Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

10 New Books on Anger, Feminism, and Unruly Women

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Rebecca Hussey


Rebecca holds a PhD in English and is a professor at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. She teaches courses in composition, literature, and the arts. When she’s not reading or grading papers, she’s hanging out with her husband and son and/or riding her bike and/or buying books. She can't get enough of reading and writing about books, so she writes the bookish newsletter "Reading Indie," focusing on small press books and translations. Newsletter: Reading Indie Twitter: @ofbooksandbikes

Anger is in the air, and with good reason. If ever there was a time for unruly women, this is it.

Currently, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings for a spot on the Supreme Court are taking place. His confirmation could mean a lot of very bad things, including the end of marriage equality and abortion rights. The #metoo movement has offered women some hope that change is on the way, but it has also made many of us more acutely aware of how much our culture is saturated with misogyny. Women are ready for change, but progress is slow and halting. For every bigwig sexual harasser brought down, there is an incident like the sexist response to Serena Williams’s anger that shows us how far we have to go.

Fortunately for us, there is a large crop of books out in 2018 about feminism, anger, and unruly women. Want some historical context for today’s feminist issues? Need some inspiration to keep fighting for justice and equality? You are in luck, because the books below are exactly what you’re looking for.

10 new books on anger, feminism, and unruly women. feminism | books about feminism | women's anger | book lists

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper CoverEloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

This is an essential memoir about the power of black women’s anger. Cooper undermines the stereotype of the angry black woman by showing the power, resourcefulness, and energy that rage can bring. Along with her argument about anger, she writes movingly about her life and offers incisive cultural critiques. It’s aimed at black women, but it’s a good everyone can learn from.

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister (Simon and Schuster, October 2)

Rebecca Traister has been one of the most important contemporary voices for feminism in the Trump era, and here she looks at the transformative power of women’s anger in the context of political movements. Anger has driven women’s advances forward but has sometimes also provoked resentful backlash. Traister takes a deep look at the power and also the complicated results of women’s rage.

Rage-Becomes-Her-Soraya-Chemaly-coverRage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly

Soraya Chemaly argues that rage, far from being a sign of weakness, is a source of power. She shows how anger can provide women a way forward as we look at the injustices around us and decide to do something about them. Looking at the many reasons women have to be angry, Chemaly points the way to turning what is often seen as a negative emotion into an instrument of change.

Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing From Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for FEminism, edited by June Eric-Udorie (Penguin Books, September 25)

The subtitle says it all! This is an essay collection on how to make contemporary feminism as diverse and inclusive as possible. The pieces—all of which are previously unpublished—explore why some people feel uncomfortable claiming the feminist label and how we can broaden feminism to include all.

Feminasty: The Complicated Woman's Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death by Erin GibsonFeminasty: The Complicated Woman’s Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death by Erin Gibson

This book is for those who want some humor thrown into the mix. Erin Gibson is the creator of the “Throwing Shade” podcast, and here she gives us essays that look at the ways women are hobbled by the patriarchy. It’s a book that will make you laugh and make you angry at the same time—and maybe it will make you want to change the world.

A Politically Incorrect Feminist: Creating a Movement with Bitches, Lunatics, Dykes, Prodigies, Warriors, and Wonder Women by Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler is a veteran of the feminist movement from the 1960s and ’70s, and this book is a memoir and a look back at the women who made that movement happen. It’s a helpful introduction to many major figures of second-wave feminism and an argument that powerful women can change the world.

Unapologetic-Charlene-Carruthers-coverUnapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers

Charlene Carruthers argues for inclusivity in political movements, showing how people who have been on the margins can take their place in the center. She looks at black political movements from the past, including the Haitian Revolution, the U.S. Civil Rights movement, and more, to offer a more powerful, more radical way of working toward change.

Physical Disobedience: An Unruly Guide to Health and Stamina for the Modern Feminist by Sarah Hays Coomer

This book makes the argument that becoming an activist requires paying attention to one’s body. Too often fitness is associated with beauty and is about reining one’s body in and controlling it. Instead, Coomer argues that we should associate fitness with power and see physical strength as what allows us to go out and do the work of activism.

Make Trouble Cecile Richards coverMake Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards

Until earlier this year, Cecile Richards was the president of Planned Parenthood, and this book is a memoir of her life spent as a leader in the fight for women’s equality. She began as a 7th-grader protesting the Vietnam War and continued as a labor organizer and activist. Here she tells her story and inspires other women to continue the fight.

The Art of Feminism: Images that Shaped the Fight for Equality, 1857-2017 Edited by Helena Reckitt (Chronicle Books, October 23)

This book is a historical look at the images that shaped the feminist movement over the past 160 years. It has more than 350 works of art, illustration, photography, performance, and graphic design along with essays that contextualize the pieces.