Ten books to feed your feminist imagination
In celebration of our feminist issue, out now, we asked you, our readers, to name your favourite feminist book of all time.
From 17th century manifestos to contemporary theory, here are 10 of your recommendations. See all of your must-reads on our Twitter page from 22 – 30 July.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
The first, real feminist novel. A female protagonist leaves her husband, and takes ‘his’ son with her, because she doesn’t like the influence of his hard-drinking, uber-masculine father. It’s radical today, let alone in 1848.
Recommended by Tracey
The Bloody Chamber (1979)
Carter’s language is so rich that reading anything afterwards is like chewing on celery after gorging on a feast. This thickly-textured sensuous subversion rips viscerally through patriarchal culture at its most grotesque.
Recommended by Patch
Gender Trouble (1980)
Butler brilliantly links queer and feminist critiques of the social construction of oppressive sexual and gender norms. Even if you don’t agree with the argument, this is incredible writing, which is enjoyable for its own sake.
Recommended by Nor
Living my life (1931)
Goldman’s anarchist autobiography covers the oppressive family, atheism, polyamoury, revolution, and class struggle as well as fighting patriarchy, and meeting everyone who was anyone in the first half of the 20th century. Pretty cool.
Recommended by Charlie
The shame is over – a political life story (1980)
This book changed my life as an 18 year old. It made me angry at violence against woman, and also sensitized me to the effect it has and why women do stay.
Recommended by Fiona
Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)
Because Piercy imagined a world where women are freed from responsibility for reproduction, and all people are freed from binary gender rules and definitions.
Recommended by Clare
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991)
An absolute eye-opener. It shows how popular culture undermines equal rights for women by providing one-sided views of what women should or should not do. You’ll never just watch a movie again, but will be able to dissect it!
Recommended by Sabine
Teaching to Transgress (1994)
Recommended by Chintan
A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)
This could be described as the first feminist manifesto. It’s a short book but it packs a punch, and is a slap in the face for misogynists everywhere.
Recommended by Kiran
A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)
Feminism in Afghanistan? Hosseini opened my eyes to the struggles of women living in oppression. And to the resilience and strength that women can encompass. The protagonists overcome their pain through solidarity: The true value of feminism.
Recommended by Farhana