Five feminist books which you need to read at least once

Essential reading for International Women's Day.

09/03/2021 04:36:00

Essential reading for International Women's Day.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Vogue looks at five books that have changed the course of feminist history – from Simone de Beauvoir’s 1949 polemic The Second Sex to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2014 modern classic We Should All Be Feminists.

The Golden Notebook, which was published in 1962, follows protagonistAnna Wulf’s attempts to compartmentalize her life by journaling her experiences into four separate notebooks. This format sets the scene for commentary on a wide variety of subjects, including motherhood, sexual liberation, racism, colonialism, communism and mental illness. Progressive and inspiring in almost all aspects, it does however fall prey to some of the homophobic views of the time towards the end of the novel.

Lorànt Deutsch prépare un livre sur l’histoire de la Bretagne La Belgique et la Suisse vont rouvrir leurs terrasses avant la France Dans le pétrin… Le voleur avait dérobé pas moins de 14 tonnes de farine

Despite being panned by critics, who referred toLessingas a man-hater and a castrating ball-breaker, women at the time related to the novel and consequently made the book a success. Given the rise of the Strong Female Character trope that’s become popular in recent years, what sets

The Golden Notebookapart is thatWulfisn’t always likeable. This makes for a nuanced and not easily defined heroine who still feels fresh over half a century after publication.The Feminine MystiqueBetty Friedan© Peter L Gould/Images/Getty ImagesOriginally an article that examined why American housewives were unhappy even though they had everything women were

supposedto want – a husband, a house, children and fiscal security – when she couldn’t find anyone who would publish it, journalistBetty Friedandecided to turnThe Feminine Mystiqueinto a book instead. One that argued that identity wasn’t autonomous or determined by biology.

Published in 1963, at a time when the media and advertising equated being a housewife with happiness,Friedanobserved that women were losing their sense of self at home. Women, she concluded, needed to find a purpose outside of the house, they needed to work and participate in larger society. And she wasn’t wrong. Women have

The Feminine Mystiqueto thank for a lot of positive change. It sparked the second-wave feminist movement in the United States and even influenced legislation calling for equal pay.The Feminine Mystique’s scope, however, was limited in that it really only applied to affluent white women who could afford to stay at home, and overlooked marginalized groups and lower classes, the majority of whom were already active participants in the labor market. Still, thanks to its readable and relatable prose it brought women’s rights into the mainstream and framed feminism as both noble and sensible.

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