7 Feminist Books You'll Love Reading
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7 Feminist Books You'll Love Reading

Books that'll have you shouting "Girl Power" like Sporty Spice.

Ever since my young days as Spice Girls fan, throwing up a peace sign and shouting "Girl Power," I've known I was a feminist. I hadn't quite defined the feeling with a word, but as I matured I came to proudly claim that I believed in equality of the sexes with the use of one simple sentence: I am a feminist.

March 8th marks an International Women's Day with many women rustled by the current social and political climate. Us gals, though, and our ardent male allies, aren't going down without a fight. If you are looking for fuel for your activist fire, are a feminist looking to learn more, or want to celebrate International Women's Day, grab one of these books.

I get that as a college student the last thing you probably want to do is read more. You might as well call it voluntary homework, ammiright? I cannot deny, reading for pleasure in college is a hard sell. That being said, these books are worth it.

First off, reading for fun (any reading at all) is a great outlet during stressful periods. Second, these books are awesome; they are all well-written, captivating, and thought-provoking. In fact, I picked up most of these pieces (and voraciously ate up every word) because I thought they were interesting, not necessarily because I thought they were feminist reads.

On that note, the third reason is that these books boast important themes. Feminism is not women complaining; women's rights are about equality, human rights, and progress for humanity. The books also touch upon predicaments entrenched within race, class, immigration, relationships, the media, and the government.

Succinctly, every college kid should read these books because they are great, entertaining, and important. And, not only is this a time in a college kid's life where they should be absorbed in such provocative ideas, but this is the time, in 2017, in the current political and social climate, when society truly needs to explore these ideas. Not to mention, they offer good and intelligent conversational fodder (ahem job interviews or meeting your S.O.'s parents). So, take a peek at these seven killer reads.

1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This compelling and original novel follows the path of a Nigerian girl and her childhood love, immigration to the US, experience with racism, and return back home. There are talks of a movie adaptation produced by Brad Pitt and starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo, so read it before it hits the screens.

2. Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
Gay's compilation of essays will make you laugh, feel touched, and want to shake your head and go "mhhmm that's what I'm talking about." She paints a real image of the struggle to be a woman, and, more specifically, the struggle to be a black woman in a white washed world. If you need proof that she's entertaining, just peruse her Twitter.

3. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Kaur divides her collection of poems into four parts, "the hurting," "the loving," "the breaking," and "the healing" to explore the simultaneous bitterness and sweetness of personhood, but more poignantly womanhood. The book reads quickly and makes for a nice permanent installation on your nightstand when you need affirmation that you are not alone.

4. When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip Hop Feminist by Joan Morgan
This humorous and genuinely down-to-earth book delves into the difficulty of being a feminist in the modern era. Morgan particularly addresses the hardships faced by black women, which is important for every person to read.

5. Lee Miller: On Both Sides of the Camera by Carolyn Burke
Lee Miller is one of the best and baddest HBIC you've probably never heard of. This biography fills in the details of the woman who was a Vogue model, muse to Man Ray and Picasso, and World War II photo correspondent. Within these roles you glimpse into her travels, musings, wild sex parties, and stories of general badassery.

6. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adapted from a TED Talk, this long essay is witty and right-on in convincing anyone they ought to be a feminist. If you like this piece, you might also like Adichie's Facebook post How to Raise a Feminist Daughter .

7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Set in a future where women are stripped of their rights, including their right to read, this novel portrays a dystopian society that matches the charm of books like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. Although published in 1985, since Trump's presidency, the book has resurfaced onto best selling lists. The book is also currently being adapted by Hulu into a show with the same name.

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3 Myths About Feminists, Dismantled

Yes, I'm a feminist. No, I don't hate men.

Can you recall the first time you were exposed to the term "feminism"?

In seventh grade, when a guest speaker defined feminism to our class as the belief that women and men should have equal rights, I was confused. Why do we need a word for this? Isn't everyone a feminist? Despite the seemingly obvious answer, many people in today's society still refuse to accept this label.

Before we criticize people who don't identify as feminists, let's try to understand what leads them to avoid this label. Here are three common misconceptions about feminism in today's culture:

Myth #1: Feminists hate men
Correction: Feminists hate the patriarchy.
This claim seems absurd, but I know a number of people claiming to be feminists who bash on men. Let me be clear: there is a difference between criticizing a man for objectifying a woman, and criticizing all men for objectifying all women.

Calling an individual out for their actions, by my standards, is fair. Where the problem lies, is in those who get so swept up in hating the patriarchy, that they mistake the patriarchy for all men.

While plenty of men certainly fall under the category of "misogynistic", it's important to also note that many men don't. The patriarchy is a problematic system that has been in place for centuries. Men of our time, on the other hand, are a group of individuals, and should be treated as such. True feminism embraces this fact.

*Note that this stereotype is particularly harmful to the movement of feminism because it leads people to falsely believe that only women can be feminists.

Myth #2: Feminists hate families
Correction: Feminists want having a family to be a choice, not an expectation, and they respect that choice.
The misunderstanding that has evolved into this stereotype begins with the idea of women wanting a choice. What I want as a feminist is the right to choose whether or not to get married, have kids, and be a stay-at-home mom.

I have great respect for those who choose this lifestyle, and great respect for those who find themselves living under different circumstances. What I don't want, is people telling me I should live a certain lifestyle simply because I'm a woman. Get it?

Myth #3: Feminists are always angry
Correction: Feminists get frustrated when they are put in a box.
Wouldn't you be, if people were constantly misjudging you? What some people may perceive as perpetual anger, is realistically a surge of frustration manifesting itself whenever someone uses one of these stereotypes, and many more, to reject the label of "feminist".

I believe that the feeling of frustration is not only entirely valid, but it can also prove itself useful in changing how feminists are perceived. Next time you hear someone make an inaccurate claim about feminism, feel that frustration and use it to inform those around you.

Being a feminist has nothing to do with hate, and everything to do with respect, freedom of choice, and equality.

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The Best Feminist Websites

You don't have to be a feminist to enjoy these websites.

Living under a Trump presidency, being a feminist is more important than ever. With all Trump has done against women and his policies so far concerning women, feminists need to stand strong together. So if you're a feminist, here are the best websites to read to stay updated and informed.

Bustle
Bustle is an all-around great feminist website. It reports on news, lifestyle, books... pretty much everything. Bustle is also really great about writing about feminism and mental health as well.

Venus
Venus is a great website. They have feminist articles but they also share artwork and photography on their website. They also have a "Dear Venus" where you can ask for advice or just vent if you need to.

The best part about this site, though, has to be two things: they have a "Venus of the Week" where they highlight a great woman and they accept pitches, so if you want to write an article for them, you can.

Broadly
Broadly is an offshoot of Vice that focuses just on women. It's a great website with really great writing about all things women. They are also really great in writing and reporting about marginalized women.

The best part about this website is the excellent stories and writing. Since it's an offshoot of Vice, the reporting is great and the fact that it just focus on women is even better. Plus, if you're looking for intersectional feminism, this is a great place for that.

The Establishment
The Establishment is such a great feminist website. This website is all about intersectional feminism in all of its forms. And if you want to join their membership program, you get access to all kinds of stuff like life advice and a sex column to name a few.

Other cool features of this website include the fact that you can sponsor a story on the website and you can pitch them stories that, if accepted, pay $125 per article.

Feministing
This is another really great intersectional feminist website covering all kinds of feminist topics. Their website isn't the best in terms of design and ease of use, but their content more than makes up for that.

The best part of this feminist website is that they have a community section that anyone can write for so there is never a lack of feminist voices.

Everyday Feminism
Last but certainly not least, here's another really great feminist website. This website, which also covers intersectional feminism, covers all kinds of topics relating to feminism.

The best part of this website is the fact that it offers online courses. These courses, while they aren't free, cover great topics such as self love, relationships, and their latest one is about healing from toxic whiteness.

You can never follow enough feminist websites so if you aren't follow these, do it. These websites are worth it.

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5 Books You Should Power Through This Summer

Knowledge is power.

Need a back-up plan for any lazy days this summer, or do you just want to find a great beach read? Here are five page-turners guaranteed to pique your interest.

1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Haven't seen the movie Hidden Figures? Reading the book is the next best thing. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, details the remarkable achievements of African American mathematicians called into service during the second World War.

Working in an all black computing group and segregated from their white counterparts, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden still managed to help NASA win the space race without buckling under the pressure. How's that for inspiration?

source: goodreads.com

2. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life
How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life is a hilarious collection of stories from Lilly Singh's own life meant to give readers a leg-up on becoming the most confident, successful, and happy "bawse" you can be. This isn't your typical how-to book, as Lilly places more stock in fighting tooth and nail for what you want instead of silently slaving away in hopes of catching a big break.

By the time that you finish this, you'll be more than ready to take on all summer has to offer.

source: goodreads.com

3. I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
With quirky opinions on everything from social media and cultural obsession, to rampant drama in the televised world, Luvvie Ajayi gives her unique perspective on the increasingly digital lives that we all lead.

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual is a collection of candid truths about modern day conundrums and a how-to for those of us who tread lightly when on the subject of pop-culture.

Source: goodreads.com

4. Nasty Women
Have you ever heard the term "nasty woman"? Well, the myriad of contributors who helped pen this book sure have, and are definitely making the most of it. Nasty Women is a collection of essays and accounts on what it's really like to be a woman in the 21st century.

Inequality, sexual assault, racial divides, immigration, and much more are explored amid this in-depth feminine viewpoint of modern society.

source: goodreads.com

5. It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays
Shane Dawson, a popular YouTube personality, has come back with another hilarious collection of essays detailing even more stories about his personal life that are sure to have you snorting with laughter. It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays is another shining example of Shane's quirky sense of humor.

From hiring psychics to being at odds with celebrities, Shane inspires everyone to keep it real by divulging his most relatable moments. Caught within the clutches of a dull day this summer? This book is sure to liven it up.

source: goodreads.com

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Summer Reading You'll Actually Enjoy

Nothing that was assigned for class, don't worry.

Back in the day, "summer reading" was not something we looked forward to, let alone something we actually accomplished. Now that we're maturing (kind of), it's time to start spending some poolside downtime with a great book.

Books are perfect when it comes to making conversation on dates, at work, and at the family summer-solstice party. Mysteries, Romance, Self-Help... Oh my! You name it, there's a book. As for Summer 2016, let's see what's making big waves...

1. See Me, Nicholas Sparks
It wouldn't be summer without a new Nicholas Sparks on the shelf. Finish reading this gem before the movie comes to a theater near you!

2. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
Speaking of books that became movies, this feature film is coming out soon! You better get to reading. If you're a Games of Thrones fan, Khaleesi will be playing the female lead role in the movie version of this amazing romance.

3. The Nest, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Everyone can agree that this instant New York Times Best Seller is both hilarious and big-hearted. It follows the story of four siblings and how a shared inheritance shaped their lives.

4. Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes
This talented author was the creator of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and the executive producer for How to Get Away With Murder. She discusses how saying YES for a year changed her life -and how it can change yours.

5. I Was Here, Gayle Forman
The author of If I Stay is back, but this time she brings some mystery and more tragedy. In the words of author Stephen Chbosky, "Gayle has given us an unflinchingly honest portrait of the bravery that it takes to live after devastating loss."

6. The Weekenders, Mary Kay Andrews
Murder mystery in a summer setting... Perfect! Nothing like something to give you chills while you're soaking up the hot summer sun. This is currently a Barnes & Noble top seller!

7. A Girl's Guide to Moving On, Debbie Macomber
This book is everywhere this summer! Macomber is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her guide to moving on is shown through her two main characters -a former mother and daughter-in-law- who leave their cheating husbands and explore what comes next together.

8. Pretty Happy, Kate Hudson
Yes, the same Kate Hudson we all know and love is now an author. Kate's book is all about how to create a healthy mind-body-spirit. There's no better time to start tackling such an incredible goal than summer! I'll be taking her advice due to her rocking bod, glowing skin, and the fact that she scored a dinner date with Nick Jonas. Go, girl.

If you're into the classic paperbacks, head into your local bookstore, or even half-priced book stores, to stock up on your reads! You can also go digital and get these on eBooks. Download the Kindle app! You DO NOT have to have a Kindle to use this app: iPhones, iPads, Androids, Macs, Windows, and other devices will all work with the kindle app!

Who knows, after spending the summer reading, you may get inspired to write your own like I did last summer! You'll look extra hot with a bit of mystery as you lay on the beach buried deep into your current novel.

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It Kind of Sucks Being a Feminist Sometimes

The double standard is exhausting.

Feminism: about 50-percent of people I talk to equate that one word with man-hating bra burners. I say, "Why can't women get equal pay?" and I get responses like, "But women pick lower-paying jobs," or, "the statistics are skewed in women's favor," or, my personal favorite, a subject change. It seems like there aren't too many people on the feminist side, and being on the side with fewer players can get discouraging.

If you should ever get the chance, be in a dialogue. It's a certain kind of discussion where you do more listening than talking and you listen to both sides. For my class, we talked about women. Some interesting topics we talked about were equal pay for equal work, taking a husband's last name, and women's portrayal in the media. I learned so much about what guys think about these kinds of things, and I also realized something else: most guys have never had conversations like these.

The guys in our class looked shocked and/or mortified whenever we girls got aggressive about how we get catcalled all the time. I'm not sure if it was because they never really thought about it, or that they had done it before and didn't like being called out on it. Either way, it seemed like the guys had never heard about women's issues and were frozen in fear thinking about it.

Now I'm not saying that all guys are ignorant about women and their problems, but nearly every college-aged guy that I have talked to about what they thought of women's pay or workplace harassment has either admitted they didn't think about it or tried to change the subject. The problem with being a feminist in college is that we are trying to make things known that are either previously unknown or ignored, and unless it's required for a class, most of my college guy friends don't like talking about it.

But why? I don't understand why this isn't something we talk about more often. You would think that college would be the best place for feminists to grow and thrive. If anything, it's where feminists are tested to see how much we are willing to talk to and reason with non-feminists who just don't get it. We have struggled past the man-hating bra-burning stereotype too, and let me tell you, that still exists in college, despite how educated we claim to be.

Most feminists I've met claimed they became feminists in college, and that is certainly true for me. To be a feminist in college is to fight constant ignorance, centuries-old biases, and stubborn macho-man personas that don't want any woman on their playing field. Sometimes it's hard enough where I want to hang up my hat, but this is what every movement is about: sticking to it, no matter what. In the end, we know we have truth on our side, and even if I don't see it in my lifetime, women will be treated equally eventually.