The List of Books Men Must Read Before Messaging Me About Feminism

Lauren Parker
Jul 5, 2016 · 3 min read

I’m guessing it’s 11:00 pm and you’ve stumbled across something I’ve said. It’s late and you’ve probably had some wine and you’re emblazoned with a sense of power and fearlessness. Or maybe you like me and want me to know that I’m paranoid about men and that patriarchy is a myth. Your opinion should be important to me, after all, because you’re a man and you don’t want me to keep alienating other men with my beliefs. Maybe you think you have discovered some insight into toxic masculinity that you think I have not studied or seen and that will be the magical piece that will drag me away from feminism. Maybe you think I owe it to you to plead my case.

Before you hit send on that message. Before you even finish typing it out. Before you push me to dismiss your emotional arguments that you’ve told yourself are fact and not a non-reflective perception of the world and socialized training under patriarchy and white supremacy. Before you make me hurt your feelings, read the entirety of this list.

Also support your local bookstores

Required Reading List

Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit

The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson

The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women, Jessica Valenti

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

Feminism Is For Everybody: Passionate Politics, bell hooks

Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters

Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, Inga Muscio

The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses, Oyeronke Oyewumi

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft

Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, Sarah Grimke

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs

On Woman’s Right to Suffrage, Susan B. Anthony

The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf

Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde

The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir

Fear of Flying, Erica Jong

Fat is a Feminist Issue, Susie Orbach

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Gender Trouble, Judith Butler

The Bust Guide To The New Girl Order

We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel

Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, Daisy Hernandez

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, Melissa V. Harris-Perry

Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, Andrea Lee Smith

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Meg Elison

Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith

Shrill, Lindy West

Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters

The Complete Poems, Anne Sexton

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin

The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

Bonus Materials (Speeches, Articles, etc)

Ain’t I a Woman? speech, Sojourner Truth

Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker

Men Still Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit

All of My Work

If Hermione Were The Main Character In Harry Potter

Jessica Valenti: my life as a ‘sex object’

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Trolls; It Trolls for Thee

“Yes means yes” is about much more than rape

Hope you enjoyed this Feminist Primer and that those of you out there who are looking for an education on feminism seek out the books on this list and (of course) many more.

Got recommendations? I’d always love to read your favorite feminist works!

Lauren Parker

Written by

writer and podcaster, harbinger of chaos based in Oakland. Cohost of GLOW the Distance. Website

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