It’s always been important to champion female voices, but now, in 2017, it is vital we do this. We live in an era where misogyny and sexism can win an orange-faced, anti-woman baboon an election, where gender disparity is a constant issue and where female writers and their stories still struggle to be heard – though we’re not short of exceptional talent. Just this week, while trying to whittle down selections for next month’s IMAGE book page, I was once again reminded of the wealth of remarkable female writers that we’re lucky to have writing for, and on behalf of, all women. But now it’s time for the next step. Alongside cherishing these voices, it’s imperative that we actively champion them, amplify them and share and talk about them, so they get the platform they deserve to share their inspired words with future generations of impressionable women. Here are five feminist works to get you started; they will inspire and change your outlook for the better.
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Caitlin Moran is a tour de force when it comes to speaking out about women’s issues. A gifted writer, her hilariously frank, unashamedly real account about being a modern woman is something that simply must be read by all. Moran writes openly about it all, from masturbation, abortion and periods, in an engaging and accessible way. You’ll be sorry to see this one end.
Living Dolls by Natasha Walter
Her earlier work, The New Feminism – also brilliant – recived much acclaim, and here, Walter takes a step back from her initial point, writing in-depth about how women are perceived; dissecting sexism, misogyny and the hyper-sexualisation of culture and women’s lives. All of these issues are still as prevalent now (even more so) than back in 2010, in a world ‘pussy grabbing’ makes headline news, and where women are still taught that their value lies in their physicality, rather than their accomplishments. You simply must read this.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (2014)
Solnit is a respected essayist and what one would call a fearless feminist. If you’re more familiar with her name as opposed to her work, she was wrongly credited with inventing the term ‘mansplaining,’ though she came up with its concept. Her book is just brilliant; containing fierce writing on women’s lives, Indian gang rapes, marriage equality, domestic violence and feminism. I must speak and I must be heard. That’s the bottom line and that’s what she wants all women to remember and shout about.
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned by Lena Dunham
The headlines surrounding Dunham’s debut book were filled with controversy. The massive advance she obtained almost got more column inches than details of the book itself, and then the Girls writer ended up at the centre of a media storm thanks to a paragraph within detailing a scenario involving her then seven-year-old sister somewhat distilled the book’s release. However, Not That Kind of Girl is a book worth reading. I’ve always loved Dunham’s voice; it’s both self-aware and unsure – two traits that any modern woman can identify with – and she’s unabashed with writing that is both self-deprecating and intelligent – she is, without a doubt, a powerful force in the feminist movement. It belongs on your bookshelf.
Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti, a US blogger, and writer is easily one of the most recognisable feminists of her generation, and her memoir, Sex Objects, is a funny, sometimes heartbreaking and shrewd look at her life and her daily experiences with sexism and misogyny. Lena Dunham fans will love it.