselves up to equality amongst genders and the journey that women have gone through to try and achieve equality.

To remember where we’ve been and where we are now, here is a list of some of the most popular feminist pieces you should read.

“A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” by Mary Wollstonecraft

 

 

One of the earliest pieces of feminist literature, this Wollstonecraft brings up arguments for gender equality. She says that women should be able to: enter the medical field and politics, be able to speak their minds without being perceived as avoiding their gender, and if women are shamed for having sex before marriage men should be shamed as well.

“Feminism is for Everybody” by bell hooks

 

Though this book may be short, bell hooks makes her literature accessible on the modern nature of feminist and the positive aspects it brings to change oppression, sexism, and gender exploitation.

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

 

One of the most well-known American fiction novels, Alcott writes a story of four sisters - Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy - whose family recently lost their wealth and now struggle to keep their household running. As they grow up, each girl faces her own personal demands and moral challenges with the help of their mother and their religious faith.

“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath

 

The only novel written by Sylvia Plath, “The Bell Jar” follows the life of Esther, a college student dreaming of becoming a poet. Once accepted for an internship as an editor of a feminist magazine, Esther struggles to fulfill her dream as she struggles with identity issues and societal norms.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

In the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian state replacing the United States, Offred has become a Handmaid - a woman assigned to bear children for elitist couples struggling to conceive children. With restricted freedom, like the freedom of all women in this novel, Offred’s narrative provides a journey of her life before she became a Handmaid and how she now copes with the forced sexual encounters she must have to keep her job and follow the Republic’s laws.

“A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf

 

After being asked to talk to a group of womanly scholars about women and fiction, Woolf wrote this essay to teach others about feminism in writing. Her thesis reveals that women need both money and her own living space, or room if she is to successfully write fiction.

“Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

As New York Times #1 Bestseller, “Milk and Honey” is a collection of poems about surviving experiences of love, violence, abuse, loss, and femininity. This collection takes the reader through the author’s most bitter moments in life and how she not only overcame them but made them as sweet as she could.

“Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson

One of the most well-known Young Adult novels, “Speak” tells the story of freshman high schooler Melinda. After not telling anyone why she called the police on an end of summer party, her classmates ostracize her. Only through her art is Melinda able to face the sexual trauma she faced at the party. Beginning her healing process, Melinda struggles to cope with her experience and avoid the student who still threatens her.

“Girls Burn Brighter” by Shobha Rao

Born into poverty, Poornima and Savitha have experienced little happiness in their life until they meet one another. When devastation strikes Savitha, Poornima leaves behind everything she’s ever known to find her friend. Alternating perspectives, this novel shows the darkness of traveling across an ocean and through India’s underworld and how friendship - no matter how far apart - brings these girls strength.

“The Reckonings: Essays” by Lacy M. Johnson

From her own experiences with sexual assault, Johnson created a collection of essay about assault and justice. Through philosophy, art, mythology, and other films, ideas of vengeance and retribution are contemplated as acts of patience, mercy, and grace.

“A Spark of Light” by Jodi Picoult

Through different pro-choice and anti-abortion perspectives, Picoult creates characters who range in political opinion, age, and sexuality who are surrounded by one traumatic event - a hostage situation at a southern abortion clinic. Time rewinds to the beginning of the event as each story unfolds. This novel examines legal repercussions from abortion and how abortions affect women, a worthy read for those focused on modern day politics and feminism.