10 Books For The Budding Feminist

10 Books For The Budding Feminist

A list of books that every feminist should read

Feminism lately has become such a hotbed of misunderstanding. There are people who are using the "Feminist" label and acting like complete jerks which are tarnishing it for the rest of us. It has come to the point where many people don't want to be labeled a feminist for fear of being looped in with them. So if you are new to feminism or just want to see what it is really about, I suggest reading these books.

1. We Should All Be Feminists

Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2014, this book stands as a reminder of what feminism truly is. She also dispels some dissent about why feminism is even necessary when you can just claim to be a human rights activist:

"Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be ... a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women."

2. The Handmaid's Tale

Written by Margaret Atwood in 1985, this book follows Handmaid Ofglen's life in a totalitarian state that has stripped women of basically every right. It has also been turned into a series on Hulu (but you should still read the book because it is amazing).

"I know why there is no glass, in front of the watercolor picture of blue irises, and why the window opens only partly and why the glass in it is shatter-proof. It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge."

3. Bad Feminist

Written by Roxane Gay in 2014, this book delves into the feelings of a feminist who constantly finds herself at odds with feminism. What do you do when your likes and hobbies seem to contradict what you are fighting for? You write a book and put people who would call you phony in their places.

"I openly embrace the label of bad feminist. I do so because I am flawed and human."

4. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black women in America

Written by Melissa Harris-Perry in 2011, this book is a necessity for anyone who is trying to understand why feminism needs intersectionality. It focuses on the feelings that black women have while they are struggling to be treated like first-class citizens.

“Loss of social standing is an ever-present threat for individuals whose social acceptance is based on behavioral traits rather than unconditional human value.”

5. Feminist, Queer, Crip

Written by Alison Kafer in 2013, another book that highlights the importance of intersectionality except focusing on both sexuality and disability. Kafer offers a heartbreaking read about how even people who protest about the right of everyone having agency over their own bodies sometimes don't extend that to people with disabilities.

"Decisions about the future of disability and disabled people are political decisions and should be recognized and treated as such. Rather than assume that a 'good' future naturally and obviously depends on the eradication of disability, we must recognize this perspective as colored by histories of ableism and disability oppression."

6. Redefining Realness

Written by Janet Mock in 2014, this is the incredible story of a transwoman's journey. On top of this being an amazing book for trans youth, this book makes the reader realize the true struggle that trans people have to go through.

"My story has shown that more is possible for girls growing up like I did."

7. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color

Originally Published in 1981, this anthology is in its fourth edition. It includes essays, art, poems, and stories from feminists of color. Cherrie Moraga writes an incredible introduction that gave birth to this eye-opening quote:

"Social change does not occur through tokenism or exceptions to the rule of discrimination, but through the systemic abolishment of the rule itself."

8. More Than Medicine: A History of the Feminist Women's Health Movement

Written by Jennifer Nelson in 2015, this book serves as a reminder to not only how far we have come but how hard we had to fight to get the rights over our bodies we have today.

"Demands to satisfy basic needs cannot be separated from reproductive politics because a right to reproductive control is hollow without a right to live free of hunger, racism, and violence and without the dignity that facilitates real choices for one's own future community."

9. No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement

Written by Cynthia Orozco in 2009, follow Orozco as she takes you on a journey of the rise of the League of United Latin-American Citizens and their role in the civil rights movement.

"This story begins in South Texas."

10. I'm Judging You

Written by Luvvie Ajayi in 2016, writes a scathing review of modern feminism and how it has failed at being intersectional. She is not afraid to point out hypocrisy when she sees it. A great read to get you fired up.

"The feminist movement has sucked at being truly intersectional. It has neglected to address the struggles of women who are not straight, white, Christian (or sometimes Jewish), and cisgender... A woman who is Black, trans, or Muslim won't be represented fairly and completely in the fight for equality. Yet even with all these glaring issues, white women have claimed themselves the authority on feminism, and that is insulting."
Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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