I am a convinced feminist. I consider myself an activist. I try, I really do try, to open other women’s eyes (and men’s). To make the world a more equal, fairer place for us women. To fight the patriarchy, to end sexism, to free me and all my sisters.
However, I am convinced I do not know everything. In fact, I hardly know anything. If there is one thing that I’m convinced can teach us all we need to know, that one thing is reading. Books, articles, novels, essays, poetry. Of course, there is the conversation with other women, the debates… those are definitely spaces for growth that I deeply treasure and enjoy.
Still, literature… the knowledge of every woman who came before us and left us something for us to discover and learn has no competitor. We must read, we must keep learning, and growing. It is only when we are well informed and convinced, that we will get to be free.
I am an avid reader. I have always enjoyed books but my love for feminist books has only existed for a couple of years. Still, I already have some favorites, which include classics and other new publications, that I deeply recommend to any girl out there who is trying to learn a bit more about the theoretical part of feminism or about the thoughts of important feminists throughout history. And it all honesty, it is necessary to read to be able to keep learning. There are always ways in which we can expand our minds and critically analyze what we think, what we say and what we do.
We must read, we must keep learning, and growing.
Here are four top books I strongly recommend for any girl out there who wishes to start her own feminist library. All of them, in my opinion, being a strong, easy-to-approach core, that can grow in any direction you wish to make it grow:
- A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf. One of the classics by excellence. It is always delightful to read Woolf, her being the complicated and fascinating human she was. To read this book is to see the struggles of us women haven’t changed that much with the course of the years. Of course, we have gotten better, but still, we keep needing the same space, the same resources to be able to live fully, and freely.
- How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran. Oh, I love her! Her raw humor, her acid tongue, the way she portrays the realities of womanhood so openly, so true. This is a book for those of us who have never felt as following the path that was laid ahead of us as women. I assure you, at times it will feel like she is writing to you, directly, and that will be a heart-wrenching experience because some of those situations, we wish we would have never lived. This book is a challenge but as it opens scars, it also heals them. Do not miss out on her.
- Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay. Sometimes I struggle with intersectionalism. I mean, obviously, I defend it. Feminism that isn’t intersectional, that doesn’t include as all, isn’t my feminism. But, as a white, cis-gendered, middle-class, straight woman, I am aware that I’m not always thinking about all the oppression some of my sisters suffer due to their race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation… Reading Gay makes you question if Girls or Orange is the new black are really the ultimate, wonderful, perfect shows that the general feminist sees. Gay writes in a way that is difficult to explain unless you read her. Very clearly, very easily, but still, with majesty. If you like this book, you need to be reading her last, Hunger. Definitely a must.
- Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. The book to understand mansplaining and to learn that sometimes it doesn’t matter how far we go, we definitely always face struggles because of the fact that we are women. Solnit portrays in this series of essays topics such as inequality or gender violence, and she points out how men have a space of power that they have not earned and us, women, are educated to accept a reality that puts us on an obedient, submitted spot, and never question it.
Please, read, sisters. Keep furthering your thoughts and ideas and keep broadening your feminism and making it more welcoming for each one of us. Also, feel free to recommend to me any titles I might be missing!