8 March 2017

Books: International Women's Day

Books that look into feminism, gender and women

To recognise International Women's Day, I thought I'd put together a post about books that touch on the topics of women, feminism, gender and more. From my book recommendations, to books I want to get around to reading, here is my one stop shop for everything book and women combined.


Recommendations:

Girl Up by Laura Bates
A feminist saviour for teens, Girl Up explores a variety of themes very relevant to young people in modern society. Laura Bates is a fantastic writer to go to if you have never read anything about feminism before, because as I always say, her writing is accessible and this book in particular is targeted to a younger audience. It serves as general advice for teens, while incorporating wider world issues into the mix. I would also really recommend Everyday Sexism by the same author because that is the one book that definitely made me want to speak up about women's issues.

Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O'Toole
While this book can be a little academic at times, I still found it to be a nice mix of scholarship with personal experience. The ideas the author presented in this book about gender were really fascinating to me because I hadn't thought about those ideas before. It reinforces that gender is largely socially constructed and explores the argument between structure and agency (if gender acts are a choice or part of societal influence). What she discussed really made me think about how much we all perform our identities day to day, and that it's important to ponder the contrast of structure/agency, or what's been socially constructed and what we choose.

Asking For It By Louise O'Neill
This was both a harrowing and important read that explored rape culture and victim blaming. I have to say that this read wasn't particularly enjoyable but it's one I'm really glad I read. It's such a realistic and intense look at how deeply victim blaming can effect someone, and how a community can turn against one girl. I've read a few books like this, but this one definitely sticks out in my mind as being the most heartbreaking, yet so real. Everyone should read this.


To Read:

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
This has been sitting on my shelves for far too long and I think it's about time I got to it. After reading Louise O'Neill's book Asking For It, it opened me up to her writing and her as a person. This book is rather different because it's a science fiction dystopian, but looks at the way girls in society are seen to only exist to please men. You could look at it like an exaggeration of the real world, but with some themes that certainly run true in society.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I know that it is extremely important to read diversely and to place importance on intersectional feminism. Having studied intersectional feminism for a Uni paper, it definitely opened up a whole new world of feminism. Swing Time looks to be something that will open my eyes more to the combination of race and gender. In the summary this book is described as a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by things and how we can survive them.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
This is up there on my to-read list at the moment since finishing Roxane Gay's book Difficult Women*. As I've mentioned on my blog before, this was quite a popular book a couple years ago and I'm excited to see what it's like. As Roxane's other book was unexpected, I don't really know what to expect from this one. The essays she writes are described as funny yet insightful, and touch on themes such as being a woman of colour, popular culture, books, gender, sex, news media, social media and politics.

How to Win at Feminism by Reductress*
This is a very different book to the rest mentioned here - it's described on the front cover as 'The Definitive Guide to Having it All-and Then Some!'. If you know anything about this book, then you know it's a definite parody/satire on the typical women's magazine, for example you can 'learn how to battle the patriarchy while maintaining a dependable moisturising routine'. I believe it's largely about how women's magazines can very much be hypocritical. It's interesting to think about the dynamic between being girly and liking makeup and so on, mixed with being a feminist (of course you can do/be both). I have flicked through this a bit and have got the general vibe of it, but am yet to read it properly!


Do any of these books interest you? Please also recommend me some more books like these to read!

-Emma


*Review Copy
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