As I have nothing else to do as a lack of a job or academic pressure in my life, I decided to dedicate this March to reading a bunch of non-fiction books about women and feminism in general. Although I must say that it was a very educational experience for me, and that I learned a lot, I do not really recommend reading these books back to back, or any book about any same topic back to back (except for academic research, I guess, in that case there is no escape), since everything becomes a tad repetitive after a while.
But since I have put myself through this repetitive and educational experience, I thought I would summarise my thoughts about them and which ones I recommend.
I Hate Men by Pauline Harmange
While I understand the points made by this author, I found the book’s perspective extremely heteronormative and binary, and did not agree to everything she discussed here. So, not really a favorite.
Climate Feminism by Linnéa Engström
When I first saw this book I was like “um, what does climate issues have to do with feminism?” But after reading this book I really understood the connection between the two. I think this is a really good introduction to climate feminism, which is an important issue to know about in today’s political climate (ha!). Yet, it still just is an introduction. The author mainly brings examples from all over the world and talks about a number of climate feminist women and their accomplishments. However, there are no in-depth discussion on the subject, so if you are looking for that sort of thing, this is not it.
It’s Not About The Burqa by Mariam Khan
The whole point of this book is to share experiences of muslim women from their own perspective, with their own words. In the introduction of this book, Khan talks about how muslim women are always discussed, yet rarely they are a part of the discussion with their words. So this book brings together a number of essays from different muslim women with different ethnic backgrounds, and they walk about everything from hijab to marriage to their sexuality. Loved it, highly recommend.
Women, Race&Class by Angela Davis
This book changed the way I understood the history of feminism. Even after studying Women’s and Gender History for my MA, I realised how much there was about this movement that I did not know, especially in the US context. In this book, Davis talks about black women’s experience with slavery, the abolionist movement and the feminist movement. It absolutely reshapes the history of feminism and bares its racist roots to the readers. I could talk more about this book but I don’t know what else to say but “oh wow amazing.” Highly recommend.
Women’s History of the Modern World by Rosalind Miles
While entertaining, I found this book very introduction-level for me. I think it could be an eye-opening read for someone who doesn’t know much about women’s history, though. Recommend only to people who are new to women’s history.
The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedan
I heard about this book countless times while I was doing my MA, so it was very exciting for me to finally get to it this month. I understand that this was a ground-breaking piece of work for its time, but of course for me it was a little out-dated. The highlight of this read for me was the chapter about Freud, and why his notions on femininity ruined women’s lives, basically (this is my very blunt rephrasing, of course). I recommend, but be warned that there are a lot of quotes.
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis
I don’t know how to describe this book. It’s a collection of essays from a bunch of famous women, talking about their own experience with feminism. Not all of these women were writers, or people I knew, so while I found some of the essays entertaining, the others were very “meh” or I had no interest because I didn’t know the person writing about it. I don’t highly highly recommend this book but I’d look through it if it was near me while I was waiting for something.
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
Hood Feminism is so hyped-up these days that I went into this book expecting it to blow my mind. Sadly, it did not blow my mind, but it was still a very important and informative read. Kendall does an excellent job about explaining why issues such as hunger and gun violence should also be a part of feminist conversations. My only issue with this book was the writing style. I found it a bit dry compared to some of the other non-fiction books I read this month. Still, highly recommend.