Feminist writing/ literature has and continues to be a topic our editors (and readers) love to be immersed in. When I think of writers who embody the term “feminist”, I am always pleased by the fact that my mentally compiled list consists of authors from different generations, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and of course writing styles.
Traditionally, when talking about feminist literature and authors our minds tend to go toward women like Betty Friedan, Audre Lorde, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, or Margaret Atwood to name a few. And this connection would be absolutely correct, these women have all written amazing books exploring women’s rights, sexism paired with racism, breaking out of predetermined roles, and so much more. If you have yet to check out any of these authors or read any of their works, please feel free to take a minor pause from this post and do some necessary reading and research!
I want to draw some attention towards some other women and their works that don’t always receive as much or enough attention. I had to dig a little bit to find and read these originally but, you may have heard of them already, who knows. Here are some books I recently read that left me feeling empowered, determined, and better informed:
Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, is filled with entertaining humor but, tackles real problems women are faced with such as “mansplaining”. Solnit bounces around a little bit addressing issues like gender expectations, marriage equality, and a call to action regarding the overwhelming amount of sexual and domestic violence events occurring throughout the United States. Other than feminism, Solnit also explores other topics such as indigenous history, environmental awareness, politics, and many others.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists, was transcribed and adapted from a speech she delivered at a Ted Talk. Adichie describes her experiences growing up and her life today as an African feminist, she also shares her thoughts on gender construction and sexuality. Another Ted Talk she delivered, The Danger of a Single Story, is a must see, though the conversation focuses more on racial stereotypes. Adichie’s eloquent words will have you supporting the idea of making this essay required reading in schools.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s Shout, is sort of a follow up to one of her other novels, Speak. Unlike her previous works, this most recent publication is a memoir that focuses on how Anderson struggled to speak out or even write about being raped at age 13. (Speak, a young adult novel, tells a very similar story to Anderson’s experience and is also worth reading as well). Shout is a really different experience and is structured as free verse poetry. Anderson tackles a subject that so many ignore and are afraid to acknowledge, with such grace, strength, and bravery. She is currently a member of the leadership council for the organization RAINN, a group dedicated to supporting survivors and ending sexual violence.