7 Feminist Books You'll Love Reading
College Life |  Source: s1.r29static.com

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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College Life |  Source: Hoang Bin

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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College Life | 

College Feminism 101: The Bachelor

I'm a feminist and I watch The Bachelor.

The Bachelor sounds like the least feminist show on television. Twenty-five women spend a season competing against one another for a male partner, oftentimes in objectifying ways like physical competitions--and all with the goal of marrying the bachelor at the end. (After six weeks of "dating".)

But hear me out on this one. It's not all bad--this season, the show has managed to impress me with some feminist themes.

Strong women
I'm mainly referring to Jubilee, who was active-duty in the Army for four years and served in Afghanistan for one. Women make up only 14.5 percent of active-duty military--and Jubilee is showing women that they can succeed in these roles. She also recently made sergeant.

Body positivity
Olivia may be considered a villain on the show after saying some pretty rude things. (Who can forget the Teen Mom reference?) But that doesn't excuse the body shaming the other girls targeted her with (like attacking her breath and toes). Yet, she stood up for herself and all women who have been body shamed. That's empowering.

Motherhood
Amanda is a single mom to two young girls--and she was dating, expanding the definition of a "good mother". Hint: It doesn't require always being home 24/7 with your children, giving up a career, or giving up a search for love. She does what works for her, and that's all that matters!

Slut shaming being shut down
Twins Haley and Emily addressed--and slayed--their slut-shamers when they responded to comments on their short shorts with, "I wore them because I look good in them." Exactly. The haters were shut down with that perfect answer--not that it's anyone's business to begin with.

Traditional gender roles are rejected
Everyone can cook. Men can cook. Women can cook. People of any gender can cook. Thank you to Ben for supporting that. Women shouldn't be expected to cook. It's 2016--this should be a given, but it's not, so we need people like Ben to say it out loud. Ben, to his credit, even responded to a sexist comment made by two chefs in Mexico City that appeared on the show.

Sex isn't the most important thing
You don't have to have sex (but you can) and both options are totally okay. Becca's a virgin, and that's important to her. Many of the other women aren't, and they're OK with that. The point is, no one should be shamed for whatever decision they make. Also, shout out to Becca for standing up for The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn, who was completely slut-shamed for having sex with Nick Viall before the fantasy suite. Also, this is my kind of workout.

Beauty + Brains
Being drop dead gorgeous and smart are not mutually exclusive. I'm so inspired by the women on this show. They are mathematicians, dentists, aestheticians, news anchors, and gerontologists, among many other really awesome jobs. Having a career doesn't mean someone can't pursue love, be on reality television, or be gorgeous.

So yeah, I'm a feminist and I watch The Bachelor. Ninety percent of the time, I'm cringing because of the objectification of women, the pressure/expectation to marry, and cutthroat competition/women putting each other down. BUT sometimes, The Bachelor just might surprise you with its feminist themes.

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College Life |  Source: @thompsonlxs_

Why Being a Girl is Great

Believe it or not, there's some good stuff too!

We live in a time where women have it tough. We are constantly watching what we eat, what makeup we put on, and what exactly everyone thinks of us. Admittedly, as ladies, we've got it tough.

However, there are some undeniable facts about being a girl that are totally badass! Sure we have cramps and sexism to deal with (trust me, I'm not brushing those off to the side), but there are some good things to being a woman.

1. We are pretty.
Yup, every single one of us is pretty. Some of us may not be conventionally pretty, but we are certainly the fairer sex in comparison to dudes. We got all kinds of lovely curves that guys don't.

I've also noticed a pattern: there is always one thing you can name about yourself physically that you like and other people consider as pretty. For instance, I love how my hair naturally highlights in the summer, and I've gotten compliments on how it looks when it does.

2. We can take people by surprise.
When a guy lifts 200 pounds, nobody bats an eye. When a girl does it, it's super impressive. This impressiveness may come out in some guys as jealousy and they act like man children, but either way, we seem to be able to do simple things and surprise guys.

I know a girl that can fly a plane and boy do guys think that's cool. There's another girl that has incredibly mental math skills and she takes the guys by storm. And on and on the stories go.

3. We can rock anything we wear.
Sorry dudes, but dresses don't tend to look as good on you as they do us. They hug us in all the right places and make us look great.

We also can wear pants and make them look great. We can wear just a normal t-shirt and look adorable. We can wear a suit and make it look awesome, whether we wear high heels or flats. Really, we just look great in anything we chose to wear on any given day.

4. We are magical, mythical, beautiful creatures.
By magic, I mean we can give birth to other little baby humans if we so choose. We can also sing higher than guys can (usually). We have the awesome ability of understanding basic fashion and makeup vocabulary where most guys have no clue where to start.

We can be captivating. We can be cool. We are so diverse it is ridiculous. We are magic, and believe it or not, being a woman can be pretty awesome sometimes.

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College Life |  Source: @armisan

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.


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College Life |  Source: ronkitchens.com

10 Books to Read This Summer

You can only watch so much Netflix.

For the uncertain and hopeful kid in all of us that doesn't quite know how to adult yet.

1. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Her senior year, Keegan wrote an article for the New York Times, begging us to question if we should seek practicality or meaning in our work. She then published a moving essay in the graduation issue of the Yale newspaper about hopefulness and fear for the uncertain future, and gratitude for people "on your team." She was killed 5 days after graduation in a car accident. The book is a compilation of her laptop's recovered essays that will have you reevaluating and searching for your life's purpose. These are essays that will stay with you--that will change with you.

2. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Read this emotional autobiography for lessons on adulting, fucking up, taking chances, and heartbreak.

3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
This book is based on a college lecture that a dying Pausch gave entitled, "Fulfilling your childhood dreams." The novel is poignant, wise, and brimming with quotes you'll want to put on a poster or something.

4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Secret History is a classic murder mystery that helps to make sense of the strange chaos that is college--and life, for that matter.

5. Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
If you're a rule-breaker or a weirdo or basically anyone who does things differently than the rest: Read. This. Book. It's made up of 9 essays, each one better than the last. You'll feel a whole lot better about not knowing what you're doing and embracing who you are by the time you finish reading.

6. Congratulations, by the Way by George Saunders
Sanders packs a powerful punch in this quick read, urging us to "err in the direction of kindness." This simple yet poignant message is one that Saunders says will change your life like it did his.

7. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
About young adults' love affair with New York City, this book teaches a lesson in making it in and eventually falling in love with the scary, unforgiving real word.

8. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
The only self-help book you'll ever need to read and probably the only one that actually helps. It should be prescribed for every mental breakdown or panic attack induced by thinking about life after college. It is a reality check that reminds us of life's brevity and the lasting implications of today's choices.

9. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
If you have relationships that are confusing or frustrating, this will help to figure that shit out. It reminds us that sometimes bad relationships can be our fault, because as much as we hate to admit it we are just kids. This is a lesson in how to treat people and grow up to be a good person.

10. Just Kids by Patti Smith
Written by the badass legend Patti Smith, this memoir is set in the early days of the rock-n-roll era. It's really all about finding your way and growing up to be something great, as told by a true rockstar. If nothing else, the story and other musicians in the book make for an interesting story.