The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a prime example of the feminist science fiction genre, referring to Chaucer and about a post-apocalyptic world where women are reduced to breeding machines
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, needs little introduction, the story of a young woman growing up in 1930s America and her response to a racist and sexually violent society
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, has been described as the greatest Zimbabwean novel, written when Dangarembga was only 25, tells the story of a young girl’s desperation to get an education in the context of huge social change in post colonial Zimbabwe
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Disposessed by Ursula LeGuin
Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks, a classic, makes the point neatly and accessibly
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, a damning critique of contemporary theories of innate brain gender, impressively based on 100s of scientific studies
The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World by Nawal el Sadaawi, a classic account of the oppression of women in Arab countries by doctor el Sadaawi who has attracted the ire of successive Egyptian governments
The Female Eunuch and its sequel The Whole Woman by Germaine Greer. Greer is such a passionate writer- for me these books completely override the negative media image we have been fed of her. It’s good to compare the two works- written about 20 years apart.
A Room of Ones Own by Virginia Woolf. This is such a brilliant lyrical book it hardly seems like politics at all. Its the beginnings of a feminist consciousness about women and their relationship with writing/making art, including the famous imaginative exercise about Shakespeare’s sister which pins down the fundamentals of female oppression. Its sometimes nice to go back to the roots, to see what has been achieved by feminists since Woolf and how much is still not done.
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. A fantastic introduction to why feminism might be relevant to you, if you’ve never thought about it before – I’ve given it to all my female friends who’ve asked me about feminism and every single one of them has been really positive about it.
Living Dolls by Natasha Walters. Good introductory feminist work, illuminating on the objectification and sexualisation of young women in modern British popular culture.
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serrano
Meat Market by Laurie Penny
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. Fine is a neuroscientist and the book is about debunking the shoddy science or ‘neurosexism’ that is currently being used to prop up/revamp ideas of biological determinism i.e. that men have the brains/hormones for advancing and maintaining human civilisation and women are ‘hardwired’ to cook and clean, and we should therefore stay in our proper gender roles and all is well with society. Basically, if like me, you know someone who has a copy of ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ you can throw this book at them. To educate them. Not to hit them. Or both.
Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy
Gender [Polity Short Introductions] by R.W Connell
Stripping the Illusion: The Bare Reality of Lapdancing by Jennifer Hayashi-Danns
Miss Representation (Documetary) by Jennifer Siebel
The Love of the Nightingale (Play) by Timberlake Wertenbaker
The Vagina Monologues (Play) by Eve Ensler
The Purity Myth (Documentary) by Jessica Valenti (Film and Book)