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Understanding feminism through books is one of the most enlightening of experiences. If you like to read, do check these out.
The following books will give you a good insight about how prevalent and deep the issue of gender discrimination is. Since we are now living in the age of the fourth wave of Feminism, it should not be forgotten that the problem of sex discrimination overlaps with problems of race, religion and caste discrimination too.
Before you start, do not forget to read a little about the first, second and third waves of Feminism.
by bell hooks
Important book to understand intersectionality. If you are a woman, you face just the agony of being a woman, but if you are a black woman, a woman of the lower caste, a woman who is homosexual, you face more discrimination since there is additional loss of opportunities socially and otherwise, and there is additional wrath to be faced even by the white women, women of higher caste or even other privileged women.
by Kate Millett
Most of the famous writers in literature have written classics which are very patriarchal and talk of women in a degrading way. This book argues about how influential people propagating sexist views can contribute to the building of prejudices.
by Shulamith Firestone
Debunks wonderfully Freudian theories about women who thought of females just as human beings who are castrated. It also rubbishes the patriarchal set up of the family, and shows how women might not want to be mothers, which is perfectly alright.
by Simone de Beauvoir
More about intersectionality and the privilege of ‘irresponsibility’ that women enjoy. It shows how the simple decision to not take economic responsibilities of a family, can lead you to enslavement since you develop a mentality of ‘owing’ something to the man, which is dangerous.
by Sheryl Sandberg
Brilliant book about the contemporary issues of women. Equal pay, work life, and motherhood balance, entrepreneurship, etc. Very good account of how leadership taken up by women can revolutionize the world as we know it.
by Betty Friedan
Talks a lot against women choosing to be housewives. It is a very important book since it shows how the priorities of women who choose to be homemakers shift and hence turn into something unproductive and mostly insatiable. Significant read since it shows why only being focused on maintaining a family, can be wearisome and a bad choice.
by Judith Butler
Shows how gender is nothing but a social construct on which children are raised and how meaningless it is, if seen that way. She debunks theories by famous anthropologists and psychologists, and shows how even science can be biased by sexism.
by Lila Abu-lughod
This book shows how women in Egypt, Iran and Turkey are totally as competent as men when it comes to the literacy rate and taking up good jobs. It made me think how feminism judged on the basis of wearing or not wearing a hijab is very superficial from one point of view, but also very important since it shows that sometimes feminism is suppressed because of religion, whose only solution could be separation of state and religion when it comes to constitutional law.
‘The Bell Jar‘, ‘Mrs Dalloway‘ and ‘A Room of One’s Own‘ are very feminist works of literature and make great points regarding the wants and needs of women, though they do not cite many practical examples or propose any solutions.
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