Words Sarah Shaffi
But that’s ok, because feminism is all about questioning, debating and reforming ideas as we move towards a more equal world.
So, while you’re mulling over what your own answer would be, here are six candid and contemporary books about all things feminist to help you along the way.
For some, feminist is a label to wear with pride. For others, it’s a movement they’re not sure includes them. It’s the latter issue that editor and activist June Eric-Udorie explores in this collection of essays Can We All Be Feminists? Written by a group of women from marginalised backgrounds, each work explores how we can define feminism, what it means to the writer themselves, and how mainstream feminism can change to become more inclusive.
Every page of this sharply observed book makes me howl with laughter and shake my head in exasperation, because the scenarios within are all too familiar. Chapters include How to Talk Like a Man but Still be Seen as a Woman, Non-Threatening Leadership Strategies for Women, and Choose Your Own Adventure: Do You Want to be Likeable or Successful? A must-read for all women, but particularly those working in male-dominated and male-led workplaces.
This refreshingly honest and abundant take at feminism dismantles outdated views of the movement through a series of essays. Contributors include poet Swati Sharma, who meditates on what it means to be a woman; actress Kiera Knightley writing about the birth of her daughter; and supermodel and Gurls Talk founder Adwoa Aboah on periods. Royalties from every copy sold go to Girl Up, an initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation that works to position girls to be global leaders.
Deborah Frances-White is the creator and host of smash hit podcast The Guilty Feminist. She first described herself as a “guilty feminist” back in 2015, explaining that while she “desperately wanted for women to be taken seriously in leadership roles all over the world…I also wanted to look good sitting down naked”. Love feminism? Also love rom coms/hip hop/wearing a full face of makeup to go jogging? This book is for you.
Whatever you thought of the Spice Girls’ music, there’s no denying they made a colossal impact on how young girls thought of themselves in the Nineties. In this book, journalist Lauren Bravo looks at the legacy of one of the world’s biggest girl groups, from their style to their success, and considers how deeply their message of girl power penetrated for years to come.
Through maps, charts, infographics and illustrations, The Women’s Atlas takes a comprehensive look at the key issues facing women today, from gender equality, literature, the culture of beauty, work and the global economy, domestic violence, motherhood and more. This is an invaluable resource for any feminist.
Sarah Shaffi is a freelance literary journalist and event chair, editor-at-large for the independent children’s publisher Little Tiger Group, and co-founder of BAME in Publishing.