“50 Essential Feminist Books”: What’s on Your (Law) List?

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I’m skeptical of canon projects generally, but I admit that I find them fascinating all the same.  I stumbled across this list of “50 Essential Feminist Books” (not necessarily law-related) on the UK-based Stylist blog.  It’s what the editors call “50 essential feminist reads, spanning the first, second and third waves of feminism.”

  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
  • Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex
  • Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
  • Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
  • Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Valerie Solanas, Scum Manifesto
  • Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Kate Millett, Sexual Politics
  • Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex
  • Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch
  • Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape
  • Nancy Friday, My Mother My Self
  • Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
  • Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies Ourselves
  • Luce Irigaray, Key Writings
  • Susie Orbach, Fat is a Feminist Issue
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider
  • John Irving, The Cider House Rules
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Fannie Flag, Fried Green Tomatos at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Andrew Dworkin, Intercourse
  • Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women
  • Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble
  • Anita Diamant, The Red Tent
  • Guerrilla Girls, The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art
  • Elizabeth Wurtzel, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women
  • Marcelle Karp and Debbie Stoller (eds.), The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order
  • Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag, Women
  • Inga Musco, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence
  • bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
  • Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future
  • Rachel Cusk, A Life’s Work
  • Beverly Donofrio, Riding in Cars with Boys
  • Guerrilla Girls, Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls’ Illustrated Guide to Female Sterotypes
  • Maureen Dowd, Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide
  • Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs, Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture
  • Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism
  • Tracy Emin, Strangeland
  • Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, Yes Means Yes
  • Tina Fey, Bossy Pants
  • Sylvia Walby, The Future of Feminism
  • Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman

Most of these would be great for a literature, history or Women’s Studies course, but some (I’m thinking of hooks, Levy, Valenti, Friedman & Valenti, Baumgardner & Richards, Walby, Moran) could be folded in to enrich a Feminist Legal Theory course.

-Bridget Crawford

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