After telling you guys all about Margaret Mead yesterday, I had someone ask to recommend some of her essays to read. This, of course, got my brain swirling with all the wonderful papers, stories, and other writings I have come across since I started studying Women’s and Gender Studies. I feel like just about everything I have read in the last few years is extremely important because there are so many different facets and viewpoints to feminism. I could list every thing I’ve read since 2012 and I promise there would still be SO much to learn, for me and for you.
So, I have shortened this down to a handful of papers and stories that I think encompasses several different topics that you can use as firepower against MRA’s and meninists and racists who say ignorant shit.
This essay, written in 1988, is still 100% relevant. It is about privilege. Whether that be white privilege, male privilege, straight, cisgender, religious privilege, even privilege for being able to live in a Western Society. The first step in becoming a feminist is recognizing your privilege and accepting that you have no idea what people who aren’t as lucky as you go through. This essay does a great job of breaking down simple privileges that we never realize we take advantage of.
2. bell hooks
THIS is a good place to start with bell hooks, (lowercase letters intentional) but I suggest reading anything by her you can get her hands on. Her rhetoric is honest and painful, in the best way. She deals a lot with issues of race. Also, she’s from Kentucky and I think that’s awesome.
3. I Am Not a Rapist By John Stoltenburg
This essay is written by a male feminist activist. Stoltenburg has long been a supporter of women’s rights, writes and speaks against violence towards women, and tries to reframe how we as a society perceive masculinity. Also, he’s a guy!!! A MAN who’s a feminist! Whhhhaaatttt. But seriously, he writes well and I really like this essay.
This is a fictional short story that explores the idea of society-constructed gender roles. I actually recommend it to any of my friends about to have a child, and now I recommend it to you. It is heart warming and sweet, but remember it is just fiction. Still gives you something to ponder on though.
This is actually a newer article from the New York Times, from April of this year. I added it to this list, though because I think it’s really important. True feminists believe any social injustice is wrong, and “the race issue” is one of the most important issues of our time. To me, this article proves that. NYT takes facts and statistics and forces the reader to realize that PoC have a harder time living “normal” lives than cis, white people. Before you disagree, or you are offended, read the article. They do a much better job of explaining this than I do.
6. Am I Blue? By Bruce Coville
This is a really witty short story that explores identity and homosexuality in a very relatable way.
I can’t find any direct articles or excerpts from her books, but I did find a few articles explaining why her work is important. For me, personally, her work isn’t as relevant as some of the newer pieces I’ve listed above.
These six articles and stories are the very basic “Starter Pack” for feminists, if you will. I did not discover any of these myself, but was introduced to them, by amazing professors like Jill, my mentor and feminist role model. I tried to cover a number of topics, because that’s what feminism does! It doesn’t JUST follow “women’s issues” like many people believe, because we understand that if one person is held back, then we are all held back as a society.
I would love to hear what you think about these different readings! Which one is your favorite?
What did I leave out? Is there an article or story you feel is JUST WRONG to leave out here?
I fully plan on doing another round up of important readings, so we can move forward as a society.
Peace & Love