In honour of world book day this year we have put together a list of our favourite intersectional feminist literature. The feminist movement is gaining more and more attention and we don’t want anyone to feel left behind. As a new feminist, sometimes the movement can seem daunting, intimidating and often you have no idea what to believe. Well, we believe that feminism begins with intersectionality and if you want to start anywhere start with this reading list.
6. The Future is Feminist by Mallory Farrugia
A star-studded roster of iconic women write powerfully about what it means to be a feminist yesterday, today, and tomorrow. These poets, essayists, activists, actors, and professors address topics ranging from workplace harassment to resting bitch face. The results are by turns refreshing, provocative, moving, and hilarious. A diverse chorus of intersectional voices and a forward-looking stance set this book apart, and its vibrant, textured package makes it a beautiful gift. It’s the smart, covetable anthology that women of all ages will turn to for support and inspiration in the ongoing fight for gender equality.
5. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny by Kate Manne
Misogyny is a hot topic, yet it’s often misunderstood. What is misogyny, exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist–or increase–even when sexist gender roles are waning? This book is an exploration of misogyny in public life and politics, by the moral philosopher and writer Kate Manne. It argues that misogyny should not be understood primarily in terms of the hatred or hostility some men feel toward women generally. Rather, it’s primarily about controlling, policing, punishing, and exiling the “bad” women who challenge male dominance. And it’s compatible with rewarding “the good ones,” and singling out other women to serve as warnings to those who are out of order. It’s also common for women to serve as scapegoats, be burned as witches, and treated as pariahs.
4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.
3. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighbourhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?
1. White Feminism by Koa Beck
Koa Beck writes with passion and insight about the knotted history of racism within women’s movements and feminist culture, past and present. Curious, rigorous, and ultimately generous, White Feminism is a pleasure and an education. Intellectually smart and emotionally intelligent, Beck brilliantly articulates how feminism has failed women of colour and non-binary people. She illuminates the broad landscapes of systemic oppression and demands that white feminism evolve lest it continue to be as oppressive as the patriarchy.