Feminist Book List: Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month! For the past few seasons (winter, summer, fall), I've shared Feminist Book Lists highlighting some amazing female authors and stories. This month, I share books that focus on history as our blueprint for our present and future of women's rights.
To be clear, this is not an all-encompassing list, but rather an accessible place to start wherever your currently baseline knowledge is. As a continuous learner, I'm still realizing every single day more things I didn't know and unlearning biases that have been instilled in me. To combat this, I listen, read, observe, and actively question things that surprise me.
Did you know that women in America had the right to vote way before 1920? Not only did Colonial women have the right to vote, but Native American women were the law. If you're curious to learn a more intersectional perspective of women's suffrage starting a thousand years ago, this anthology by Sally Roesch Wagner (with Foreward by Gloria Steinem) will open your mind to new (but not actually new) ideas.
I've been following Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation for a few years now, after seeing a video on Facebook highlight women's access (or lack therof) family planning resources in developing countries. Since then, she's continued to pop into my social media circles most recently with her interview with one of my favorite YouTubers, Ingrid Nilsen. Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yYG3IZYL9A
I was lucky to be gifted an advanced copy from my friend, Natalya, who made sure to get a second copy for me after reading it herself. This book is heavily weighted with stories of women who have everything going against them in life, and the seeds of triumph planted when empowered by empowered women. It comes out in April, and I will certainly be buying copies for many of my friends and family.
Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin have been some of my favorite feminist voices since they were hosts on Stuff Mom Never Told You, and now with their latest show, Unladylike. Their vast archives of SMNTY and Unladylike episodes are filled with the history behind many of today's traditions. From Mardi Gras to International Women's Day, they do their research when it comes to our past as the blueprint for the present.
Their latest book gives us the intersectional and historical scoop on "uterine furies", "money pits", "beauty bargains", and more. Their metaphors, puns, and empowering rage help translate complex and deeply nuanced sexism in a way that makes me feel like I could teach others too. Not only is this book an amazing learning tool, but the illustrations by Tyler Feder are on point.
Rebecca Traister's latest book will help you embrace your rage and not fall for the gaslighting patriarchy. She takes us through examples in history where women were pissed, made to look crazy, and changed the world.
As a child of the 90's I had no idea how the media influenced my mentality today. But alas, now that I'm about to embark into my 30's, a stroll down memory lane was just what I needed to realize the importance of media representation and the significance that who gets to write the narrative has on entire generations.
If you're ready to reclaim "bitch" and disentangle strong women with villification, Allison Yarrow's book is for you.
This book was the first feminist book I ever read. It opened my eyes to different perspectives and interpretations of movies and shows I had seen. It also gave me the vocabulary to embrace my problematic feminist self.
Part of history is ensuring that stories are written in the first place, and then written by the appropriate lens. Hidden Figures is one such example that helped me to realize how many more stories must be out there waiting to be told, or not realizing are important enough to be told.