The 10 Best Feminist Books

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This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in March of 2018. Feminism can mean different things to different people, because the term is constantly evolving to include a wider range of marginalized voices. Whether you're already a gender theory enthusiast or interested in further reading after witnessing the "Me Too" movement, this list offers inspirational options addressing a wide spectrum of issues from a variety of perspectives. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Men Explain Things to Me

2. We Should All Be Feminists

3. Down Girl

Editor's Notes

May 22, 2020:

The word feminism can conjure up all sorts of stereotypes and negative connotations for people, and these books are just a small sampling of works meant to change that. Written by level-headed, educated women, they propose a range of ideas and perspectives to help flesh out the intricacies of feminism as it stands today, along with how equality benefits everybody in society. If you'd like to explore additional titles in this vein, you might want to check out our list of works that look at modern femininity and enlightening books about feminism as well.

Readers interested in gender dynamics as applied to politics will appreciate the newly-added Down Girl, a clearly-written work by assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell University, Kate Manne. She elucidates very clearly on a handful of examples by breaking them down and homing in on the finer points with thoughtful consideration, quotes, and data. It strikes a nice balance between academic and insightful and isn't overrun with jargon or needless filler of any sort. It discusses the 2016 American presidential election and what led up to it in great detail.

Also joining the ranks is The Radium Girls, which we brought on at the expense of My Brilliant Friend. While Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels propose interesting characters and an engaging plot, the writing can be tedious and the story isn't necessarily appealing to a very diverse readership. We felt The Radium Girls, an exhaustively-researched true recounting about women who worked with radium in the time of WW1, should be compelling and enlightening for a multitude of people. The story is naturally arresting and confronts myriad issues that women face, such as being seen as disposable, ignored despite dire consequences, and belittled, even when facing unendurable hardships.

Finally, we wanted to include a foil to Lean In, which is itself an actionable guide that dives deep into workplace inequality. However, many people have taken issue with the idea that privileged women like Sheryl Sandberg make up the bulk of who is being heard and addressed when it comes to feminist issues. We included Hood Feminism to bring some hard questions to light for those who are truly willing to engage in proactive discussions about where the movement is headed and how to root out inconsistencies and oppression, even when it's women doing the oppressing.

Special Honors

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman First Edition One of the earliest works of feminist philosophy, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was originally published in 1792 by Mary Wollstonecraft. It is considered a cornerstone of the movement that was way ahead of its time and advocates for liberty and equality for all humanity. This rare first edition is in near fine condition, bound in full morocco, marbled endpapers, and housed in a custom slipcase. It features many fascinating language and printing quirks of the period.

4. Bad Feminist

5. The Radium Girls

6. Feminism is for Everybody

7. Hood Feminism

8. Gender Trouble

9. Lean In

10. Women in Science

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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