Best feminist books speak up about all the injustice and inequality that women have faced for many years and continue to face till today. But somehow this literature also gives some great ideas and empowers women to fight for their rights and for their unique place on this earth.
As you may know, feminism is one of the most powerful women’s movements. The ideology of feminism is aimed at defining and defending gender equality and political, economic, and social justice for women.
Thus, feminist literature directly or indirectly deals with feminist philosophy. If you are already looking forward to learning more about this fascinating and great genre and discover best feminist books, just keep on reading.
What do We call Feminist Literature?
Feminist literature supports the feminist goals of establishing equal civil, social, political and economic rights for all women. Sometimes we evidence how women’s roles are unequal to those of men, in particular regarding status, privilege, and power. Gender-based inequality remains the major global injustice and the struggle against it continues till today.
Women empowerment literature make us more impatient for changes. Feminist literature was born of the need to speak up about the injustice and the need for change, thus leaving a lasting legacy for women.
Feminist literature depicts characters or ideas that try to change gender norms. What’s more important, not all authors of feminist literature are women but we can also find some great men authors. Furthermore, there are fictional as well as non-fictional works in this genre.
The concept of the predominance of one gender over the other is something that can be seen in almost every society. And the fact that this predominance is not in favor of women is the highlighted theme of feminist literature.
Women in some of the great feminist literature are featured as the protagonists who predominantly don’t accept the traditional concept of women’s roles determined by society. In such literature, women are ready to make their own decisions and their personal choices that define their identity.
So, let’s jump right in and have a closer look to some of the best feminist literature.
Best Feminist Books #1 | Pride and Prejudice
This is the beginning of one of the most popular novels of all time, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen’s published in 1813. Many famous literary critics praised this work, even Eudora Welty described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
The protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett, was a self-confident woman who knew her own mind. She decided to follow her own path for what she wanted despite the social pressure to live like it was predetermined for all women.
Nevertheless, this book approaches to this topic in a very subtle way and the only strong characteristic in Elizabeth is her assertiveness.
Best Feminist Books #2 | A Room of One’s Own
Published in 1929, Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” is an extraordinary essay where the author examines the limitations and restrictions of womanhood in the early twentieth century.
In this work Virginia makes a claim for freedom, underlining that the lack of an independent income prevents most women from reaching their full potential.
Overall, it’s a beautiful and great work that analysis the place of women in this world.
Best Feminist Books #3 | The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale is an outstanding novel written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood published in 1986. It tells a story of a Handmaid who lives in the home of the Commander and his wife.
She may leave the home once a day to walk to food markets, however, now the signs are pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. The handmaid remembers the time when she lived in love with her husband, when she played with her daughter, had money of her own, had a great job and, most importantly, access to education.
But unfortunately, all these things are gone now. By the way, since its publication, this book has been hailed as a feminist work.
Best Feminist Books #4 | Madame Bovary
French novelist and highly influential figure in the 19th-century literature, Gustave Flaubert is especially popular for his novel Madame Bovary.
It follows the encouraging story of Emma Bovary who tries to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. This novel that became a bestseller in 1857 is considered as not only Flaubert’s masterpiece but also one of the most influential literary works in history.
The character of Emma Bovary is the novel’s protagonist. She craves beauty, wealth, passion and high society. For no more spoilers, just go ahead and add this book to your list.
Best Feminist Books #5 | Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Jeanette Winterson’s works have established her as an important and great figure in world literature. Winterson has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal”.
It literally saved and continues to save many lives as some on the edge have stepped back to have another chance after reading this outstanding book.
It shows us a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, identity and home. This book is kind of a memoir about the path to finding happiness. Overall, this book is full of captivating stories.
Best Feminist Books #6 | I Am Malala
All young girls that try to figure out what they should do in the world to obtain all the rights that they deserve should read this memoir by the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai. And she knows what she is saying as she was shot in the head for fighting for the right of girls and women to be educated thus, becoming the hero for many girls.
She refused to be silenced and her book is the wonderful tale of a family’s fight for girls’ education, of a father who (a school owner) advocated and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school.
Here she puts special emphasis on her brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that appreciates and prizes only sons.
Best Feminist Books #7 | Fates and Furies
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff was 2015’s most talked-about novel. Every relationship has two sides, two perspectives.
This book is kind of a study of a marriage where women are just as valuable as men, and that they should be treated accordingly.
“I really resist the way marriage has been written about in some of the big American novels of the last few years,” the author once noted.
I think that marriage is often formed into a very flat, one-sided story in contemporary American fiction, and that often the female side of the relationship is not explored at all, or not in any convincing way. I don’t think it’s until the second half of this novel that you understand you’re reading a feminist book, and a book about privilege, and luck.
Best Feminist Books #8 | We Should All Be Feminists
Of course, this book is an obvious one for this list, but here Adichie offers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century with humor and frivolity.
By this token, the writer of this book is the award-winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of “Americanah” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”.
Chimamanda shines a light on blatant discrimination, offering a nuanced explanation of why the gender division is harmful to women and men, alike.
In this prose that, by the way, made its author a bestselling novelist, there is a remarkable exploration of what it means to be a woman today and why we should all be feminists.
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