5 Essential Feminist Reads

The winter weather that Ellensburg has experienced in the past few weeks has made me want to sit down and read a good book. And to keep it within the realm of feminism, I’ve decided to name a few of my favorite feminist reads that everyone should take a glance at. These books made history and challenged gender norms and politics, so I definitely recommend sitting down and reading these!

 

The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan

This book is known for its quintessential second wave feminist ideals. It was published in 1963 and soon became one of the first pieces of feminist theory to become a mainstream hit. Friedan discusses the idea of “MRS. Degree” mentality of higher education for women, along with the poor treatment of women with mental illness. This piece has shaped feminist theories for over half a century.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a primary example of feminist speculative fiction. The story follows a woman who is a member of the fertile female servant class in a fundamental Christian-based dystopian government that is forced to reproduce with members of the ruling upper-class. In a time where women’s reproductive health is a topic of discussion, this novel remains pertinent thirty years after being published.

 

Sister Outsider - Audre Lorde

With the rise of intersectional feminism in recent years, Lorde’s Sister Outsider remains at the forefront of discussion. Lorde brings a queer, black, feminist perspective, which changed the way feminism is now looked at. Much of what has been derived from intersectional feminism is owed to Lorde and her collection of essays and speeches on homophobia, racism, and sexism.

 

The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing

This 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature winning-novel discusses what was thought of as unspeakable; women as sexual beings. In a time where women were not thought of as creatures with sexual desires, this novel shocked many. Lessing discusses the nasty bits of feminine life with such a tone of raw emotion that was unheard of for a female author of that era.

 

The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir

Written in 1949, author and philosopher de Beauvoir’s book started as an autobiography discussing what she thought of herself as a woman and then everything else second. She combines sharp-witted critical theory with personal analogies that have been a part of feminist theory for seventy years.

 

Again, I urge everyone to pick up these books. These are the works of those who shaped modern feminism and women’s rights as a whole, and they lead to whole new discussions about humanity.

 

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