10 Inspiring Books About Feminism: Written by Feminists

The Feminine Mystique 

the feminine mystique book colored orange covered

The book has written by feminist Betty Friedan in 1963 described the dissatisfaction among women in mainstream American society in the post-World War II period. It gave a pitch-perfect description of "the problem that has no name" the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women's confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home. Writing in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Part social chronicle, part manifesto, The Feminine Mystique has filled with fascinating anecdotes and interviews as well as insights that continue to inspire. 

Unbought and Unbossed

unbought and unbossed book

Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to US Congress and she was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women's Political Caucus. In this book, she shares how she took on an entrenched system, gave a public voice to millions, and sets the stage for her trailblazing bid to be the first woman and first African-American President of the United States. By daring to be herself, Shirley Chisholm shows us how she forever changed the status quo. 

My Life on the Road

my life on road book written by gloria steinem

Gloria Steinem spent much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker. In vivid stories that span an entire career, Steinem writes about her time on the campaign trail, from Bobby Kennedy to Hillary Clinton; her early exposure to social activism in India; organizing ground-up movements in America; the taxi drivers who were "vectors of modern myths" and the airline stewardesses who embraced feminism; and the infinite contrasts, the "surrealism in everyday life" that Steinem encountered as she traveled back and forth across the country. With the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminist icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, here is an inspiring, profound, enlightening memoir of one woman's life-long journey.

Women, Culture & Politics

women culture politics book cover

A collection of speeches and writings by political activist Angela Davis address the political and social changes of the past decade as they are concerned with the struggle for racial, sexual, and economic equality written by Angela Y. Davis

The Female Eunuch 

The female eunuch book cover

One of the most famous, most widely read books on feminism ever written by Germanie Greer, The Female Eunuch remains one of the most important publications of the second wave feminist movement. Today, Greer's searing examination of the oppression of women in contemporary society is both an important historical record of where we've been and a shockingly relevant treatise on what still remains to be achieved. 

We Should All Be Feminists 

we should all be feminist book cover

What does "feminism" mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of 'Americanah' and 'Half of a Yellow Sun'. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century - one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences - in the U.S., in her native Nigeria - offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful to women and men, alike. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman now - and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. 

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies 

feminists don't wear pink book cover

The book is a collection of writing from extraordinary women, from Hollywood actresses to teenage activists, each telling the story of her personal relationship with feminism. Often funny, sometimes surprising, and always inspiring, this book aims to bridge the gap between the feminist hashtag and the scholarly text by giving women the space to explain how they actually feel about feminism.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

men explain things to me book cover

Rebecca Solnit's essay 'Men Explain Things to Me' has become a touchstone of the feminist movement, inspired the term 'mansplaining', and established Solnit as one of the leading feminist thinkers of our time - one who has inspired everyone from radical activists to Beyonce Knowles. Collected here in print for the first time is the essay itself, along with the best of Solnit's feminist writings. 

From rape culture to mansplaining, from French sex scandals to marriage and the nuclear family, from Virginia Woolf to colonialism, these essays are a fierce and incisive exploration of the issues that a patriarchal culture will not necessarily acknowledge as 'issues' at all. With grace and energy, and in the most exquisite and inviting of prose, Rebecca Solnit proves herself a vital leading figure of the feminist movement and a radical, humane thinker.

Feminism Is for Everybody

feminism is for everybody

Bell Hooks is the author of numerous critically acclaimed books on the politics of race, gender, class, and culture. A frequent lecturer in the United States and abroad explores the nature of feminism and its positive promise to eliminate sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. With her characteristic clarity and directness, hooks encourage readers to see how feminism can touch and change their lives—to see that feminism is for everybody.

Sister Outsider

Sister Outsider book cover

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Audre Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde’s philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published. These landmark writings are, in Lorde’s own words, a call to “never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which is . . . ”

 

 

 

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