Feminism is Not Dead, Ya'll.

Remember that time when a woman agreed to make 300 sandwiches for her boyfriend so he'd buy her a ring? And that other time when that college professor claimed that he only taught "real guy-guys", "heterosexuals," and didn't include women authors in his courses because he didn't think any women authors were worth teaching?

Yeah. Those are the things that make me all kinds of angry, angry, angry. And they are also reminders that as much as some people would like to believe feminism is dead, and that women's rights are said and done, that's actually not the case. And like any good bookworm, they are the kind of occurrences that send me back to my bookshelves to assemble a little stack of books by kick-ass women kicking ass:


Bossypants, by Tina Fey: Just as funny everything else Fey has ever done, but also smart and insightful. Fey narrates the audiobook herself, making it perhaps the best audiobook of all time, and doesn't shy away from what it's like to be a woman in a man's industry and how hard it is to balance her career with her family life. Proof, in case you needed it, that kick-ass feminists can be funny, too.

How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran: If Fey wasn't enough proof that feminists can be funny, too, look no further than Moran, who writes candidly about everything from puberty to marriage to abortion with a sense of humor that is at once in-your-face and thought-provoking. Moran doesn't shy away from the word "feminist," and doesn't think you should, either.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling: This one I haven't read (yet), but a recent Bookriot podcast equated it to Bossypants, only from a younger point-of-view (Kaling is about 10 years younger than Fey). This audiobook is also narrated by the author, and is more than on my list.


Why Have Kids?, by Jessica Valenti: Valenti's book made me think, and then think again and again and again, about motherhood and parenthood in the U.S. Since its release, works like Lean In have dominated the discussion about women "having it all," but Valenti's work lay the foundation for these conversation. Why Have Kids? pushes readers in no one direction, but encourages us to take a good hard look at motherhood in this country before diving into the debate. Or maybe to just stop debating and start supporting, instead.

Wonder Women, by Deborah Spar: Spar explores how women's lives have--and haven't--changed since the "end" of the women's lib movement. Subtitled "Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection," this is another one I haven't read but hope to get to soon.

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood: Not all feminist writings are non-fiction, and Atwood's chilling dystopian novel is all the proof we need. Set in a not-too-distant future in which women have been turned into breeding machines and little more, it's all too believable for comfort. Audible has an audio version narrated by Claire Danes that I highly recommend, if you like audiobooks.

What would you add to or remove from this list?

19 comments

  1. Oh, I loved so many of these, especially Why Have Kids? (though I know there are tons of people who disagree with much of what she says in the book). I would add When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams to this list, with a box of tissues and time enough to read it over and over again.

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    1. I've heard that some people disagree with Why Have Kids?, though I struggle to understand why-- the most important takeaway I took from that book was that disagreeing is really futile and we should be more accepting and supportive in general. But then I'm probably a biased reader on that one.

      I have When Women Were Birds on my shelf and have been waiting for the right time to crack it - I don't want to read it in a rush or in the midst of a dozen other deadlines. Maybe over the holidays this year when things tend to quite down in the publishing world!

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  2. I want to give this post (and all the books on it) a hug because YES! Feminism dead, my ass.

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  3. Ugh, I remember both of those times and they made my heart angry, and David Gilmour's non-apology apology was even worse. Thanks for spotlighting some wonderful books that make me believe in humanity a bit more.

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    1. I spent the majority of that particular news day twitching in my corner. It's taken me until now to come up with my own version of a reaction. At least one worthy of being shared with the big wide world.

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  4. I love this post with all my heart.

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    1. I love this comment with all my heart.

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  5. I'm planning on adding I am Malala to this list. I'm obsessed with her.

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    1. Oooh, excellent addition. I'm hoping to read her new book.

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  6. I'm planning on adding I am Malala to this list. I'm obsessed with her.

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  7. I loved loved loved Bossypants, Tina Fey is my hero. And Mindy Kaling's book is fantastic as well, I also heard about her reading the audio on the BR podcast and now I want to listen to it too!

    I love this post, I've gotten in too many "The job's not done yet!" arguments recently. I am going to hold tight to this list as my shining beacon of hope that people are still fighting the good fight! <3

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    1. I'm in the middle of reviewing a few audiobooks, but rest assured that Mindy Kaling's will be my next listen as soon as those are finished!

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  8. FAB post. I thought Why Have Kids was great...and I have 3 kids, lol. Great list of books, I've read a good chunk of them and will now be looking for the ones I haven't.

    Speaking of the job not being done, you should check out the documentary Miss Represented. I watched it with my 13 year old daughter recently. Amazing and eye opening.

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    1. Thank you thank you! I have no kids but still found Why Have Kids? fascinating. Definitely made me think. A lot. In the best ways possible.

      I've heard of Miss Represented, will have to see if I can track down a copy. Wonder if it's on Netflix?

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  9. I just read Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan which you might want to add (her previous book To Hell With All That is also feminist). Also When Everything Changed by Gail Collins and The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich. I've been thinking a lot about this lately too! Great post!

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  10. Love, love this post! I've heard great things about Bossypants and I'm definitely going to check out Fey's, Kaling's and Moran's books. I remember the 300 sandwich thing as well as the professor event and both things made me so angry. I remember the woman who made the sandwiches writing a piece in defense of her actions, the contents of which continued to anger me.

    Thanks for putting this post together!

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  11. So many great books! I've been curious about Why Have Kids for awhile. I need to check it out.

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  12. I've only read Bossypants, but I really enjoyed that. I love how she pokes fun at the sexism she encounters. Humour is a great way to highlight those issues.

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