With knowledge, comes power. Start this decade with some serious feminist reading to empower not only ourselves, but to uplift the experience of others too!

What do we mean by intersectionally feminist? 

Intersectionality is the understanding of how our individual characteristics including race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, etc, overlap. Coined in 1989 by Kimberle Crenshaw, American lawyer and leading scholar of critical race theory, she advocated for intersectional feminism to explain that multiple forms of discrimination exist. That as feminists, we need to fight not only sexism, but racism, homophobia, ableism and other oppressive structures in society.

Our identities are not singular. The following books offer key perspectives that feminism needs to work. Make 2020 your year for greatness!

1. Feminism is For Everybody,  bell hooks

Though published in 2000, this book is more relevant than ever. Designed to be read by all genders, Feminism is For Everybody is a fundamental guide to feminism, avoiding inaccesible jargon, hooks explains feminist theory using everyday lived experiences. She suggests alternative ways to challenge the patriarchal racist culture that still pervades society 20 years on from writing!

2. Come As You Are,  Emily Nagoski 

For those who need a sexual confidence boost, Emily Nagoski breaks down how the female body is used as a weapon against the power of female sexuality. Using science to normalise pleasure, this self-help book empowers you to take control of what you want and need in the bedroom. It’s a must read for understanding your body and sexual response.

3. Sextech Revolution: The Future of Sexual Wellness,  Andrea Barrica

Written by Andrea Barrica, the founder of O.School a sex education platform, Sextech Revolution is an explosive book of the industry’s challenges and opportunities. As a queer Filipina American woman, Barrica offers a fresh perspective on the importance of entrepreneurs willing to disrupt the male dominated tech space constrained by sex taboos and sexism.

4. Girl, Woman, Other,  Bernadine Evaristo

Joint winner of the Booker prize 2019, alongside Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, Evaristo graces the bookshelves with the lives and struggles of 12 characters, mostly women, black and British. Each story offers an intimacy that the reader can relate to. This book makes space for a new kind of history, one that centres the intersectionality of people’s experiences.

5. Trans Power: Own Your Gender,  Juno Roche

An essential read for understanding the real-lived struggles faced by the trans community. Author of Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships, Roche proposes “trans” as an identity with its own power, offering a fresh perspective on gender that will truly make you sit back and think about your own.

6. Bisexual Notes for a Bisexual Revolution,  Shiri Eisner

As a feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist, Eisner smashes it with this bisexual political manifesto. Putting the “B” firmly in the LGBT, author of The Bisexuality Report, Meg Barker, says this book “exposes the underlying assumptions and misconceptions about sex, gender, and sexuality that give rise to societal monosexism and biphobia”. Each chapter lays out the intersectional challenges bisexuals face and offers an inspirational movement.

7. Feminist, Queer, Crip,  Alison Kafer

Society is built on able-bodied and able-mindedness, yet this book resists the idea that disability is a ‘predetermined limit’. Acknowledging that disability doesn’t exist in isolation, Kafer builds upon existing feminist theory to paint a world that envisions alliances.

8. White Feminism: The Lie You Buy,  Koa Beck

To be published in June 2020, this book is expected to dig deep into the way modern feminism has become a commodity. As the former editor-in-chief of Jezebel (a “supposedly feminist magazine”), Koa Beck wants to use this book to remind people there is a collective struggle for women that doesn’t reside on our individual gains as the expense of intersectionally marginalised women.

“There is a big divide between the individualised, self-optimised feminist narrative that dominates American culture and the labor protections, federal paid parental leave, and healthcare initiatives that women and other marginalised genders have been organising for. That divide is white feminism." Beck tells Forbes.

9. We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir,  Samra Habib

For anyone who have ever felt out of place, Habib’s memoir explores faith, art, love and queer sexuality in a culture that told her she couldn’t exist. Brought up in Pakistan, her Ahmadi Muslim identity was considered blasphemous by Islamic extremists. When moving to Canada with her family as a refugee, she has to navigate through a whole load of new challenges. This book explores her journey of forgiveness, family and freedom through feminism.

10. Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights, Molly Smith & Juno Mac

Considering the complexities of prostitution, the feminist debates over this industry have been huge and longstanding. This book is a critical examination of sex work, that deploys the honest emotional, social and political realities of sex worker’s experiences. Smith and Mac are sex workers and activists themselves, and here they implore the reader, whether they be a feminist, politician or policy maker, to rethink sex work as labour, in need of rights.

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