Feminist Non-Fiction Recent Reads

Hungry to learn more about feminism and feminist topics? Here are some of my recent reads that are highly recommended for your bookshelf.

  1. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Rebecca Traister. A look at the 2008 presidential election through a feminist lens. Why do feminists love or hate Hillary Clinton? What does Sarah Palin’s bid say about the state of feminism in politics? What was accomplished and how far do we have to go for how the media treats women in politics? This book will make you angry, but it will also make you think.
  2. The End of Men by Hanna Rosin. She examines the decline of men from an economics perspective and the rise of women. There are some fascinating anecdotes and chapters—for example did you know that the once purely masculine field of pharmacy is now dominated by women? Important book for your library, but do be aware that it has some issues including an over-emphasis on ‘hook-up’ culture.
  3. The Birth of The Pill by Jonathan Eig. What led to the creation of the oral contraceptive? Why haven’t there been many advances in this science? This book provides a thorough and engaging look at this important scientific discovery and will make you understand the battles fought to even reach the current reality of family planning and sexual health in the U.S.
  4. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. Gay is my favorite cultural critic. She takes a look at pop-culture touchstones and considers why they’re problematic for women, why they’re popular in the first place, and why she likes them even as a feminist. She is funny, poignant, and a must-read. She doesn’t put feminism on an altar, but shows how important it is to critically engage with the books, movies, and artists that you love from a feminist perspective.
  5. Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny. She takes a look at gender and power in the 21st century through a series of essays. These are at times heart-breaking, but necessary reads.
  6. Missoula by Jon Krakauer. This is an enraging, upsetting, powerful book about the difficult topic of rape in a small college town. Between 2008 and 2012 there were 350 reported sexual assaults in Missoula. Krakauer investigates rape culture, how rape victims are treated in the justice system, and by academic institutions. If you ever wonder why so many sexual assaults go unreported, this book will enlighten you.
  7. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott. This historical account looks at 4 female historical figures on both sides of the Civil War. During a time period where we know a lot about the men who made history, but very little about the women who influenced events–Abbott spotlights: a woman who dresses as a man and becomes a solider in the Union army, a Southern Belle who uses her wiles to aid the Confederates, a woman who led a spy ring, and a woman who organized prison escapes and other countermeasures in the South. This book reads like a historical adventure novel and really shows that truth can be stranger than fiction.
  8. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. Speaking of historical feminist non-fiction, I would be remiss in not including Stacy Schiff. She peels back the myths that surround Cleopatra to reveal her political genius, her affairs, and her leadership. A great look at one of the most powerful and mysterious female historical icons of ancient times.
Feminist Non-Fiction Recent Reads

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