Here’s a list of books that have had a lasting impact on feminism and the Women’s Movement.
- The Feminine Mystique
- Betty Friedan
- A nonfiction book published in 1963, The Feminine Mystique sparked the second-wave of the Women’s Movement in the United States, a movement that lasted until the early 1980s and, unlike the
first-wave’sfocus on the one issue of suffrage, expanded its agenda to a wide variety of issues such as sexuality, reproductive rights, the workplace, and more. Friedan’s book came about by accident. For her 15th class reunion, Friedan was asked to conduct a survey of her Smith College classmates. In talking with them, she realized how unsatisfied they were as housewives. Afterwards, she expanded her research to include other women and the media’s use of advertising. She pitched her work to a variety of magazines, but when none of them wanted to publish her work as an article, she extended it into a book.
- The Second Sex
- Simone de Beauvoir
- The Second Sex was another work credited with igniting the second-wave of the Women’s Movement. Published in 1949, it covered how women had been treated throughout history. French author and existentialist Simone de Beauvoir wrote it in 14 months and published it in two volumes. The book made the Vatican’s List of Prohibited Books.
- A Room of One’s Own
- Virginia Woolf
- A Room of One’s Own, a long form essay by Virginia Woolf, was first published in book form on October 24, 1929. The material came from a series of lectures Woolf gave at two women’s colleges, Newnham and Girton, at Cambridge University in 1928. In the essay, Woolf made the case that women writers should have a space of their own. She meant literally and figuratively. She also pointed out that the literary world was dominated by men. Woolf brilliantly used a fictional narrator to make her case.
- The Vagina Monologues
- Eve Ensler
- The Vagina Monologues, a play made up of a series of monologues, premiered in New York City in 1996. Written by Eve Ensler, the monologues covered a variety of topics from a feminist perspective. The topics ranged from sex to menstruation, birth, rape, female genital mutilation, and more. When the play first premiered, Ensler performed all the monologues herself. Once she left the production, three actresses divided up the monologues.
- Sexual Politics
- Kate Millett
- Published in 1970, Sexual Politics was the first academic take on feminist literary criticism. The book was based on Millett’s
PhDdissertation, in which she dissected the work of D. H. Lawrence, Norman Mailer, and Henry Miller, among others. Millett pointed out how the three authors wrote about women in a sexist way. The book added fuel to the second wave of feminism, which had started in the early 60s. The book was controversial, receiving national attention and a strong backlash from men.
- The Beauty Myth
- Naomi Wolf
- A nonfiction book published in 1991, The Beauty Myth was an instant best-seller and won the praise of many feminists. Of the book, Gloria Steinem wrote, “The Beauty Myth is a smart, angry, insightful book, and a clarion call to freedom. Every woman should read it.” In the book, Wolf made a case for a reevaluation of society’s current standards of beauty. She explained how women were constantly under scrutiny in these five areas: hunger, religion, sex, violence, and work.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
- Zora Neale Hurston
- Since its publication in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God has become an important work in
wome Timemagazine included the book in its list of the 100 best novels that have been published since 1923.
- The Color Purple
- Alice Walker
- Published in 1982, The Color Purple won a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The novel, set in Georgia, dealt with the lives of
African Americanwomen in the South during the 1930s. The novel won the praise of feminists becausemany of the characters breakawayfrom traditional gender roles.
- A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
- Mary Wollstonecraft
- One of the earliest feminist works, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was first published in 1792. Wollstonecraft began work on it after reading Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord’s French National Assembly report. In the report, he advised that women should only be educated in domestic matters. Wollstonecraft used the report as an example of double standards. The book was
well receivedwhen it was published. Wollstonecraft was working on a second volume when she died.
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Listening to podcast has become one of our go-to’s to gain knowledge on entrepreneurship. So when a few women reached out to us asking for podcast recommendations, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some of our favorites.
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Happy Black Woman encourages women of color to follow their dreams and do what they’re most passionate about in order to be happy. She interviews amazing women who are living their life in purpose and openly shares what inspires them to keep going.
The title of the podcast is exactly what they are “great girlfriends” speaking on topics ranging from social media envy, keys to life, love and laughter and entrepreneurship. They also interview other amazing women such as Lisa Price and Mimi G.
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