Share 10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

Jesica Sweedler DeHart worked as a bookseller for many years and currently reviews books, does consulting, independent author publicity, and book-tour scheduling. Her passion for books is contagious, and she reads from many genres, including cookbooks, children's books, contemporary fiction and nonfiction. She has been known to dress entirely in sequins when books she has championed are announced as award winners. Follow Jesica's bookish life adventures on Instagram @wanderingbookseller and on Facebook as Wandering Bookseller.

It has now been several months since the historical women’s marches circumnavigated the globe in solidarity that women’s rights are human rights and that all issues are women’s issues.  I have been traveling abroad since October and have turned to books to find a unifying dialogue and community. In my reading, I have discovered a surge in authentic voices of women telling their stories and paving the way for the next generation of feminists—male and female—to feel emboldened and accepted. I believe in the power of women’s words and stories to change the direction of our domestic and global thinking. I invite you to dive into these pivotal books.


Muslim Girl
by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh's memoir of growing up as a young Muslim woman in a country seized with post-9/11 hate rhetoric is a defying narrative. The creator of the website, MuslimGirl.com, she addresses issues of identity, diversity, and personal choices of being a Muslim woman within her community and at large. MUSLIM GIRL responds to Islamaphobia, racism, sexism, and inaccurate preconceived notions of an entire region of the world and its people by acts of terror by a small minority.

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Muslim Girl
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

This harrowing and candid memoir from the founder of MuslimGirl.com is a Muslim American’s coming-of-age story in the wake of 9/11. In MUSLIM GIRL, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh shares an honest and deeply necessary counterpoint to Islamophobia and the current rhetoric about the Middle East.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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By Erica Nelson | January 20, 2017

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Rookie Yearbook One
by Tavi Gevinson

ROOKIE YEARBOOK ONE is filled with all the healthy, vibrant, heart-wrenching, curious, hilarious, and creative conversations and essays that represent the female teen. There is nothing trivial, self-esteem–reducing or superficial to be found on anything that Tavi Gevinson touches. (Watch her TED talk as a tween and you have a glimpse of the Gloria Steinem of her generation.) Tavi Gevinson is the perfect role model for young women!

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Rookie Yearbook One
Tavi Gevinson

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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Backwards in High Heels
by Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine

This smart and candid essay collection celebrates being a woman. Opening its pages is like hanging out with your favorite female friends, talking about everything from sex to motherhood to beauty products. BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS avoids being self-helpy or preachy or pretentious, and instead is genuine and real. This is currently my favorite book to give.

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Backwards in High Heels
Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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Girl Up
by Laura Bates

Laura Bates is a role model and a force to be reckoned with. She is determined that society no longer define and dictate what it means to be female. Bold and direct, GIRL UP addresses issues of equality and respect from social media to the standards of beauty and dress code expectations of schools. Think OUR BODIES, OURSELVES for a new generation.

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Girl Up
Laura Bates

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Lara Blackman | March 13, 2018

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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Dear Ijeawele
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Sometimes the perfect book arrives when you need it most, and this letter transformed into a book is a gift that I will give again and again. As a mother to sons, I feel that it is vital also to raise my own children with these awarenesses. A powerful wise voice at a time when the world is finally listening to intersectional feminism.

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Dear Ijeawele
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Wellesley invited yet another illustrious writer to address its graduating class in 2015: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In her speech she urged students to “make feminism a big, raucous, inclusive party.” Adichie’s latest manifesto, DEAR IJEAWELE, underscores the message of her address by offering insights from her life that can help us to raise young girls as feminists.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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By Tolani Osan | May 22, 2017

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The Mother of All Questions
by Rebecca Solnit

THE MOTHER OF ALL QUESTIONS is a stand-alone book, and yet also the continuation of a conversation that began in MEN EXPLAIN THINGS TO ME. Rebecca Solnit's powerful and defiant voice stands firm. These essays explore everything from women who refuse to be silenced to the literary canon to our cultural history of rape jokes. It’s powerful and perfectly timed.

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The Mother of All Questions
Rebecca Solnit

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MENTIONED IN:

6 Essay Collections on Why We Should All Be Feminists

By Nikki Barnhart | November 23, 2018

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud
by Anne Helen Petersen

This book is the precise and monumentally irrefutable reason why feminism exists and with each in-depth and highly researched example, the imbalance is exemplified. Until we are all feminists and the equal rights amendment has passed, books like this need to be required reading.

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud
Anne Helen Petersen

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Sarah Jane Abbott | October 19, 2018

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10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

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In the Company of Women
by Grace Bonney

This is a book for everyone who has ever had a passion to create something. As I forge my own path of entrepreneurial exploration, these stories inspire me. We need more collections of diverse voices like this exquisite coffee-table book.

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In the Company of Women
Grace Bonney

Chock-full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths, these profiles of over 100 influential and creative women detail the keys to success, highlight the importance of everyday rituals, and dispense advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs and makers.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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By Sarah Jane Abbott | February 9, 2017

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Shrill
by Lindy West

There are perspectives that exist in this world that are hard to conceive until you walk in their shoes. This is the gift that memoirs provide. This unpretentious memoir, written with humor, vulnerability, and courage, is exactly what we need to read right now when sexual assault boasting has been renamed locker-room banter. This book is as impactful as Ta-Nehisi Coates’s BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME.

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Shrill
Lindy West

You have to be careful about what you read when you’re writing, or you can end up in total despair, thinking, “This is what I wanted to say, only she got there first and said it better.” But here’s the thing—there can never be too many stories about growing up as a big girl in a world that wants its women small. And Lindy’s defense of Ursula the Sea Witch as a role model gives me life, as the kids say.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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By Allison Tyler | June 20, 2017

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By Jennifer Weiner | October 13, 2016

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Here We Are
by Kelly Jensen

HERE WE ARE editor Kelly Jensen and all the thoughtful contributors deserve a standing ovation for this deeply courageous, personal, and groundbreaking work. This is the most inclusive and accessible book on feminism and equality ever written. The diversity of the contributors’ voices spans all genders and perspectives on feminism. The world would be a better place if this book were required reading in high school and university classes.

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Here We Are
Kelly Jensen

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Pivotal Books on Feminism

By Jesica Sweedler DeHart | August 1, 2017

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