Feminist Nonfiction Young People Need To Read

Hannah Burton/Bustle

It's a new year, fellow warriors and allies, which means it's time to get to work dismantling the patriarchy once and for all. While there's sure to be a long and bumpy road with many hurdles to climb and glass ceilings to shatter along the way, there is an easy place to start: with these nonfiction books on feminism every young woman needs to read.

What used to be a hard to nail a concept shunned by everyone from the government to the media to everyday men and women, feminism has become a part of our everyday lives and conversations. Whether its the millions of women who coming together to march on Washington on behalf of the cause or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie penning works about the issue, modern feminism has morphed from a high-brow, academic subject studied on college campuses to a part of the daily culture norms. Despite its penetration into the mainstream, though, feminism as a whole is still a somewhat misunderstood movement, especially for young people just dipping their toes into the pool of activism.

Whether you're a young woman interested in joining the fight, or a seasoned warrior looking to passing the baton to the next generation, here are 11 nonfiction books on feminism every young woman should read. After all, knowledge is power, and its about time we took some of that back.


'A Little F'd Up: Why Feminism Is Not a Dirty Word' by Julie Zeilinger

For young women sick and tired of being defined, stereotyped, and boxed in by older generations who don't understand you or your passions, meet A Little F'd Up. Written by FBomb blog creator Julie Seilinger, this clever guide debunks the misguided myths surrounding young feminists, examines their current state of the union, and looks towards the future of their movement. A funny and relatable text, F'd Up invites young women everywhere to find their own path towards changing the world.

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'Full Frontal Feminism' by Jessica Valenti

From founder, journalist, and activist Jessica Valenti comes Full Frontal Feminism, a powerful and accessible guide for all things feminism. Aimed at young women, Valenti's manifesto covers everything from health and beauty to boys and body shaming, all through the critical eye of an experienced feminist happily passing on her own insights. For any young feminist looking for a thorough introduction to the cause, this is your book.

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'Feminism Is for Everybody' by bell hooks

Slim but powerful, bell hooks's short primer to feminism is an optimistic look into the movement's power to irradiate sexism, oppression, violence against women, and more. Direct and clear, Feminism Is for Everybody will convince young readers of just that.

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'The Geek Feminist Revolution' by Kameron Hurley

In this witty and compelling collection, author Kameron Hurley takes a deep dive into everything from feminism, geek culture, and writing. Filled with humor, honesty, and a no-holds-barred kind of attitude, The Geek Feminist Revolution will delight young, blossoming feminists whose love for sci-fi and fantasy is only matched with their love for tearing down the patriarchy.

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'We Should All Be Feminists' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

I cannot recommend this book enough. Essential reading for everyone, this short but convincing essay by the talented Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is powerful enough to make everyone, from a young teen to a stubborn adult, believe that we truly should all be feminists.

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'You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism' by Alida Nugent

Books on feminism don't get much more fun, inspiring, or relatable as Alida Nugent's You Don't Have to Like Me. A hilarious but important collection of essays that chronicle the author's personal journey from childhood to adulthood, which included struggles with an eating disorder, embracing a biracial identity, and falling in love with feminism, You Don't Have to Like Me will ring true with so many young activists struggling to find their own path.

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'Girl Up: Kick Ass, Claim Your Woman Card, and Crush Everyday Sexism' by Laura Bates

Forget everything "they" have every told you about how to look, how to dress, and how to behave "like a girl," because author Laura Bates is here to clear things up. In Girl Up, the bestselling author of Everyday Sexism reveals the truth behind all the lies you've heard surrounding girls and sex, body image, the media, and more. An empowering guide for women of all ages, Girl Up will teach young feminists to do exactly what the subtitle implies: Kick Ass, Claim Your Woman Card, and Crush Everyday Sexism.

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'Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It' by Kate Harding

One of the most alarming feminist issues facing young women is the startling rise of rape culture, but with the help of Kate Harding's Asking For It, girls can begin to learn how they can help change it. Drawing from real-life cases and hard-to-believe true statistics, Harding examines how our culture has come to accept sexual violence against women as the norm, but more importantly, gives readers a way to put a end to it, once and for all.

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'Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World' by Laura Barcella

With Fight Like a Girl, young feminists meet the groundbreaking activists who paved the way before them, the people who started the feminist movement, who stoked its fires, and who have transformed it into the life-changing movement it is today. At once an accessible history of the decades-long effort and a celebration of those backs it was built upon, Fight Like a Girl will make every young feminist proud of their roots.

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'Boss Babes' by Michelle Volansky

And they said feminism couldn't be fun. Enter Boss Babes, a coloring and activity book staring some of history and pop culture's most badass female icons. Though meant for "adults," this fun guide, featuring everyone from Beyonce to Tina Fey to Malala, is a fun and interactive way for young women to learn, celebrate, and engage in feminism unlike they've ever done before.

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'Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World' by Kelly Jensen (Jan. 24)

Filled with essays, poems, comics, illustrations, and more, this forthcoming scrapbook-style guide book has everything any teen would every want to know about feminism packed into one fun, unique package. Featuring work from the likes of political icon Wendy Davis to celebrated ballerina Michaela DePrince to YA authors like Malinda Lo and Courtney Summers, Here We Are is an inspiring read for young adults that examines where feminism stands today, and what we need to do next to help it succeed in the future.

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