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.