A lot of people are now reading this, rolling their eyes or clicking off this page thinking ‘oh, great, here we go again…another mention of the ‘F-Word’.
I’m not here to preach or argue from the point of a feminist, I am going to explain what feminist is, in a fair and literary manner.
Feminism is something close to my heart, not only as a female but as a writer and as a person who is interested in working in an environment filled with women – yet dominated by men.
But let me make myself clear, I am not a man-hating, genderist, one-sided Feminist –large ‘F’.
According to my History tutor, Feminism – large ‘F’ – is the kind that most men and women appear to believe a Feminist is: someone who believes that men are suppressing women in all manner of ways, and in fact hate men altogether (in a nutshell)
feminism – with a small ‘f’ – is someone who believes in advocating the equality of women’s rights in accordance to men’s rights.
No, Women are not better than Men and no,Men are not better than Women. They are equal, just not yet in salaries, sexuality or race.
This does not mean I hate men! I don’t, thank you very much.
The point of today’s, deep yet important, post is to introduce readers to a variety of feminist literature (and a speech) that have an important message or theme.
DISCLAIMER: I know that if a Man were to write a post on a subject like this, claiming that men and women should be equal, they are sometimes penalised. We need more of those men! And, actually, I have no problem with men putting their argument across either – I’m all for masculinists as well –small ‘m’.
by Roxanne Gay
This is a book of essays, but it does not lecture you. Bad Feminist lets you know everything that is wrong with society, from several feminist’s point of view, but it does so with structure and argument that isn’t disagreeable or frustrating. A valid entry into a worldwide debate by several different women.
The Vagina Monologues
by Eve Ensler
The fact that if I were to read this book on a train or on a bus or in the park, would mean getting strange looks from immature children/adults is wrong. A vagina is attached to 50% of the human race – so why is it funny? That being said, if you were to see a book called ‘penis monologues’ around as well there would be the same looks – this is not right! The book itself is hilarious, whilst holding its ground in the feminist debate, it asks questions like: if your vagina could wear clothes what would they be? A strange, yet valid, question.
How to be a Woman
by Caitlin Moran
If you want an honest opinion, if only from one women, on growing up as a girl…look no further. It holds the gritty details with dirty humour. I find Moran’s honesty a little off-putting to be honest, but the message is clear and it is still a good read. The fact that it is off-putting is only frustrating to me as I know that it shouldn’t be, but it is because of society’s rules that suggest vaginas, menstruating, sex and arguing are things to be avoided in conversation in public.
The Handmaid’s Tale
by Margaret Atwood
An feminist book, perhaps unintentionally, but one that stay with you longer than any debate or public protest. This book tells the story of how women are given only a few choices in life – one of them is to become a concubine, a continuous incubator for children. It is a dystopian – very dystopian – ideal of what will happen to women in the future if we do not barter for equality now. The idea that our own bodies will be used as a weapon against us…hmm…leave that thought in your head with how you would dress your vagina.
Only Ever Yours
by Louise O’Neil
Another piece of fiction, another story of specially bred teenage girls preparing for the life of a concubine, a companion or chastity. Their lives are chosen for them, depending on their skills at becoming pretty. Anyone, seeing a pattern here?
by Kathryn Stockett
This book holds the most sway for me with regards to feminism and race. We see very different types of feminism in this, with wives controlling their husbands as well are owning their own voices. The fact that the loudest voices are Minny and Aibileen, two black maids, is the most poignant and strongest element of the book. They are not afraid to be quiet, even in 60s Mississippi. So why should we be afraid to speak out about equality now?
Meryl Streep went berserk with admiration and feeling, women smiled and applauded like crazy, men clapped and nodded. It was a supported, yet brief, moment and it highlighted something very important within the arts industry.
So much so that newspapers were reporting it several months later with regards to Jennifer Lawrence’s pay in ‘American Hustle’ compared to her male counterparts – when she was the one that won the Oscar for her work in the production…hmm…it’s just unfair
There is a lot of unfairness in the world and it is simply highlighted within books, speeches, academia and research.
I would still applaud and accept any man who chose to argue as a masculinist against or with an argument towards something else with regards to gender equality. There needs to be more than one opinion on the matter, and not from just one gender – the irony that there is only such a thing as a ‘feminist’ and not ‘masculinist’ when ‘feminists’ are fighting for equality.
How are we equal if it is only women, and not men, who argue for or against this argument? After all, there is more than one side to a debate, otherwise it is just preaching.
Equality, sexuality and all these things ending it ‘lity’ that effect our day-to-day reactions and opinions are frustratingly numerous and even though I don’t think they’ll stop in my lifetime or any descendants of mine – if I have any (my body, my rules!) – reading literature is a step in the right direction.
It will at least, I hope, teach people the proper definition of a feminist and remind them that it isn’t the ‘F-Word’ at all.