One regular feature I’ll be running here on The Bookseller’s Daughter is Feminist Fridays. Feminism and equal rights are something I feel very passionately about and this often crosses over into my love of books as I try to read and absorb a variety of views. Whilst I realise these books won’t be everyone’s up of tea, this blog wouldn’t be true to me if I didn’t include some feminism on here. I hope you’ll join me to discuss any issues you feel strongly about too.
For my first Feminist Friday I’m talking about two modern day books on equality: Reclaiming the F Word by Catherine Redfern (who set up The F Word) and Kristin Aune and The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard (Co-founder of UK Feminista). In my own exploration of feminist books, these two were like a Stage 1 and Stage 2, a sort of introduction to feminist issues in our world today.
Reclaiming the F Word is definitely the book I’d recommend anyone with a burgeoning interest in feminism, who wants to get up to speed quickly, as the authors really break the issues down into manageable chunks. There are lots of examples that make everything seem more real and plenty of calls to arms too. The book is based around survey answers where 1,265 people responded, and the full survey results are at the back of the book for the analytics fanatics (looking at self here).
For me this book confirmed everything I knew was important and gave it structure. For my husband (it was his first feminist book) it was an awakening as to the real state of affairs for women today. It’s a book that can reach many different people at different stages of the equality journeys.
‘It’s optimistic, rolling-your-sleeves-up-and-getting-things-done feminism’
Reclaiming the F Word
Once you’ve read the chapter on popular culture you’ll never be able to watch an advert or walk down an aisle of blue / pink (AKA boy / girl) products again. On a more serious note, the realisations formed when reading, for example, stats about violence against women are eye opening.
It is an excellent round up of feminism’s goals in society today and is relevant and accessible to all genders.
The Equality Illusion, written in 2010, was a compelling but somewhat traumatising read. At times I had to put it down, walk away and breathe for a minute. It is written in chapters set out like a day in a woman’s life. In the book’s first chapter Kat Banyard pulls apart the beauty industry in a way that made me question everything I had previously believed on this issue. I’ll admit that now, after some space from the book, I don’t agree with everything Banyard says but she writes with such force and passion that while engrossed in the pages it’s hard to remember that another side of the coin might exist.
Stories and examples given in The Equality Illusion can be quite harrowing, it makes for pretty bleak reading at times which is why it’s a Stage 2 recommendation from me. Be prepared to feel angry, and ready to do something about it, every time you set the book aside. It’s essential reading.
‘While the challenges still facing us may be great, the beauty of feminism is that it is inherently hopeful.’
The Equality Illusion
Both books are on my re-read list as I feel like I can always benefit from reading these ideas again and again in my personal progress and fight for women’s rights.