Looking to kick-start your feminist reading? These 4th Estate reads will get you off to an excellent start.
The ground-breaking, worldwide bestselling feminist tract.
A worldwide bestseller, translated into over twelve languages, The Female Eunuch is a landmark in the history of the women’s movement. Drawing liberally from history, literature and popular culture, past and present, Germaine Greer’s searing examination of women’s oppression is at once an important social commentary and a passionately argued masterpiece of polemic.
Probably the most famous, most widely read book on feminism ever.
Our favourite quote: ‘It takes a great deal of courage and independence to decide to design your own image instead of the one that society rewards, but it gets easier as you go along.’
What you think of it: ‘Not just an historically significant document but also informative and surprising relevant to the millennial woman. Heartening too, to read something written last century and to realise the progress that has been made towards women’s equality, and to see what still need to be accomplished.’
‘I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…’
What does “feminism” mean today?
In this personal, eloquently argued essay – adapted from her much-admired Tedx talk of the same name – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now – an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
Our favourite quote: ‘The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.’
What you think of it: ‘It is fascinating in the fact that many things that we take for granted – both women and men (linguistic flip intended) – and gives us a deeper insight into modern society and how much things have changed yet how much there is still yet to achieve.’
Taking us on an eye-opening journey through science, Inferior challenges our preconceptions about men and women, investigating the ferocious gender wars that burn in biology, psychology and anthropology. Angela Saini revisits the landmark experiments that have informed our understanding, lays bare the problem of bias in research, and speaks to the scientists finally exploring the truth about the female sex.
The result is an enlightening and deeply empowering account of women’s minds, bodies and evolutionary history. Interrogating what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, Inferior unveils a fresh view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.
Our favourite quote: ‘Decades of rigorous testing of girls and boys confirm that there are few psychological differences between the sexes, and that the differences seen are heavily shaped by culture, not biology.’
What you think of it: ‘Brilliant book, really well written, very accessible and understandable, an absolute must-read!’
Sali Hughes – Pretty Honest
A witty, wise and truthful beauty handbook for real women on what works in real life from Sali Hughes, beloved journalist and broadcaster.
“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together” Elizabeth Taylor
Beauty books. Exquisite coffee-table affairs featuring improbably beautiful models with wholly-unachievable-to-most women looks, product review-heavy volumes which become almost instantly outdated, or tracts of holistic mumbo jumbo, like how to make an unproven face pack from organic molasses and rough-hewn porridge oats.
In Pretty Honest, Sali Hughes draws on over 20 years of wisdom, advice and expertise to show real women how to make the most of makeup’s physically and emotionally transformative powers. Covering everything from teenage skin to mature beauty, botox to bridal make-up, sickness to good health, it’s a work that is part instruction manual, part love letter to makeup – in a writing style that combines beauty editor, feminist and painfully funny best friend.
Our favourite quote: ‘But I see good grooming and feminism as entirely complementary. For some, beauty is a matter of pride and self-respect, of feeling your best and worthy of attention. While a man with an interest in football, wine, Formula 1 or even paintballing would never see his intelligence called into question, a woman with an interest in surface is perceived to have no depth.’
What you think of it: ‘The holy bible for girls. Every single female should own the book, I shall keep mine forever.’
Stay tuned for more 4th Estate feminist bookshelf essentials this month.
Find out more about WOM4N here. Don’t miss out on this incredible month.
Want to see Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie live in conversation with Reni Eddo-Lodge next Saturday? We’ve got free tickets up for grabs.
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