If you are a fellow bookworm like us and would like to expand your library with some good books on feminism, this is the perfect article for you. Some of these are beloved books on our own shelves, while some are just those on top of our to-buy list. Burn that quarantine time away by helping yourselves to some great reads.
1. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
For most Filipinos, education is something that society expects us to pursue no matter our class or gender. It's seen as the way to a brighter future. But for Malala and most of her fellow Pakistani youth, the price they have to pay to learn at school is their safety. When Taliban terrorists began bombing schools, Malala saw how it became harder for students to attend their classes. Determined as ever, Malala continued to voice out her opinion against the terrorist activities of the Taliban and the Pakistani youth's right for education.
"If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?"
This book is about a girl and her courage. She believes girls deserve to be educated, too. She wants to set a great example to her friends. And even after getting shot in the head, she continues to bravely say her piece. So the next time people say you do stuff "like a girl" as an insult, look back to this book and get inspired by Malala's courage.
2. My Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug by Sarah Lacy
Years and years of revolution and here we are at a point in time where women can be CEOs and a mother of five children could also have a day job. But how empowered are we really? This memoir from tech journalist Sarah Lacy proves how much more we have to fight for. She worked her way up from being a columnist. She became senior editor and, after 2 years, she founded PandoDaily, an online publication for articles on Silicon Valley startups.
Even as a founder and EIC, she was questioned a lot because she was also a mom. Society tells women we can't have it all - and by all, it means a steady career and great life as a mother. Sarah debunks why that is so. From unequal chores distribution to misogyny in the workplace, it seems like an endless fight for working women everywhere.
"Don't let anyone ever tell you that becoming a mother - or even having an unrealized ability to become a mother - is weakness or something to fear."
She also shares how she made it work but not without difficulty. Obstacles include her exposé on Uber in 2014 and how Uber executive Emil Michael threatened Sarah and her family (You may watch the video below for more details). If you're a career woman who struggles to make sense of a sexist workplace and the ridiculous expectations of society, this book is definitely for you!
3. Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights
In the Philippines, abortion is still considered illegal, mainly due to the religious influences when it comes to making laws relevant to family (like divorce). In this book, Katha uses both facts and social studies to share why abortion is a fundamental human right.
"To force women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will is to deprive them of the right to make basic decisions about their lives and well-being, and to give that power to the state.”
4. Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis
A book on intersectional feminism, you say? Angela Davis got you covered.
"“Woman” was the test, but not every woman seemed to qualify.Black women, of course, were virtually invisible within the protracted campaign for woman suffrage."
5. Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
"The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me that’s not royally fucked up."
6. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The word "feminist" has always been associated with negativity - hostile, angry, man-hater, hysterical, feminazi - we've heard them all. This short read from Chimamanda is definitely an eye-opener and an inspiration as well. In this book, she talks about what she (and probably most of us as well) was taught as a girl and how shame was an instrument in keeping us silent and obedient.
"We teach girls to shrink themselves...we spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them."
Resist what were taught and what we teach boys and girls. Discover why we should all be feminists in this short and sweet read.
7. What's A Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne
Feminism and YA? Doesn't seem like a match, does it? But Holly Bourne did the trick when she wrote What's a Girl Gotta Do. This is the third book in Bourne's Spinster Trilogy. The story revolves around Lottie and her feminism project. She aims to call out every piece of sexism she sees around her, in both men and women, and posts about them online. Various issues arise like cognitive dissonance, activism burnout, and being a feminist in progress.
What's a Girl Gotta Do is actually one of the books that sparked J's inner feminist (Sidenote: J finished reading the book in 2 days). We've been taught that women should be obedient and silent. That men are always in power. That women should not be too loud. Growing up, we've never had books with this kind of material but we're glad Holly Bourne is continuously writing books that set a good example and teach great lessons, albeit, in YA format.
8. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
“Where I come from, voicelessness is the condition of my gender, as normal as the bosoms on a woman’s chest, as necessary as the next generation growing inside her belly.”
Source: Books Illuminated
9. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
“When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.”
10. It's a Mens World by Bebang Siy
If you're looking for a Filipino (Tagalog) book, this one's from the co-author of Pukiusap, Bebang Siy. She also translated John Green's books to Tagalog.
And no, it's not a typo on the title. The "Mens" refer to menstruation as this books uncovers the protagonist's pagdadalaga (female puberty).
And there you have it! We hope these books can keep your mind company amid the community quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember that feminism is more than just a gender issue; it cuts through class, diverse abilities, race, age, and more. #intersectionalfeminism To be honest, reading what these wonderful authors have to say makes the issue more alive in our hearts. We hope it could spark your inner feminist as well!