As a long time feminist but a short term lover of non-fiction I thought it was time to update my feminist recommendations to include some of the best non-fiction picks, I’ve read! I did a post all about my ‘feminist classics’ many months ago so for more recs click here
Top Feminist non-fiction picks
Difficult Women by Helen Lewis-
For a full review click here. I have raved about this book multiple times and rightly so! Lewis focuses on the term ‘difficult women’ and applies it to the varied issues throughout feminism- from lack of representation to internal fights to the lauding of problematic figures and asks how do we navigate these problems?
An interesting and vital read for anyone intrigued to know more about little known moments in feminist history, as well as those who are keen to explore how we can marry together the problems of feminisms past with the work they have done for the feminist future. (TW- Sexism, Racism, Abuse, Violence, Sexual assault, Child abuse, Imprisonment, force-feeding.)
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay-
In a collection of varied and exciting essays, Gay explores what it means to be a ‘bad feminist.’ Covering a large range of topics such as racism, mental health, feminity, weight, academia and more these essays are accessible and important reading.
The reason I love this work so much is not only because Gay writes so eloquently and makes multiple key points but because she is not afraid to question her own prejudices. A particularly standout essay for me is her talking about trigger warnings. She begins by saying she personally doesn’t understand them but throughout the essay, she comes to the acknowledgement of why they are important and the worth of them being included. It is her ability to dissect both society and herself that makes this book one of my favourites. (TW- Rape, sexual assault, police brutality, racism, misogyny and related issues.)
I know why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou-
For a full review written for my university book club click here. Anyone who knows me knows that Maya Angelou is my feminist icon- her work (especially her poem Still I rise) has been a huge inspiration to me.
I know why the caged bird sings is the first in a series of autobiographies following Angelou’s childhood in the deep south. Written like a novel this is a brutal yet beautiful exploration of her early years including the racism and misogyny she experienced as well as the aftermath of a rape at the hands of her mother’s partner. Angelou’s life story is powerful and hopeful and leaves a legacy we can all follow and learn from. (TW- Extreme violence both sexual and otherwise, racism, childhood trauma)
The Women’s Atlas, Joni Seager-
Now in its fifth edition, the Women’s atlas is an atlas with women in mind. Chock full of statistics from around the world regarding accessibility, women’s health, violence against women and other related topics this is vital reading for those who want to arm themselves with stats and facts to shut the sexists up.
Well designed and laid out this is a great starting point for a more fact-driven takedown of sexism.