Happy International Women’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m feminist trash. Just putting it out there. So of course, that means that sometimes when I read books I think about their impact on the world and the readers. I don’t always do this, but my little sister has been really into reading lately and there are some things that I don’t want her to think about. I never want her to feel inadequate just because she’s a girl or feel like she has to act traditionally masculine to still be badass. So recently I’ve been giving her the books I read that I think will show her she can be feminine and badass and a girl and still be equal to everyone else.
So in honour of International Women’s Day, this is a list of books that I think are somewhat feminist. They weren’t written to be feminist, per se, but they definitely can be. They’re books that when I read them or when I still read them, I’m like “fuck yeah girls are so cool.”
The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen
So at first glance, you’re probably like “Ally, how is this feminist at all?” And honestly, yeah it probably doesn’t seem like the most feminist series either. It’s all about young women during the turn of the century trying to fall in love and get married within the social rules.
But it’s actually not all that bad. Yes, it is a little mysogynistic in that it’s all about young women competing against each other for guys. That’s basically all that happens for four books. However, there are some moments of feminism. In the first book, one of the main characters takes matters into her own hands and runs away to be with the person she loves. She organizes everything herself and is brave enough to go to a place that’s totally different than the one she grew up in and in a society that’s completely different than she’s used to. It’s actually pretty great.
ALSO THE ENDING OF THE SERIES. The ending is so good. It’s the whole reason it’s on this list and I honestly credit it as the first time I felt truly feminist from reading a book before I really knew what feminism was. I’ll do my best to not spoil it, but if you think you’ll figure out who I’m talking about, don’t read on. Basically, there’s this one couple you want to be together the entire series. But they never can because of societal rules and jealousy and expectations and wealth and things like that. And finally at the end of the series, literally like the last two chapters, everything falls into place and they can be together. She’s getting on a boat to sail to Paris and he runs to the dock and proposes and says things like “you’re the only one I want to be with, I love you, please marry me” and it is actually really sweet. But then she goes “I love you, but you’re my first love and I’m only 18 and I barely know who I am. So I’m going to go to Paris alone and find who I am. So thanks but no thanks.” And the little 14 year old feminist in me was so happy because it was a girl pursuing what she wanted and not sticking around for some guy just because he loves her. It’s actually one of my favourite endings to a series ever.
So basically: feminist because young women control who they marry and who they love. Recommended for younger readers, 12-15ish.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve done a whole review on this book which you can see here!
Why it’s feminist: Eleanor is bossy and mean and hard to deal with and this doesn’t change when a guy falls in love with her. He still perceives her as this way and she still acts this way, but he accepts her and loves her anyway. That doesn’t happen a lot in books. She is always in control of her sexuality and chooses what she wants to do. Though I didn’t enjoy this book all that much, I can appreciate it. Recommended for those who like YAs.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Full review coming soon!
Why it’s feminist: I think this is pretty obvious. It’s a dystopian future without feminism. It’s what would happen if we didn’t have feminism. Though it is an extremely patriarchal society, the women still take control of small parts of their life. There are so many badass women in this and it is great. I love it so much. Recommended for those over 16 who are bored with traditional YA. Also for those who don’t like sci-fi but like dystopian novels. Also for those who are anti-feminist.
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
*casually promotes full review here*
Why it’s feminist: the main character is a badass young woman, Yelena. Though she is rescued by men several times, she acknowledges that she can’t always rely on them and needs to change things. So she gets them to help her and learns how to fight and pick locks. She always speaks her mind and calls men out on their BS. The whole book is not focused on Yelena falling in love. It happens, but slowly and naturally and she doesn’t pine about it. There’s probably more pining from the male. There are a ton of great females in this book. One of the maids is totally rude but highly respected by everyone which again doesn’t happen all that much. There’s also a female-to-male transgender character who is considered the toughest person in the land who has an internal struggle with accepting their masculinity, which I think is an important thing for people to read. Honestly this is such a good book. I just got my sister to read it and she the rest of the series in two days. Recommended again for those who like YAs but also action.
The Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce
Okay so basically any Tamora Pierce series will do but Beka happens to be my favourite.
Why it’s feminist: she is a badass police woman (though in her world they’re called “dogs”) who doesn’t take shit from anyone. She is magical (literally) and tough but still feminine and sexual. The whole series is fantastic and there are so many good characters. Prostitutes are treated as people and Beka enlists them to help her in one case. There are lady knights who are highly respected. There are females dogs that are respected and super badass. It’s just so good.
I got this series for my sister for her birthday last year because I thought she was reading too many male-led books. She read all of them and has now read all of another series by Pierce. If you’re looking for fantasy/action kind of books, written by a female author with great female protagonists, I would highly recommend all of Pierce’s series. They are so good.
If you have any feminist books, let me know! I definitely want to do more of these because I think it’s an important thing to promote (obviously) so let me know of any suggestions 🙂
Thanks for reading! xx