Being the feminist I am, I am genuinely surprised I haven’t done a female-based recommendation post yet!
I have always been a strong believer in gender equality, and I believe in it so strongly that I did something (in my opinion) pretty cool for the cause, which I talked about in the Life Section of my February Wrap-Up. It’s a shameless plug, but I will hopefully be talking more about it without fully eliminating my privacy?
I love books about feminism, about females fighting against the patriarchy, and just the ideas of girls coming together and you know .. not completely hating and clawing each other to the death for the sake of some random hot boy they fawned over.
Spoiler: the good girl wins in the end. I am very aware that I threw shade to more than half of the YA classics, and I’m completely not sorry.
Since it is women’s history month this month (!!), I have compiled a list of some feminist books that I recommend that you all should read. This is in my opinion, a pretty diverse list in terms of genre and representation. There’s historical fiction, contemporary, some classics, non-fiction, fantasy and more. As an intersectional feminist, this is extremely important to me.
Please let me know if there are any more books you would add to this list (especially since if they have main marginalized representation) just in case I may have unintentionally excluded certain representations! I want this list to be as inclusive as possible.
Do note that all of these books are by female authors, and are books that I have read. I will link the Goodreads links for all these books and the occasional review for books on this list I have reviewed!
Without further ado, here are 12 feminist books you should read to defy the patriarchy!
This was my favorite book of last year, one of my five new five star reads of last year and in my top three favorite books ever. This audiobook completely captured me and left me unable to let go. I’m sure if you’ve been in the community from 2018 onwards, the Internet (and me, of course) have already screamed to the rooftop about how much we love this book. I would still recommend this book on its own and will continue to recommend until I die, Though the feminist aspect is not front and center, it’s still there. Evelyn Hugo is one of my favourite characters of all time, and while she is DEEPLY intrinsically flawed and makes some absolutely horrible mistakes, she is ultimately unapologetic and ruthless with getting what she wants. I know most people have read this, but if you haven’t, you MUST. And listen to the audiobook if you can, because it’s one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to.
This book is just so so great! It talks about feminism in the south, talks about the Riot Grrls (who I had never heard of prior to picking this novel up), has girls coming together to support girls and has all the feminist zines! Though this is pretty white and American centric, there are some key characters of colour and some queer rep, though minor. There are so many zines in the actual physical copy of the book, and it’s just so cute and glorious!
An experience I will forever associate with this book: me binge reading this from 10pm to 2am, anxiously clicking my e-reader to get through the book. This is such a phenomenal book, that confronts sexual assault, has so much political intrigue, and has SO MUCH marginalized representation. It has girls coming together through the collective trauma they have experienced. Also, this is MALAYSIAN-INSPIRED FANTASY, written by a Malaysian-Chinese author! I cannot wait for Girls of Storm and Shadow, coming out in 5th November 2019. *prays for an ARC even though she has no chance of getting one*
Though I was not head over heels in love with this book, I see the good in this and I still would recommend this, especially for readers who are looking to receive an introduction of feminism! It’s about girls coming together to call out the patriarchy in their progressive high school and has some of the best intersectional feminist representation I have ever read. This does read a lot like the authors holding your hand and guiding you through the topic, so I would not recommend this to people who aren’t strangers to feminism.
This book is absolutely fantastic and spotlights on women who have been forgotten throughout history, and the amazing things I have done. The women in here are from a variety of places around the world, from different social classes, races and so many more. Lee also just has such a smooth way of writing that it’s difficult not to be enraptured by this book. It’s a really quick read, so it is a perfect addition to your history class! It’s like history class, except more interesting (and this is coming from someone who adores history) with a focus on badass women and how they have been forgotten.
Daisy Jones is the newest release by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and it’s such a great novel! Though I much prefer Evelyn Hugo and think it is an objectively better novel, Daisy Jones still manages to stand on its own. Daisy Jones is an unapologetic character, who will put her foot down to make sure she will get her way. This is another one where the feminist undertones are more understated, but I’m positive that feminists will appreciate it.
I’m not gonna lie, this anthology is extremely American-centric, but I still think this has value! This anthology looks at the experiences of 21 women living in America, and each one was so refreshing and interesting to read about! It’s EXTREMELY feminist and many pieces are intersectional! The author list is incredibly diverse and I was absolutely LIVING for it. I would personally recommend skipping Ellen Hopkins’ piece. I did, on the recommendation by a few of my trusted sources, and I haven’t lost sleep over it.
Another feminist anthology! *jazz hands* This is a really cool anthology, and has so many different, marginalized authors and media types included. There are playlists, essays, poems, comics, and so many more. There are lots of authors of colour, disabled authors, queer authors, different races, sizes etc. It’s divided up into lots of different sections, and it tackles feminism from lots of different angles.
This graphic novel is criminally underread. It celebrates and shines a light on different women that have been forgotten throughout history (much like Bygone Badass Broads), but it illustrates each women’s life through a series of comic panels. The art was so beautiful, and I learnt so much about women I had never even heard of. Pick this up if you can!
This is a pretty popular book, and for good reason. It has such an interesting format, and Summers captures you and never lets you go. Her storytelling is excellent, and her writing of female characters is EXCELLENT, especially her characterization of Sadie. She unapologetically writes a ruthless, “unlikeable” main character that is DEEPLY flawed and overall just human. My heart just constantly broke for Sadie. This was such an experience, especially on audiobook. Honestly, thinking about this hurts, a lot.
Though this is definitely for a much younger audience, this should still be taken seriously, in my opinion! This is a book that I want to read to my younger cousins and children (if I have any??, and both male and female, for the record) or just younger children in general that I love and adore in my life. This is another collection that spotlights some absolutely fantastic women, and would be a great jumping off point for people looking to educate themselves about some wonderful women who existed in the world.
And we’re ending this list with what is basically a modern classic! To be honest, I don’t ADORE this book the way everyone else seems to, but I get why some people consider this one of their top books of all time. It’s such a fantastic novel about such a terrible world, and one that seems very realistic, especially considering how things are going now. This book is just so blatantly feminist, and I was absolutely empowered by it. I just need to watch the TV show now.
What opinions do you have about these books? How many of the books on this list have you read? What are some feminist books that I should add to my TBR? What are your favourite feminist novels? What is your stance on gender equality and feminism as a whole? Are there any resources that you recommend I check out? I would love to know.