Maybe you have a passion for activism, or perhaps you’re just looking to get empowered. It’s easy to lose confidence in yourself these days, but it feels so good to take control of your womanhood and thrive as the goddess you really are. If you’re not a big fan of reading, most of these are also available in audiobook format.
1. We Should All Be Feminists
Adichie’s book is titled We Should All Be Feminists, and no truer words have ever been spoken. Although considered provocative by many, this book is a must-read and a New York Times bestseller. This definition of feminism is definitely one you haven’t read before. It’s an inclusive and self-aware anthem about what it means to be a woman today. Some of the stories are tough to read, but absolutely necessary.
2. The Awakening
Kate Chopin’s writing spans back to the 1800s, showing that feminism had roots long before, even when men were calling women hysterics and we were stuck in the prisons known as corsets. The Awakening is set in new Orleans and presents extremely unconventional views on motherhood and femininity, presented by the protagonist Edna Pontellier.
3. Bad Feminist: Essays
There’s no such thing as a “bad feminist” but many women feel like one. Maybe you don’t understand your womanhood, or perhaps the theories around feminism puzzle you. Either way, questions are always good, and Roxane Gay helps out with her hilarious but thought-provoking essays that are presented in this book. If you like your feminism with a dose of humor, this is the book for you.
4. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot
Often times, many groups of women are left out of the feminism discussion, simply due to the color of their skin. The subtitle appropriately reads “notes from the women that a movement forgot” and is a tough critique on mainstream feminism. This insightful book examines white feminism and makes sure that no voices are left out from the conversation.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale
You may have heard of The Handmaid’s Tale from the popular TV series on Hulu, but it’s so much more than that. Atwood launched a literary revolution when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s the perfect merging of feminism and dystopian fiction, showing what happens if we let our already patriarchal society get even more out of hand. It’s a horrifying vision of what could come, given world politics, and why at all costs, we must fight back.
6. Men Explain Things to Me
Hilariously explained as a solution to mansplaining, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me dives into the disjoint in relationships between men and women, and how women are often silenced. She explores everything from equality in marriage to domestic violence, never afraid to shy away from the bold-faced truth and get serious when it matters. Between the wittiness and the exploration of power dynamics, this is a book we couldn’t put down.
7. The Bluest Eye
An oldie but a goodie, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is a stunning celebration of the late author’s strides in female empowerment and literature. It’s the story of a little African-American girl having to deal with the world’s Euro-centric beauty ideals of blond hair and blue eyes. The main character prays for her eyes to turn blue so that people will look at her differently. It’s a fierce statement on how debilitating social expectations can be, but how looking differently makes no difference if you don’t love yourself.
8. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
Malala’s childhood was anything but normal – rather than being able to simply attend school as so many women in the West take for granted, this Pakistani activist had to fight for her life simply to attend school. When the Taliban took control of her region, she wouldn’t allow them to silence her. As a result, she was fatally shot at age 15, but through sheer will and strength, survived and continued to speak out and fight for girls to have an education all over.
9. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
Janet Mock is a fierce lioness and the definition of an empowered woman. Her priority is honesty – with others, but most importantly, with ourselves. As a trans woman, Janet has struggled with identity her whole life. She’s been marginalized in more ways than one, but has a knack for describing things in an accessible (but extremely poetic) manner. It shines a light on important social issues, and why when they go low, we should go high.
10. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
Bell Hooks is an OG feminist who brought old school feminism into the new era. This book aims to show how feminism isn’t an act of hating men, but is actually a belief system for every human being that makes sense. This work is thorough and provokes thought in everyone who picks it out – even those new to feminism!