International Women’s Day is upon us. That seems like as good a time as any to remind ourselves that our feminist thinking must be intersectional to be truly feminist.
With this in mind, we rounded up our favourite books that look at the women’s experiences, and how they interact with other types of oppression.
1. ‘To My Trans Sisters’ – Edited by Charlie Craggs, Amazon, £11.34
Dedicated to all trans women, this collection of letters explores experiences of trans womanhood, as well as advice that women would have given their younger selves.
Not tailoring itself to the cisgender gaze, this book sheds light on the intersection of transness and living within the patriarchy, through 70 women’s stories. Focusing on community, sisterhood and collective joy, add this to your collection immediately.
2. ‘Revolting Prostitutes’ – Juno Mac and Molly Smith, Amazon, £11.85
This one’s a must-read. The new release by Verso books is perfect for anyone who doesn’t know much about the the much-needed fight for sex workers’ rights.
In their in-depth, compelling case, Molly Smith and Juno Mac explain why borders, capitalism, race, class and gender all come into the conversation about sex work.
3. ‘Hunger’ – Roxane Gay, Amazon, £8.99
Feminist thinker Roxane Gay can write about anything well, whether that’s growing up Haitian American, being a Scrabble champion, or the fact that it doesn’t necessarily make you a ‘Bad Feminist’ if you like the bassline of ‘Blurred Lines’.
In ‘Hunger’, her compelling memoir about her body, she takes on her experiences of food and fatness as a black woman; as well as how her body is intertwined with trauma.
4. ‘Lean Out’ – Dawn Foster, Amazon, £5.97
We all remember ‘Lean In’, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book on women in the workplace, where she argued that women just need to lean in to their jobs and careers to gain success. But in the aptly named ‘Lean Out’, journalist Dawn Foster explains why this argument only works for the 1%.
Foster also points out that working class women were particularly hit by the financial crash, and that this type of “trickle-down feminism” potentially benefits the corporations that caused the crisis in the first place. A great read for those who want to improve class-consciousness in their feminism.
Buy it here
5. ‘Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice’ – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Amazon, £9.72
Disabled people are consistently overlooked in mainstream conversations about feminism, despite the fact that they face sexism and misogyny differently.
In ‘Care Work’, writer and disability activist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha lays out the self-love and community care done by disabled queer people and people of colour, ensuring no one is left behind.
6. ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ – Reni Eddo-Lodge, Amazon, £5.53
There are many good things about Reni Eddo-Lodge, including her staunch, formidable tone, her political background, her historical knowledge, and her humour. But what her Sunday Times Bestseller ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ perhaps best showcases is her refusal to whitewash her feminism.
Eddo-Lodge says that feminism can’t exist without looking at race, walking us through black British history and the more recent blogosphere phenomenon while she explains why.
7. ‘It’s Not About The Burqa’ – Edited by Mariam Khan, Amazon, £10.40
So often in mainstream media, Muslim women are spoken for rather than given the platforms to speak themselves. But writer Mariam Khan is changing that – her collection ‘It’s Not About The Burqa’ brings together essays from 17 Muslim women on faith, the hijab, feminism, queer identity, sex and more. This hot-off-the-press release will give you a good grounding in the current climate of Islamophobia in Britain, as well as the varied and unique experiences that come with the intersection of Muslim identity and gender.
8. ‘Your Silence Will Not Protect You’ – Audre Lorde, Amazon, £11.34
Audre Lorde died in 1992, but her words are as relevant today as ever. This posthumous collection of essays, poems and speeches by the black lesbian thinker, united in one collection for the first time.
One of the most powerful lines in this work reads: “Black feminism is not white feminism in blackface.” This serves to perfectly articulate the praxis of intersectionality – a pertinent reminder that it’s more than tokenism, and must go beyond acting as a buzzword.
9. ‘Can We All Be Feminists?’ – June Eric-Udorie, Amazon, £7.98
In 20-year-old activist June Eric-Udorie’s anthology, 17 women discuss feminism and the importance of intersectionality. This collection spans race, religion, disability and other domains of marginalisation. It also tackles the difficulty that some women have with identifying with feminism as a movement, utilising intersectionality as the tool to combat this.
10. ‘Feminism Is For Everybody’ – bell hooks, Amazon, £18.99
To finish with a bang – this is what intersectionality is about. Pluto Press described this release as “the antidote to every ‘when’s international men’s day?!’ tweet”, as it lays down all of the basics and more.
Designed to be read by all genders, bell hooks (she doesn’t capitalise) explains in accessible terms exactly what feminism is, what lies at the heart of it, and why the movement must continue today. What’s more, she doesn’t scrape over issues that should be the concern of all feminists, including sexual violence, racism and homophobia. If you’re wanting a comprehensive, in-depth whistlestop tour through intersectional feminism, this is a great place to start.
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