Throughout history, there has been a plethora of female authors who have opened up the dialogue on feminism and the female experience. They have laid foundations from which subsequent generations of women have been able to discuss, actionize, and evolve the ideas and institutions that came before them and continue the fight for gender equality. Today, we are graced with the talent and words of modern women who have shared their intellect and discourse on feminist thought, bringing different voices and experiences to its precedent. Whether you are looking to deepen your own understanding of feminism or simply want to add more female authors to your reading list, here is a list of feminist books to get you started.
1. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
In this essay collection, Rebecca Solnit opens up her narrative with candescent humor, recounting a man at a party who began to explain Solnit’s own book to her. From this incident, Solnit lays out the broader landscape of society and its overall efforts to silence women. Delving into deeper topics such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and marriage equality, this work offers an unflinching look at the condition of women in the twenty-first century and the strides we still need to make in order to rectify it.
2. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
The mainstream feminist movement has been largely criticized for lacking an intersectional lens, refusing to acknowledge the diversity of experiences within feminism that women of color and those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community face. Mikki Kendall addresses this disparity head on, speaking with candor from her point of view as a woman of color and advocate for inclusivity within the movement and beyond.
3. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
In Bad Feminist, Professor and New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay looks at feminism from her own, personal experiences and considers it in the larger scope of issues present in society today. Gay grapples with the mainstream feminism she has been taught and struggles to reconcile it with some of her own interests and guilty pleasures (read: bad reality TV and the Sweet Valley High series) that seem to go against it. In a voice that is relatable, colloquial, and unapologetically funny, Gay delivers a unique approach to feminism that shows we can be nuanced and contradictory while still calling ourselves feminists.
4. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In this essay, adapted from her popular Tedx Talk of the same name, Adichie reflects on feminism in the twenty-first century and why it is important for both men and women alike. Born in Nigeria, Adichie offers a bilateral narrative on her experiences in both her native country and the U.S. to illustrate the importance of developing a feminism that transcends the gender divide. Written with the same wit, intelligence, and emotion present in her award-winning works, Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun, We Should All Be Feminists is a brief but powerful account of the modern movement.
5. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
While Uncanny Valley is not a feminist text in the traditional sense, it is in essence an exposé on the culture of sexism and misogyny that runs rampant in Silicon Valley. In her debut memoir, Anna Wiener recounts her time in the tech industry, working her way through overtime, condescension, and sexist aggressions, both micro and macro, across a number of startups in San Francisco. Wiener’s writing is cuttingly smart as she both critiques the male-dominant culture in which she works and fights to voice her objections to it as a life-long feminist herself.
Kara is a writer, creative advertising professional, and cat mom based in New York City. She is passionate about women’s rights on both a domestic and international scale, particularly in the realms of women’s healthcare and menstrual hygiene. When she is not writing, Kara enjoys reading, running, traveling, and photography. She is shamelessly addicted to Sudoku puzzles.