On Women’s Day 2022, we bring you a list of books that give you an in-depth view of female lives and celebrate womanhood in all its glory!
Social media has become a convenient space to talk about women empowerment, feminism, women’s rights, and inclusivity because it creates a safe space for one to put forth their thoughts and connect with a community. It’s also a great space to learn about all kinds of things, feminism included. However, if you wish to learn more about feminism and its roots from some of the most iconic feminists, you can always go the old-school way and read books. We have compiled a list of books that give you an in-depth knowledge of feminism as well as patriarchy. In this list are books that celebrate womanhood in all its glory!
Ready to read? Here you go!
Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by Bell Hooks– The book was first published in 1984, but it stays relevant as ever. It’s a powerful and critical analysis of American feminism which aims at bringing women from various races and classes together to fight against patriarchy. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center is intense and can feel very academic at some points, but every sentence is a revolution.
The Prisons We Broke by Babytai Kamble– ‘The Prisons We Broke’, originally ‘Jina Amucha’ comes like one hard-hitting slap. Babytai Kamble was a Dalit activist belonging to the Scheduled Caste, Mahar, who later converted to Buddhism. The book has a feminist Dalit narrative. It spans the lives and living conditions of Mahars from the pre-colonial to the post-colonial era. It’s the recognition of the strength of the Mahars, for leading pained but hearty lives under the clutches of Brahminism.
A Gardener in the Wasteland by Srividya Natarajan and Aparajita Ninan– Natarajan and Ninan portray the lives of the two feminist revolutionaries in India’s history – Jotiba and Savitribai Phule’s lives. Along with feminism, the book is a sharp critique of class and caste. A Gardener in the Wasteland can be read even by those who don’t like reading much since the book is a graphic novel.
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman – Feldman, belonging to an ultra-orthodox Satmar Jew family, fled her Hasidic roots and today she lives a liberal life. While the book largely speaks of the Jewish community, Deborah’s pain can be felt by women across India who live in conservative households. This book gives hope to those who are oppressed to break free of the cage.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – The author, in elegant, sensitive, delicate words, describes the sorrow and suffering of those who belong to marginalized communities. She talks ever so gently and yet tells you how nasty and brutal this civilization is. Morrison gives you an in-depth view of how it feels to belong to a black community. This book will crush your soul, but it will inspire you to empathize with the oppressed.
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson – This book revolves around the life of a lesbian girl who grows up in an English Pentecostal community and an extremely conservative household. The book talks about delicate and complex subjects like the transition from youth to adulthood, complex family relationships, same-sex relationships, organized religion, and the concept of faith.
The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad– The book largely revolves around the life of a bookseller in Kabul living under the Taliban and Mujahedeen rule in a war-torn Afghanistan. However, written by a woman, this book gives an insight into the lives of Afghan women. The Bookseller of Kabul speaks of how conservative the society is, of women’s shackles and their pain.
Letters to My Daughter by Maya Angelou– This book is a gentle breeze. It’s a bear hug, a tale of courage, a frank conversation, and a stream of kindness at the same time. The letters or the chapters hold valuable and beautiful advice for women who are making their way through this patriarchal society.
Beauty Sick, How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women by Renee Engeln– Almost all women have been shamed about their bodies at various stages in their lives. This book addresses the psychology behind body-shaming and our culture’s obsession with a fixed definition of “beauty”. It encourages you to not put yourself on display for society and teaches you to love your body regardless of how it looks.