8 Feminist Books You Need To Read

To celebrate International Women’s Day this Thursday 8th March, we’ve rounded up our favourite feminist books – from seminal reads to modern-day classics.

We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What does feminism mean today? With humour and levity, the award-winning Nigeran author offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalize women around the world.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

A work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, The Second Sex is one of the most important feminist books ever published – despite being written in a time when ‘feminism’ wasn’t even afforded meaning, let alone a movement. Despite being five decades old, much of de Beauvoir’s writing is still incredibly relevant to our modern-day world.

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

This groundbreaking and life-changing work remains just as powerful, important and true as it was in 1963. Essential reading both as a historical document and as a study of women living in a man's world, Friedan's controversial book would ultimately set Second Wave feminism in motion and begin the battle for equality.

Women & Power by Mary Beard

With personal reflections on her own experiences of the sexism and gendered aggression she has endured online, Britain’s best-known classicist Beard explores the cultural underpinnings of misogyny – Medusa and Athena to Theresa May and Hillary Clinton – and asks: if women aren't perceived to be within the structures of power, isn't it power that we need to redefine?

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

In this collection of essays – spanning rap music and relationships to work and politics – cultural critic, novelist and professor Gay explores what it’s like to be a feminist while loving things that could seem at odds with feminist ideology.

The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf

The bestselling classic that redefined our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity. In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before – but Wolf points out we’re still controlled by something just as restrictive as the traditional image of housemaker and wife: society’s obsession with ‘flawless’ beauty.

The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

The publication of Greer's The Female Eunuch in 1970 was a landmark event, raising eyebrows and creating a shock wave of recognition in women around the world. Today, Greer's searing examination of the oppression of women is both an important historical record of where we've been and a shockingly relevant treatise on what still remains to be achieved

Living Dolls: The Return Of Sexism by Natasha Walter

Walter explores how empowerment, liberation and choice – once the watchwords of feminism – have now been co-opted by a society that sells women an airbrushed, highly sexualised and increasingly narrow vision of femininity. While the opportunities available to women may have expanded, many young girls still see sexual allure as their only passport to success.

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