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The 3 Feminist Books That Will Change Your Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KCL chapter.

I think we’ve all been there: standing in a bookshop in front of the “feminist literature” section, feeling totally overwhelmed, and not really knowing what book to go for.  I feel like this genre has majorly expanded and become increasingly popular in recent years, leading to more books being published, from fiction to feminism-oriented self-help books. However, despite seeming rather overwhelming and broad, feminist literature is unbelievably empowering and can truly help us to deconstruct social norms that have been in place since the dawn of time. Here is a list of 3 feminist books that, in my opinion, every girl should read:

1. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, by Florence Given

An absolute life-changer! In this book, Florence Given addresses topics that, undoubtedly, every girl has struggled with, such as body image, toxic beauty standards, the male gaze, and self-love. What is being conveyed in this book is that despite living in a society where, as women, we are constantly told that we aren’t enough and should conform to all the unrealistic beauty ideals we are constantly exposed to in the mainstream media, we are, in fact, enough and should learn to love and celebrate ourselves!

I really enjoy how in-depth she goes with all the themes she addresses and how she explains how the latter is linked to the patriarchy and capitalism, two other central topics in this book, as the title suggests.

It is by reading this book that I realised how much the beauty and cosmetics industry benefits from our insecurities because the latter helps to sell more products. When one thinks about it, all beauty advertisements are designed in the exact same way: “You don’t like your *insert a part of the body*? Oh, how convenient, we have the perfect product for you!” This directly ties in with the topic of the patriarchy since most of the CEOs of the major beauty brands are men. For example, the CEO of L’Oréal, who owns most of the beauty brands you know, or LVMH, a group that owns luxury fashion and cosmetics brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fenty Beauty, or Benefit are men.  And even though this sounds obvious, it was something I hadn’t thought about in that way before.

All in all, this book makes you want to conquer the world and feel like a queen!

2. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies): Amazing Women on what the F-word Means to Them, by Scarlett Curtis

Very highly recommend this book! The topics addressed in this book are very similar to the ones discussed in “Women Don’t Owe You Pretty”. However, it is a collection of 52 essays written by women from different walks of life on what feminism means to them, which, in my opinion, is a very interesting concept. The essays include those written by world-famous actress Keira Knightley, or social media personalities like Tanya Burr or Grace Campbell. This book enables the reader to perceive the topic of feminism from different points of view since every woman has a different story to tell. In addition, the fact that it is a selection of essays by numerous women, in a way, emphasizes the idea of female solidarity and us uniting to shape a better future!

3. The Art of Feminism: Images That Shaped the Fight for Equality, by Helena Reckitt

This one is more of an art book than a novel, but it is extremely inspiring! This book is a collection of different feminist artworks from the past two centuries that have often been overlooked, ranging from political posters and graphics to stunning and provocative pieces of painting, sculpture, textiles, craft, performance, digital, and installation art.

On a more trivial level, this book is also extremely visually pleasing, which I think is always nice. A must-read!

European Politics student, chocolate-lover and writing enthusiast