Feminist Book Recommendations?

What are the books you’d recommend either a) to someone new to feminism or b) to feminists to get a broader perspective on the movement or an idea about a topic that tends to get ignored?  Here are some of mine:

Andrea Smith, Conquest: I just blogged about this one, but I’ve finished it now and would wholeheartedly recommend it as an alternative to the white feminist “canon.”  It’s also especially helpful for identifying areas where the progressive movement (especially pro-choice and environmentalist) has wronged indigenous people and women of color.

Jennifer Baumgardner & Amy Richards, Manifesta: I like this book as an intelligent, in-depth discussion of feminist issues.  It’s not particularly good for young readers (it’s a little dense) and it doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a good read for those who have the basics of feminism down and want to go a little deeper.

Inga Muscio, Cunt: There are a lot of things I disagree with in this book, but I have to admit it’s a great little read for a personal perspective on feminist issues with research thrown in, and there’s a great resource guide at the back.  Muscio has a very powerful voice, and this book is accessible where more academic texts are not.

Jaclyn Friedman & Jessica Valenti (eds.), Yes Means Yes: Not a feminist primer, per se, but so much of why feminism is necessary is wrapped up in rape culture, and this anthology is absolutely mind-blowing even for someone who has been exposed to feminist ideas.  I recommend this book to every woman I know.

Megan Seely, Fight Like a Girl: This is my favorite recommendation for young readers.  It goes through a number of issues, making it a good third-wave feminist primer, and it’s activism- rather than academic-centric.  It’s also got some great resources for teens and young women.

Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: A little more topic-centered, but this book does provide a broad overview of what Levy calls “raunch” culture.  It links patriarchy to pop culture, the purity movement, pornography, sex work, etc.  I don’t agree with everything in the book, but for the most part I like what she has to say.

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One Response to Feminist Book Recommendations?

  1. Mary says:

    I was just recommending Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem. Some excellent essays of hers includind I Was a Playboy Bunny, and If Men Could Menstruate. Funny, personal and ambitious.

    For a young person just getting into feminism I always recommend Bitchfest because the essays are really engaging for someone that is less involved in philosophy and politics. The essays look at pop culture from a feminist perspective so it deals with issues of everyday life.

    Thanks Judith, I’ve seen some of these titles and didn’t know what to go for next. This is super helpful.

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