Feminist Friday ↠ Feminist Classics

As some of you may now, feminism is literature is one of my favorite things. I still often read books on feminism or that have a feminist theme. But, have books always been feminist? Clearly, there’s several feminist classics that exist you might not know about. These books clearly paved the way for so many great feminist authors that are being published today. All the way from 1792 to present, we’ve been given feminist literature and non-fiction. So, without further ado, here’s some of the most essential feminist classics that were so influential for their time.

I put the date they were originally published so you can think about the time in which they were and why they would’ve been written and published. I also want to state that there are so many other feminist classics that didn’t make it on the list. I’m sure I’ll make more lists but as far as I’m concerned, these are some of the most popular ones!

1. A Vindication of the Rights of a Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

469334 “Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice, and for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner. Mary Wollstonecraft’s work was received with a mixture of admiration and outrage – Walpole called her ‘a hyena in petticoats’ – yet it established her as the mother of modern feminism.”

Published: 1792

 

2. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins

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‘The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.’

Written with barely controlled fury after she was confined to her room for ‘nerves’ and forbidden to write, Gilman’s pioneering feminist horror story scandalized nineteenth-century readers with its portrayal of a woman who loses her mind because she has literally nothing to do.”

Published: 1892

 

 

 

 

3. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

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“A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on the 24th of October, 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled Women and Fiction, and hence the essay, are considered nonfiction. The essay is seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.”

Published: 1929

4. The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir

9684227Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness.  This long-awaited new edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation. Vital and groundbreaking, Beauvoir’s pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as it was back then, and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to come.

Published: 1949

 

 

 

5. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

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“Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely do justice to the pioneering vision and lasting impact of The Feminine Mystique. Published in 1963, it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home. Writing in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Part social chronicle, part manifesto, The Feminine Mystique is filled with fascinating anecdotes and interviews as well as insights that continue to inspire. This 50th–anniversary edition features an afterword by best-selling author Anna Quindlen as well as a new introduction by Gail Collins.”

Published: 1963

 

6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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“We follow Esther Greenwood’s personal life from her summer job in New York with Ladies’ Day magazine, back through her days at New England’s largest school for women, and forward through her attempted suicide, her bad treatment at one asylum and her good treatment at another, to her final re-entry into the world like a used tyre: “patched, retreaded, and approved for the road” … Esther Greenwood’s account of her year in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing.”

Published: 1963

 

 

7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

45864574.jpg “The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.”

Published: 1985

6 Feminist Children Books to Educate Your Little One

After working at a bookstore and finding myself shelving in the children’s section a lot, i’ve found some incredibly cute feminist children’s books. I obviously haven’t read these but I see others picking them up often so I thought I might recommend them to you! If you want to know more about how people feel about the inside content of the books, check out Goodreads for reviews!

So, here’s a little of empowering children’s books. Happy International Women’s Day!

1. Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz

51E9v4UsYuL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ “Feminist Baby likes pink and blue.
Sometimes she’ll throw up on you!

Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care!

Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!”

 

Edition: Board Book

Page Count: 22

Published: Disney Hyperion

 

2. Dress Like a Girl by Patricia Toht

y648.jpg“What’s the right way to dress like a girl? In this timely picture book in the vein of Princesses Wear Pants, a slumber party full of girls enacts their own playful, empowering twists on several stuffy, old-timey rules of fashion.

What does it mean to dress like a girl?

Many will tell you in this big wide world

that there are strict rules that must be addressed,

rules you will need when looking your best.

But when you are given these rules to obey,

the secret is heeding them—in your own way.

In these beautifully illustrated pages, a diverse cast of slumber-party participants considers the most time-honored traditions for how to dress. If a lady should wear white in summertime, then how about donning a space suit? If team colors are apropos at sporting events, why not wear the helmets and play ball?

Empowering and resonant and with a variety of interests ranging from sports to science to politics, this gorgeous book is sure to inspire any young girl, instilling the idea that the best way to dress like a girl is the way that makes you feel most like YOU!”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Harper Collins

 

3. She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

51fvJJB-9XL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Philomel Books

 

4. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

35231671 “Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 88

Published: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

5. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

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A is for Activist is an ABC board book for the next generation of progressives: Families that want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and so on.

Edition: Board Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Kupu Kupu Press

 

6. I Am Enough by Grace Byers

51AbnWTJ5nL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_“I Am Enough is the picture book everyone needs

This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Balzer + Bray

 

 

Buy these books for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!