Eye-Opening Books on The Urgent Truth Behind Feminism

As women attempt to make the world more Barbie and less Ken, these five books will help them on their journey!

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Since 1792 and the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman — an essay believed to be the root of feminism in the Western world — feminism and the achievement of social equality for women have been discussed in literature thousands of times. Through the rise and fall of the twentieth century, feminist achievements were seemingly boundless, with women achieving the right to vote, gaining favor for the first time in divorce law, and having extended options in education and women’s healthcare.

However, recent years have tested the veracity of that equality. American women in the twentieth century have seen Roe v. Wade overturned, continued to make less than men in the workplace, and dealt with ongoing violence and misogyny by the patriarchal system. Here are five books by feminist authors that reveal the truth behind feminism.

Fix The System, Not The Women by Laura Bates

Dual colored book cover with blue on top representing men and pink on the bottom representing women. The words "Fix the system" are faced correctly while "Not the women" mirror them and appear upside down.

This book by Laura Bates focuses on the systemic prejudice against women in society and highlights the five key institutions at the center of the prejudice. Bates identifies Education, Politics, Media, Policing, and Criminal Justice as key establishments in need of reform in order to make the world a better place for women. 

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Inspired by this hilariously moving TEDx Talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a self-described “happy African feminist who does not hate men and who likes lip gloss and who wears high heels for herself but not for men,” this essay is deeply based on her life experiences. We Should All Be Feminists is not a catalog of reasons to hate men but a petition to bring men and women together, understand the unfair treatment of women, and how it needs to change so that future generations can thrive.

The Will To Change by bell hooks

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“But this book was written for men?” One might ask this question when first glancing at bell hooks’ The Will to Change and seeing that it largely discusses how men can become more self-aware to combat the patriarchy. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in 1950’s Southern America, hooks is one of the most influential scholars on feminism and refers to America as a “white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy.” The Will to Change reflects her views that for there to be systemic change, it is first in the hands of men to fight the social constructs of masculinity that have been thrust upon them for millennia. 

I Never Thought Of  It That Way by Monica Guzman

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Though not strictly a book about feminism, journalist Monica Guzman’s I Never Thought of It That Way centers around the bipartisanship of modern society and how the ability to sit across from someone with whom you disagree and have a calm, open conversation is just as important as the conversations themselves. She believes that being able to ask questions and learn from people on the “other side of the table” is crucial to finding common ground and steering toward a more positive future. This element of her book is inherently feminist because feminism will not be achieved solely by the men and women fighting for it, but by the men and women fighting against it, whose (in)ability to see the importance of feminism is crucial to the future of the cause. 

Quit Being So Good by Kristi Hemmer

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To be unapologetically female, according to Kristi Hemmer, requires 1). taking up space, 2). being first, and 3). looking for helpers. This collection of fifteen stories from the “frontlines” of feminism reflects on being told throughout her life that she was too good, too smart, and too successful. In her book, Hemmer shares her belief that women need to be self-assured, to seek out roles in society in which they take up space, and to allow themselves to be seen and heard.

These five fabulous books will be the perfect guide on your journey to understanding the ever-growing importance in being a bad-ass feminist. Enjoy!

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