Another year, another successful Women's March. Flocks of women took to the streets for the second year in a row, which tells us that we still have not achieved the gender equality we've been fighting for.
Much work still needs to be done.
Part of that work involves educating ourselves on the very thing we're fighting for. There's a world of feminist literature out there highlighting sexism in society and offering suggestions to eradicate it. These works vary in genre, ranging from nonfiction to fiction, adult fiction to young adult.
But all of them share an identical message: We need feminism now more than ever.
If you're looking to do some feminist reading after marching, look no further. The following books will remind you why you marched and reiterate what you're fighting for.
1. "Everyday Sexism" by Laura Bates
"Everyday Sexism" is a great starting place for anyone looking to further educate themselves on sexism in the modern era. It's filled with startling statistics on a vast number of topics, ranging from sexism in the workplace to sexual assault.
To break up the dull numbers, it also contains firsthand stories from the Everyday Sexism Project, an online forum Bates created to call out daily sexist behaviors.
Even if you're on the fence about feminism, the tales in this book will leave your jaw on the ground. There's no way these things happen in everyday life, you'll insist. But they do. And accepting that is the first step to getting rid of it.
2. "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay
What is a feminist? The answer to this question is complicated, and the truth of the matter is that feminism means something different to every person practicing it. Unfortunately, feminists spend a lot more time attacking one another over slightly mismatched views than they do condemning the people oppressing them.
In her essay collection, Gay explores what feminism means to her personally. But she also takes other perspectives into account, an effort we don't see enough of in this discourse. Her openness and distinct voice make this collection a joy to read, no matter where you find yourself on the spectrum.
3. "We Should All Be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This little gem will only take you all of one sitting to read, and it's so worth an afternoon of your time. Adichie challenges the view of "feminist" as a dirty word. Instead, she offers arguments as to why everyone should don the title with pride.
After all, feminism doesn't have to be for a select few. True feminism works to benefit all people.
4. "The Geek Feminist Revolution" by Kameron Hurley
Fellow nerds, this one is for you.
Hurley's essay collection is an exploration of how sexism affects geek culture, from the video game industry to the publishing sphere. It's astonishing to learn how frequently girl gamers are harassed and threatened for merely existing – or how far male Science Fiction and Fantasy writers will go to prevent their female peers from receiving recognition.
These fields, dominated by men for so long, have had a great deal of trouble accepting women into their domain. But Hurley's essays will encourage you to keep fighting for a seat at the table.
Girls can be nerds too, and we can do it just as well as boys can.
5. "Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Sonlit
If you've ever been on the receiving end of "mansplaining," you'll relate to this one. Sonlit's short collection of essays focuses on the act of silencing women in an attempt to dismiss their experiences. Sonlit is far from the only person to experience this belittling behavior.
This insistence that men "know better" pervades professional and personal relationships. The tactic of silencing is often used to negate serious offenses, like abuse and sexual assault. But it also extends to smaller situations - for example, demeaning women in the workplace to make them seem less qualified.
Unfortunately, the only way to end the attitude behind "mansplaining" is to call it out when we see it. And that's exactly what Sonlit does here.
6. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
Atwood's masterpiece tops just about every list of feminist literature, but that's because its relevance is timeless. The objectification of the female body spans centuries, and The Handmaid's Tale draws attention to this phenomenon by exaggerating it.
But sadly, after a few chapters in Atwood's world, her dystopia will no longer seem like hyperbole. The deeper into the story you go, the easier it is to imagine our society one day slipping into the one she describes. All it takes is mass indifference.
7. "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf
For those who haven't ventured into the classics, "A Room of One's Own" is a great place to begin. Though they were written decades ago, Woolf's essays withstand the test of time.
Written during a time in which writing was believed to be a man's pursuit, they carve out a space for women writers - one that was much needed during the time this was written.
8. "Moxie" by Jennifer Mathieu
If you're looking for something to leave you in a feel-good, "girl power" sort of mood, "Moxie" is a must-read. Frustrated with the misogynistic policies and dialogue at her high school, Viv creates a feminist zine as a form of protest.
Viv's story contains positive female relationships, can-do attitudes, and a ton of rebellion. What better way to get yourself pumped about the movement?
9. "The Nowhere Girls" by Amy Reed
"The Nowhere Girls" features a group of high school students hellbent on changing their school's perspective on rape culture. They form an anonymous group in opposition to the sexism at their school, inspired by the story of a classmate forced to leave town after accusing several jocks of sexual assault.
Reed's story tackles the difficult questions surrounding rape culture, putting an emphasis on the problematic tendency to overlook accusations toward athletes. It's a very relevant work in today's culture, and it will make you think twice before feeding into victim blaming.
10. "Queens of Geek" by Jen Wilde
Jen Wilde's debut features a number of diverse characters, and it raises the subject of intersectionality multiple times throughout the story. I don't know about you, but I'm always happy to see a Young Adult novel teaching the next generation about such an important facet of feminism.
Add in the focus on girls in fandom, and "Queens of Geek" will give you a perfect evening away from reality.
11. "Why I March" by Abram Books
This collection of photographs from the original Women's March serves as a reminder as to why we're all fighting. Taken from countries around the world, the pictures of picket signs and feminist quotes are sure to rile you to further action.
And further action is exactly what we need, isn't it?