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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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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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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What You Should Know About Being An English Major

It's more than just hipsters reading obscure novels.

When you tell people you're an English major, they automatically think you want to be the next Stephen King. They picture you as a typical hipster and assume you spend your free time reading obscure novels and writing poetry.

But for most of us, that's not the case. As an English major, you'll be pushing your brain to its limits and experiencing the classic college diagnoses of procrastination and disillusion.

Make no mistake, English is a great major, but you should be prepared before you dive in. Here's what to expect:

Writing classes.
There are two main types of English classes: writing and literature. The writing classes are basically group therapy. All those hipster associations about obscure novels and poetry are mostly true here. Some people are dead-set on writing their novel and will whine if they have to do anything else. Then there's the YA cult who, for some reason, loves to read books meant for 14-year-olds.

You'll be expected to write pieces that say something profound about humanity or the universe. If that's your thing, you'll fit right in. If it's not, good luck.

But most English majors will only take a few writing classes. Most of the English classes you'll take are...

Literature classes.
Do you like reading? Be prepared for that to change. You'll be wading through texts so dry you'll get dehydrated. You likely won't study the "fun" stuff. Instead, there's lots of social commentary, archaic satire, and slavery novels. Oh, and after you've read 125 pages in two days, you'll have to write a paper on it.

That said, if you can't stand boring literature but love to pour out your soul through the written word, then Creative Writing is probably the major you're looking for. Here in Englishland, it's mostly critical analysis and theory with a side of writing.

It's not as artsy as you think.
Sure, you might study some of the finest contemporary poetry, but most of the time, you're pretending you don't have a 10-page research paper on Victorian literature due.

You have to read for analysis, not for enjoyment.
As an English major, you can't read the assigned texts for enjoyment. You have to read them and be aware of the craft behind them. You have to recognize themes, study character motives, and put yourself in the author's shoes. If you read for enjoyment, you'll miss out on the big picture.

There's lots of freedom.
In most majors, you have to follow a set path (Chem I, Chem II, Organic Chem I...). With an English major, you can mostly take whatever you want, whenever you want. Want to take U.S. Literature and Poetry II in the same semester? Go ahead. The world is your oyster.

When it comes to gen eds, work smarter, not harder.
Even though you want to spend your time with your major, there will still be those pesky gen ed classes to get through. (Sadly, that does include math and science.)

Pro tip: See if you can take these non-major classes online. That's your best bet. For the ones you can't take online, aim for big lecture classes. The material is usually easier, and the attendance policies tend to be more lenient.

You'll learn skills you'll use for life.
Like Business Insider pointed out, as an English major, you'll learn how to think critically, write, and deal with people. Those are valuable skills that will always be in demand, and they'll also make you a more well-rounded person.

Personally, I find that being an English major has given me a particularly rewarding college experience. While it's strenuous at times, the payoff is great. Get ready for some of the best years of your life - welcome to the English major!

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I Was A "Not Like the Other Girls" Girl

What does sisterhood mean to girls who don't fit in?

I have a confession to make: I roll my eyes at most declarations of sisterhood. I scroll past articles that call for solidarity among women. When I see a headline screaming "Support other women!" my fingers itch to close the tab. "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." The tab is closed.

I am a feminist, believe it or not. I agree with most of the message, and I have friends of all genders. Yes, we should all strive to be kind to our fellow women. Yes, jealousy and competitiveness is a bad thing. Hating femininity is bad. Internalized misogyny is something we should consider. We can all agree on this.

But how is this sisterhood upheld? What does sisterhood mean to girls who don't fit in?

Some girls slip through the cracks of the social net. You probably know this girl. "I don't hang out with girls because they're so much drama," she tells you. "I'm not like the other girls," she says.

If you're nice, you tell her she needs to work on her internalized misogyny. If you're not nice, you tell her this is why she doesn't have any friends, she is upholding girl hate, and she is everything wrong with feminism and gender issues today, that if she were just more accepting to other women, she too would have the idyllic, sleepover-loving cookie-dough-eating hand-sanitizer-sharing girlhood that you and your besties have.

The first time someone informed me I was "not like the other girls" I was twelve and trying to watch Yu-Gi-Oh! at a sleepover. Unlike my sixth grade friends, I was not interested in Lizzie McGuire, talking about the lackluster middle school boys, or seeing Mean Girls again.

It was not that I thought I was cooler, better, or different from my friends. I didn't want my friend's brother to like me. I wasn't trying to impress anyone. I just wanted to play video games and read Shonen Jump. "Not like other girls" was not a mantle I chose for myself. No sixth grader wants to stand out from the crowd. The title of tomboy was thrust upon me by my peers.

You can imagine my surprise, as a teenager, when I was told that embracing my loner tomboyish side was actually bad and I was perpetrating girl hate. In my eyes, I had experienced the girl hate.

I have a wild and radical proposal: We should be nice to girls. All girls. "Weird" girls. "Normal" girls. All of them. I only got out of my "not like the other girls" stage through making a friend, a girl friend, who reached out to me.

Being mean to girls who are different than you is not upholding sisterhood or feminism. When you put other girls down for being different, or for being more or less feminine, you are the problem. You are instigating girl hate.

It doesn't matter if you criticize girls with high heels or girls who play sports with their brothers. If some girls feel like other girls are "too much drama" or "catty", is the best way to teach them about the wonders of female friendship by making fun of them?

If feminine solidarity and sisterhood is truly important to you, maybe it's time to rethink how we treat girls at the fringes.