Feminism gets a bad rap. It really upsets me that it does. I mean all we want is fundamental equal rights and treatment. I’m not sure why that upsets people.
I think there’s a stereotype out there of what a feminist looks like and how she acts and that puts a lot of people off. In particular, it puts a lot of women off identifying themselves as feminists. And herein lies the problem.
Feminism isn’t a type of person, but a movement, and that movement is powered by all sorts of women – Tara Moss, Roxanne Gay, Clementine Ford, Gloria Steinam, me and you, if you choose.
I have two daughters and I am preparing myself for the future challenge of making sure they know that they are more than how they look. So I started to dip my toes into feminist literature, and I haven’t looked back.
If you haven’t gotten into fem lit, here are five reasons I think you might like it.
It’s better than a self-help book
I’ve read quite a few self-help books in my time and I can honestly say that feminist literature has been more helpful. The sharing of stories and learnings have helped me reflect on some episodes in my past and see them more accurately for what they were. Although the emotional wound was reopened briefly, I think many of them have now healed for good and I have folded them up and let them go.
Want to feel like this?
Then you need to get some fem lit into you, gurrrrl! Seriously this stuff makes you want to roar like a lion and helps you learn how to stop people speaking over you or perhaps making you feel that you aren’t enough. You are enough. You deserve to be heard.
It will make you smarter
I read a lot of things that I know aren’t really helping me in the smart stakes. It’s kind of like watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I genuinely enjoy watching it but I know it’s not helping my IQ.
Fem lit will, however, make you smarter. It will equip you with strategies to approach various situations and anecdotes to apply to your daily life, be it work, talking to your daughter, talking to a service provider or just telling the guy at the service station that you need to put your two kids safely into their car seats before you drive away from the bowser, calmly and with confidence. No shaky voice!
You will realise feminism is important for women and men
When you start reading fem lit it becomes really apparent that the feminist stereotype we have perhaps been fed by the media doesn’t exist. It will challenge you into realising that feminism is important and it does apply to you if you identify as a girl or woman, or are a man. Men need women and women need men – we are not islands, people.
I think once you open your eyes to this it opens the doorway to more open dialogue about the big and small issues. Whether it is about getting on top of silent sexism in your workplace or making a decision at home not to talk negatively about your bodies. We all benefit from feminism.
Be the change
I still hear things from women who I consider intelligent that floor me. Short-sighted statements and attitudes that contribute to inequality.
I’m sick of it. As a working mother I feel the brunt of political discrimination and the judgement of society. I feel pressure to establish myself as a self-employed “something” (just need to work the “something” out) so I can achieve the flexibility I want to raise my family the way I would like to and earn an income.
I choose to be the change and not simply ride on the tails of those achieving it. I choose to challenge people when they say stupid things. I choose to speak up for those whose voice is still muted.
Need some fem lit inspo?
Have I inspired you to dip your toes into the world of fem lit? Don’t be scared, you can start small.
Here are some I can recommend.
Speaking Out, Tara Moss
Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham
Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay
The Anti-Cool Girl, Rosie Waterland
Plain-Speaking Jane, Jane Caro
I’m really interested in feminist fiction. Recently discovered Sheri. S. Tipper, would love to find other authors with similar themes. Do you have any recommendations of novels that explore feminism?
I’ll have to have a think, Deb. It would be great to put a list together. Might need to crowd source in Champagne Women perhaps?
Read this today, off to get The Handmaids tale. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/25/dystopian-dreams-how-feminist-science-fiction-predicted-the-future?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other