These 5 Feminist Book Pairings Will Make You Feel Like A Literary Sommelier

Ad failed to load

There are a number of objectively "good" pairings in the world. Peanut butter and chocolate. Tequila and lime. French fries and a Frosty from Wendy's (okay that last one may be a bit up for debate but if you think it's gross then you clearly just haven't tried it yet). When we stumble across an ideal match, a coupling in which one element enhances the other, it's indescribably satisfying, as if we've managed to unscramble the secret to the whole universe, if just for a few minutes. The same contentment can be found when we realize that two books - different authors, different genres, often different publishing dates - just go together. These five feminist book pairings will make you feel like a literary sommelier.

Now, it's important to note that not all of these books have been marketed as "feminist literature." But I think pushing past what major publishing houses deem "feminist" is important in actually sussing out what your personal feminist ideology is. There's more to feminism than simply, "equality between the genders," though that's obviously one of the pillars. There's the investigation of the ways economics, racial politics and geography play into the treatment of women and non-binary folks. There's the fighting against the gender binary in the first place. And there's the understanding and recognition of our own relative privileges in walking through the world.

Each of these book pairings work together because they help illuminate some corner in the other. And honestly, approaching feminism with a similar model in mind - that it's not a homogenous entity, that it's a deeply complex belief system that relies on the wealth and diversity of experiences - is not a bad idea.

Ad failed to load

'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed & 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' by Rebecca Solnit

Ad failed to load

Wild by Cheryl Strayed, $9.97, Amazon | A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, $14.49, Amazon

Sometimes, we need to get lost in order to find the parts of ourselves - our resilience, our self-reliance, our independence - that we're discouraged from ever exploring. Cheryl Strayed's Wild, her now-classic memoir of solo hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, takes this idea to an exhausting, death-defying extreme. Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost, a collection of autobiographical essays, explores the smaller adventures we take through life, through cities, through suburbs, even through relationships. But both books shoulder the same questions: What do we use as a guide book? When do we know we're lost? When do we know we're found?

'The Woman Warrior' by Maxine Hong Kingston & 'Sour Heart' by Jenny Zhang

Ad failed to load

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong, $12.88, Amazon | Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, $17.68, Amazon

To be honest, Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, first published in 1976, is worth reading for the first 30 pages alone, a deeply haunting "talk-story" set deep within China. But it's in these "talk-stories," passed from mother to daughter, that Hong Kingston, who grew up in the intersection of Chinese, American, immigrant and girl in California, develops her own conception of self, and begins to understand what it means to be a Chinese-American woman.

On the opposite coast, several decades later, Jenny Zhang's world of Chinese-American girls fighting their way through New York City in the late '90s and early '00s takes on the same struggles - between mother and daughter, girl and peers, girl and, well, world. These characters are unapologetically messy and complicated and unwilling to bend to fit into the confines of stereotypes.

Ad failed to load

'Ida: A Sword Among Lions' by Paula J. Giddings & 'Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America' by Melissa Harris Perry

Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings, $16.50, Amazon | Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry, $14.88, Amazon

Ad failed to load

Ida B. Wells was a groundbreaking journalist and activist, fiercely fighting against the tide of lynching that flooded America post-Civil War, and her name, frankly, should be shouted from the rooftops in our history books. Melissa Harris-Perry is many ways a 21st-century Ida, an activist-journalist who refuses to be silenced by the larger powers that be.

Both Paula J. Giddings' biography of Wells, and Harris-Perry's media theory book, address the treatment of Black women by the American media, the ways they're belittled and discredited - and the women who fight with every ounce of strength to be heard and seen and read.

'Women Who Run With Wolves' by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes & 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' by Zora Neale Hurston

Ad failed to load

Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, $14.31, Amazon | Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Huston, $10.70, Amazon

Both of these works are classics in their own right, and at their core explore the same premise: what happens when women refuse to follow the rules? Where did these rules come from in the first place? And what can we learn from these brave, "wild" women who strike out on their own?

Women Who Run With Wolves explores the "domesticating" of women, and how we can work to get back in touch with our innate magic. Their Eyes Were Watching God, the incredible 1930s novel set primarily in Florida, is a prime example of a woman who refused to be tamed, to give her life over to a man or to play within the lines of how Black women were expected to act. She lives alone, she survives alone - and she thrives.

Ad failed to load

'This Bridge Called My Back,' edited by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua & 'I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter' by Erika L. Sanchez

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, $23.96, Amazon | I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez, $12.36, Amazon

Ad failed to load

It can be a deeply gratifying, affecting experience to oscillate between nonfiction essays, ideological theory, and fiction that all involve the same topic. You see the theory in practice, and witness the undertow of pure emotion. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color is a seminal collection of feminist writing that explores, per editor Cherrie Moraga, "the complex confluence of identities — race, class, gender, and sexuality — systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.”

The 2017 YA novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, in which Julia, a teen in Chicago, must shoulder the responsibilities of the ideal Mexican-American daughter after her sister's unexpected death, explore further several topics from This Bridge Called My Back — the intersection of American and Mexican culture, the ways that tradition, stereotypes and racism work together to oppress generations of women — and seeks a way out.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here’s Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In April

As the virtual shelf life for non-original Netflix programs grows shorter and shorter, fans of the streaming service are bidding woeful goodbyes to their favorite titles left and right. So, for those who need some time to prepare, here's everything l…
By Angelica Florio

Is Amazon's Alexa Making Our Relationships Weird?

Earlier this year, I started dating a guy who was in a very codependent relationship with Alexa. Alexa helped this guy (I'll call him "Paul") decide where to eat dinner and reminded him to work out. Alexa handled his to-do lists, restocked his toile…
By Sophie Saint Thomas

You Can Get Too Faced Mascara & Tarte Lipstick For HALF OFF At Ulta This Month

It's finally here! Ulta's 21 Days of Beauty Sale runs from now through Saturday, April 7 and is the retailer's epic "event" of the year. The promotion features "Beauty Steals," which means 50 percent off specific products for a single day. It also in…
By Amy Sciarretto

7 Things My 20s Taught Me About Toxic Relationships

I'll be turning 30 in less than a week, and while I'm trying to get all the habits of my twenties out of the way ASAP, I'm also reflecting on the what I learned over the past decade. And top of the list is the lessons I learned about toxic relationsh…
By JR Thorpe

7 Surprising Things That Happened When I Went A Month Without Drinking

If someone asked you if you could take a break from drinking alcohol, would you be able to do it? You may think it’s no big deal to take a month off from drinking, or you may think it’s a *huge* deal, as alcohol seems to be the center of many social …
By Natalia Lusinski

I Wore 'Dad Shoes' For A Week & They Were SO Much Cooler Than I Thought They’d Be

It’s no secret that fashion loves a good polarizing trend. Not too long ago, Birkenstocks made their high fashion runway appearance at Céline and Crocs followed suit on the runways of Christopher Kane and Balenciaga. Now, it’s time for the "ugly" sne…
By Dale Arden Chong

8 Ways Younger Millennials Communicate That Older Millennials Don’t Get

When comparing the ways our parents grew up communicating and the way we all grew up communicating, it seems like their generation and ours grew up in a different world. The technology our parents grew up with was so basic, it's ancient in comparison…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

This Is The ONE Sign That Won’t Be Affected By Mercury Retrograde This Month

It really doesn't seem fair that one astrological sign can ever enjoy the benefit of escaping the wrath of Mercury retrograde — that is, of course, unless that sign is your own — but it happens. Occasionally, the stars just align in the right way for…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Why My Boyfriend & I Started Couples Counseling 6 Months Into Our Relationship

Right away, Kurt and I agreed on almost everything. We had met through a mutual friend in 2015, but we didn't start dating until we came across each other on Bumble a few years later. That's when we discovered that we were on the same page when it ca…
By Rachel Simon

This Lace-Front Wig Is Going Viral Because No One Believes It's Actually A Wig

To understand how Zendaya easily goes from a pixie cut to voluminous curls or how the Kardashian-Jenners switch hair colors as frequently as they change clothes is to know the power of a good wig. Now that there's a lace-front wig going viral, the Tw…
By Summer Arlexis

This Primer & Mascara Combo Literally Doubles The Length Of My Eyelashes

Even as someone who loves beauty, I was never been particularly passionate about finding the perfect mascara. And then I got lash extensions for the first time. While I enjoy the long, full lashes that lash extensions provide, I always found myself j…
By Olivia Muenter

I Accidentally Fell In Love With My Friend With Benefits & It's Painful

Against my better judgment, I have fallen in love with my friend with benefits. I think I may have fallen in love with him month ago, but being stubborn AF, I fought against those feelings, tooth and nail, and, when it was suggested by a couple close…
By Amanda Chatel

This Viral Post About A Woman Breastfeeding In Public Actually Has A Happy Ending For Once

And today in things that will warm even the coldest of hearts, we have this: A story recently posted to the r/TwoXChromosome subreddit about a dad’s response to his daughter shaming a breastfeeding parent is everything. Posted by Redditor u/starsonwi…
By Lucia Peters

These March Beauty Launches Require Your Immediate Attention

I write one of these beauty editorials every month (feel free to check out January and February 2018 if you're in need of even more products to shower yourself with). Sometimes, I get worried that there won't be enough newness to share — especially b…
By Amanda Richards

Here's How You’re Most Likely To Get Your Heart Broken, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Getting your heart broken can be one of the most painful experiences you can have in your life. But if you're into astrology, being familiar with your zodiac sign can be pretty helpful. For instance, when you know the ways you're likely to get your h…
By Kristine Fellizar

Finger Piercings Are Trending & The Internet Is Very Divided About Them

A new "accessories" trend is asserting itself on Instagram and it's subversive, non-traditional, and so darn precious. It also looks a tad painful but the end result is worth it. Dermal diamond finger piercings are a thing and they may make actual ri…
By Amy Sciarretto

How I Learned Losing Your Job Isn't The End Of The World

Two and a half years ago, I was taking a day off from my marketing job at a San Francisco tech startup to host a friend when I got a call from the CEO. Apparently, I'd missed a pretty big day: 80 percent of the company, including the whole sales and …
By Suzannah Weiss

Meghan Markle's First Appearance With The Queen Included An Homage To Princess Diana

Fashion pundits love keeping a close eye on what the women of the monarchy are wearing, especially when there's an overlap with Princess Diana's sense of style. We're nothing but nostalgic when it comes to Princess Di and her on-point aesthetic. Find…
By Marlen Komar

Why Arizona's Exit From 'Grey's Anatomy' Is A Huge Blow To The LGBTQ Community

Whenever I re-watch Grey's Anatomy, I don't start with Derek Shepherd waking up in Meredith's apartment after their first hookup. I start with Season 5, when Callie first meets Arizona in a bar. I start here, because I want to watch someone like me f…
By Martha Sorren

I Couldn't Find A Beauty Campaign With Plus Size Models, So I Made One Myself

In the fall of 2015, I visited relatives in my hometown, a small suburb of New Jersey. There isn't much to do there, apart from dining at Applebee's or hitting the mall. As a plus size woman, cruising through a shopping mall is a mixed bag. Certain d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Signs You're The Emotionally Unavailable One In Your Relationship — And How To Work On It

It can be a weird feeling when you realize your relationship isn't working. But it happens — even in a long-term relationship — that, despite spending months or years together, you can realize that something is just missing. Sometimes that thing that…
By Lea Rose Emery

The 21 New Books That Goodreads Users Are Most Excited About This Spring

Despite the fact the Northeast is being pummeled by yet another storm that threatens to trap the region in snow and ice for eternity, winter is finally almost over, and you know what that means. No, I'm not talking about April showers or May flowers …
By Sadie Trombetta

Chelsea Clinton Gets Real About Twitter Trolls & What REALLY Infuriates Her About Trump

Before you read the first word on the first page of Chelsea Clinton's new book, you already know one thing: Strong women have always been a big part of her life. There's her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was the first woman to run for president…
By Erin Delmore

If You’re Addicted To Rewatching ‘The Office,' There’s An Actual Reason For That

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was looking for fans of The Office who can't stop, won't stop rewatching the series, and that they should email me if they'd like to contribute to an article about their obsession. By the next morning, I had 32 messa…
By Lia Beck