100 Must-Read Feminist Books

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Nicole Froio

Staff Writer

Nicole Froio is a Brazilian journalist currently based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She writes about feminism, human rights, politics, mental health issues, pop culture, books and the media. She was born in São Paulo but moved a lot as a kid, which hinders her ability to root down in only one place in adulthood. Her favorite genres of book are fantasy, YA fiction, romance and any book that requires the main character to find themselves. An avid intersectional feminist, her tolerance for bigotry is extremely low. Blog: Words by Nicole Froio Twitter: @NicoleFroio

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A few notes on my choices: I didn’t want all of these feminist books to be heavily academic, so I did include a few fiction books that I feel illustrate women’s experiences in feminist ways – or, in the case of scifi, re-imagines women’s experiences in feminist ways. While academic feminist books are wonderful sources, I don’t think feminist fiction should ever be disregarded. Also, although I tried to stay away from exclusionary literature, I think none of these books come without problematic aspects. The point here is to make the reader think in deeper ways about gender inequality and feminism – and I hope these titles help achieve this goal. (And a side note: I love bell hooks and it was really difficult to choose which one of her works is essential so I may have included more than one… Sorry, not sorry.)

  1. Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua
  2. borderlands la fronteraAll the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men: But Some of Us are Brave, edited by Gloria T Hull, Patricia Bell Scott and Barbara Smith
  3. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body by Susan Bordo
  4. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  5. Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
  6. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  7. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  8.  Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  9. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  10. Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy
  11. We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  12. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
  13. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
  14. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love by bell hooks
  15. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf
  16. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith RussoIf I Was Your Girl Meredith Russo
  17. Witches, Midwives and Nurses by  Barbara Ehrenreich, Deirdre English
  18. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  19. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  20. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
  21. Les Guerrileres by Monique Wittig
  22. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  23. This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua
  24. The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World by Nawal El Saadawi
  25. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
  26. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
  27. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  28. The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Y Davis
  29. Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott
  30. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  31. I-Know-Why-the-Caged-Bird-Sings-Maya-AngelouI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  32. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape by Susan Brownmiller
  33. Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin
  34. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by inga musclo
  35. Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerilla Girls’ Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes
  36. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy
  37. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano
  38. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More by Janet Mock
  39. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us by Kate Bornstein
  40. Separate and Dominate: Feminism and Racism After the War on Terror by Christine Delphy
  41. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  42. Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta
  43. Brown-Girl-in-the-Ring-Nalo-HopkinsonBrown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  44.  Milk and Honey by rupi kaur
  45.  Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  46. Oranges Are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  47. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
  48.  Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  49. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  50.  Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natash Walter
  51. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams
  52. The Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
  53. Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
  54. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  55. Sexual Politics by Kate Millett
  56. Playing the Whore by Melissa Gira Grant
  57. Woman’s Estate by Juliet Mitchell
  58. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts
  59. The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
  60. Female Man by Joanna Russ
  61. sultanas-dreamSultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain
  62. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  63. Easy by Tamara Webber
  64. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  65. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
  66. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
  67. Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed
  68. All the Rage by Courtney Summers
  69. Our Bodies, Ourselves by Judy Norsigian
  70. The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
  71. Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader edited by Stevi Jackson
  72. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
  73. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  74. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  75. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
  76. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  77. The Sex Which is Not One by Luce Irigaray
  78. Obasan by Joy Kogawa
  79. the-awakeningThe Awakening by Kate Chopin
  80. From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism by Patricia Hill Collins
  81. Intersectionality (Key Concepts) by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge
  82. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
  83. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
  84. Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  85. Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, by Robin Morgan
  86. Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin
  87. The Queer Art of Failure by Judith Halberstam
  88. Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement by Charlotte Cooper
  89. Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality by Hanne Blank
  90. Undoing Gender by Judith Butler
  91. Gender and the Media by Rosalind Gill
  92. What Can A Woman do with a Camera? Photography for Women by Jo Spence and Joan Solomon
  93. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature by Donna Haraway
  94. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity by Chandra Talpade Mohanty
  95. the color purpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
  96. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  97. Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, edited by Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russo and Lourdes Torres
  98. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape by Jessica Luther
  99. Black Feminist Though by Patricia Hill Collins
  100. Vagina by Naomi Wolf