Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Feminist Reading List

I actually read this for my voices of oppression class but I really enjoyed it. Its sort of a trip through pop culture through the lens of sexism and feminism. I reread it over winter break and found it just as exciting the second time around. I love her idea of Enlightened Sexism. I touched on it a bit in my post about Female Chuavinist Pigs and I'm planning on an entire post dedicated to Enlightened Sexism eventually.

Okay I actually picked up this book at Barnes and Noble because I wanted to read her essay about going undercover at a Playboy club. But I did actually enjoy the rest of this book as well! She offers a great look at the Women's Rights movement from the ground up. She also includes some writing about her trips with political candidates (not as applicable or as interesting to me personally).

I loved this book. Ina May Gaskin is an incredibly well known midwife who works on "The Farm" in Tennesee. Reading this book made me want to go there to have all of my babies. This book is part guide to childbirth (as the name implies) covering all kinds of FAQ's about childbirth in general and home birth in particular. There are also a good number of personal birth stories that Ina May attended including some at "The Farm".

I know that this technically isn't "Feminist" per se... but I am very interested in the idea of Feminist Childbirth and this qualifies in my opinion.
Recommended for: women planning home births, anyone interested in childbirth/homebirth, midwives, future midwives, anyone interested in the natural birth movement
(I'm pretty sure I got some weird looks reading this book on the airplane home from spring break since i look about 12 and was obviously not pregnant)

This is the memoir of a California Midwife. She chronicles the many births she's witnessed and assisted in her time. She has quite a few unique stories and provides great information on what its like to be a midwife in the United States.
Recommended for: midwives, midwives to be, nursing students, anyone interested in chidbirth/homebirths

This is the memory from the midwife Cara Muhlhahn who is featured in the documentary film The Business of Being Born that I watched in my Women's Health Issues class (its a really great film by the way!). She talks about her years as a labor and delivery nurse and her years as a home birth midwife in New York City.
Recommended for: midwives, midwives to be, anyone interested in childbirth/homebirths, nursing students

I borrowed this book from the library to read over winter break. I LOVED it. I've seen this book many times and never picked it up for some reason. I really enjoyed this book about the rise of raunch culture and how women are buying into it and claiming that by dressing provocatively they can be sexy and also feminists. This was a really thought provoking book. See my post here about this book.

A collection of essays by self proclaimed feminists and when they had their "click" moment. A great read on the way that individuals come to identify as feminists.

This is another sort of trip through time. She chronicles the Women's Rights movement from 1960 to 2009. She offers a broad overview of the movement at the time and then personal interviews with different individuals about their lives.
This is a great primer for anyone who's not sure where to start in regards to Feminism and the Women's Rights Movement.

I actually picked up Three Cups of Tea at Target one day intrigued by the synopsis on the back about a guy that builds schools for girls in Pakistan. This is the story of Greg Mortenson's travels through Pakistan and Afghanistan and his promise to build schools for girls in remote areas.

There has been some backlash about parts of the book(s) being fabricated or exaggerated recently... I'm not sure what to say about this other than regardless of these accusations the books are still DEFINITELY worth reading. I suppose we must take everything with a grain of salt these days. But the overall message of Mortenson building schools where no one else will, is very important.

This is a great book about how important women and girls are especially in developing and developed countries! The author (and New York Times journalist) visits many different organizations overseas helping women and girls in various ways. From aid groups that help girls who have escaped sexual slavery in brothels to women who had fistulas from rape or early pregnancy and their search for a surgeon to help them.

I read this book for my Gender and Religion class and I absolutely loved it. Margaret Atwood is a genius (in my humble opinion). This dystopia about women's roles and what happens if women become valued only for their fertility. I'm having a hard time accurately summing up this one so I'll copy and paste the description from Goodreads,
"Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now..."

I also read this book for my gender and religion class and while its probably not a strictly feminist work it does provide an alternate (fictionalized) look at a very well known story in the Bible. The story of Jacob, his wives and his daughter Dina is retold from Dina's point of view and shows us what might have actually happened to the women and girls barely mentioned in the Bible.
This is worth a read for anyone that loves historical fiction or alternate takes on Biblical stories.

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