9 Books About Feminism & Gender Equality To Read Instead Of Asking A Someone To Explain It
It's 2018, and I'm tired of trying to explain basic things about equality to grown-ass people who have had every possible chance to learn and understand. If you're one of those people who think that feminists should be willing to drop everything and give you a crash course in Women's and Gender Studies 101 at your request, stop. You can educate yourself by reading these 10 books about feminism and gender equality instead of asking a woman or anyone else to explain it to you.
But if feminists want things to change, shouldn't they be willing to educate other people? Sure, and we do: through books, magazines, essays, speeches, vlogs, and other outlets. Relaying important messages in a one-on-one setting isn't an efficient use of a person's time and energy, and demanding that people, particularly women and people of color, perform unpaid labor for you — yes, teaching is a laborious task, just ask your local Kindergartner-wrangler — ties into a long and sordid history of devaluing the work that we do.
Look, everyone has demanded unpaid labor of someone else in the past, and although you should feel at least a little guilty about doing so, it's much more important for you to move on and make a better ally out of yourself. You can start by educating yourself with the nine essential books on feminism and gender equality that I've picked out for you below.
'Feminism Is for Everybody' by bell hooks
In this landmark work of feminist theory, bell hooks tackles gender, sexuality, race, and class to show how the applying the tenets of feminism to our society would radically improve the lives of people from all demographics.
'Hunger' by Roxane Gay
If you struggle to understand why fatphobia is bad and fat acceptance/body positivity is something we all need, you should pick up Roxane Gay's memoir, Hunger.
'Sister Outsider' by Audre Lorde
This collection of essays and speeches from black lesbian womanist thinker Audre Lorde will answer all your questions as to why women, young people, and people of color are so angry these days.
'Redefining Realness' by Janet Mock
This memoir from Janet Mock tells the story of her adolescence and youth, including her teenage transition and the experience of growing up poor, multicultural, and trans in the United States.
'Women, Race & Class' by Angela Y. Davis
Intersectional experiences like Janet Mock's are important, so you should definitely pick up Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis if you struggle to understand how people's experiences differ across demographics.
'Juliet Takes a Breath' by Gabby Rivera
Juliet Palante has just come out to her family, and it did not go well. Thankfully, she's off to take on an internship with her favorite feminist writer, who lives on the other side of the country. But when Portland, Ore. doesn't turn out to be the bastion of acceptance Juliet dreams it is, she'll learn that even the most well-intentioned of people can do and say terrible things.
'This Bridge Called My Back,' edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa, This Bridge Called My Back was one of the biggest influences on third wave feminism when it was first published in 1981. It's a collection of essays and other writings by women from all different backgrounds, and is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the feminist movement.
'Men Explain Things to Me' by Rebecca Solnit
If you've ever been accused on mansplaining, you need to read Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, if only to understand why your behavior is problematic and should stop.
'All the Single Ladies' by Rebecca Traister
A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, and no one needs to marry to be happy, independent, and fulfilled. Don't understand how that's possible? Pick up Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies to find out and discover the social, economic, and cultural elements that have skewed our understanding of what it means to be an independent woman.