For me, feminism is all about equality, for women to have the same rights and freedom as men do. Throughout the ages, books about strong women have existed, giving people, young and old the chance to see how strong women are. If you want to read feminist literature, here are 10 books I recommend reading.
The Handmaid’s Tale-Margaret Atwood
I’m sure you’ve heard that channel 4 have made their tv version of the book, but this book has been a favourite dystopian for many years. This was the first book I studied for my A-level English Literature and yet I always love re-reading this book.
Despite being a pawn to Gilead’s roles and ways, Offred tells us about her new life in Gilead whilst looking back on the past she was forced to leave behind. Women in this book are categorised by their class and whether they can reproduce or not. Only here, it is the Commanders, all of which are male, have a voice and a say to the society they live in. To say that Offred is a tough and strong heroine is an understatement!
What would happen if men became inferior? All across the world, women have the power, a power which made women the stronger sex. Full of opportunities to reflect on the real world and the similarities and differences this book demonstrates, this is a good book to read if you want to explore gender inequality and feminism.
Little Women-Louisa Alcott
This is one of the best feminist books! I love the bond between the four sisters and how they, not only look out for each other, but achieve their dreams. Jo is always a heroine of mine. She always works and does what she loves. She’s headstrong and does anything to look after her family. If this book has taught me one thing, its that women should have the right to choose what they want to do, and each sister does that, living the lives that they want to, not because they have to.
A Thousand Splendid Suns-Khaled Hosseini
Written by the same author as the Kite Runner, two women meet and become allies in a society where women have no rights, except to be the property of the men they are married to. When everything turns against them, the two work together to try to escape the life they are forced to live.
Jane Eyre-Charlotte Bronte
From becoming a governess despite her circumstances, to the struggles that she faced during the early stages of her career, Jane Eyre is an inspiring woman that everyone should get to know.
The Bell Jar-Sylvia Plath
This is another one of the feminist books I studied during my A-level in English Literature and really enjoyed. Plath’s only book highlights the double standards that lie between men and women as well as the pressures of being the image that society expects of women.
The Book Thief-Markus Zusak
This is one of my favourite books. The story takes you through the life of a young girl’s life in Nazi Germany. Her love of reading makes her more confident and rebellious as she develops into an adult. A lot of books with adolescent teenagers always focus on them having a romantic relationship. Instead, Zusak doesn’t make Liesel lovestruck. He makes her a strong minded female who loves to read, a strong heroine, something that is needed in more stories.
Harry Potter-J.K. Rowling
Although Harry is the main character in this series of books, the real heroine everyone should look up to is his friend, Hermione Granger. Hermione doesn’t just sit on the side lines, she fights alongside the others. She is the smartest pupil in all of her classes, and a great friend to everyone she is with.
Throne of Glass-Sarah J Mass
The Throne of Glass series consists of the deadly assassin, Celaena Sardothien. She is offered a chance to gain her freedom, and through no other option, fights for it. Book by book, she becomes stronger, gaining allies new and old and becoming the leader her kingdoms need. For a teen fiction, there is less focus on romance and more on her fighting and having her own mind. From her love of books, literature to her tough personality makes her the heroine every women needs to read about.
Alias Grace-Margaret Atwood
Another great classic by the great Margaret Atwood. To me, it felt like I was reading a Victorian classic by Bronte or Austen, but it was filled with the issues that are only being talked about now. Being locked in prison for murder, Grace is encouraged to visit Dr Simon Jordan, who tries to unravel Grace’s life up to her present position. In this book, issues about what women had to face for many years are now being highlighted. Women and individuals from poorer classes finally have a voice in this book, giving the reader the chance to understand their difficult situations during this era. This is one of the best feminist books to read!