Smart Thinking

Three feminist books every man should read

To celebrate International Women's Day, here are three books that should be on everyone's 2018 reading list

Words by
Amy Wakeham

It’s a popular misconception that feminist books are only for women. In reality, we can all learn from literature that tackles issues women keep facing in our society; particularly when the relationship between men and women in the workplace, or female sexuality, or #MeToo remain so contentious.

So, to mark this International Women’s Day, we thought we’d recommend some reading. These three books are new, important and meaningful conversation-starters.

Feminist booksThis Will Be My Undoing

If feminism was the watchword of 2017, then intersectionality will be 2018’s. If you’re not familiar with the term, intersectionality explores how society’s systems of power affect people from different backgrounds in different ways. Key to the conversation are the voices of black and ethnic minority women, who experience misogyny and sexism in a different way to the white middle classes.

This Will Be My Undoing, by American writer Morgan Jenkins, is a good place to start. In this sharp collection of essays, she tackles everything from black gender history to pop culture, as well as feminism, racism and her own experiences of growing up in a white, male-dominated world. She reflects on the veneer of ‘respectability’ her mother taught her to adopt in order to survive, as well as being one of the only black female students at Princeton.

It’s a searing read, illuminating the challenges that black women face and the social power structures that engender them.

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins is published by Harper Collins, £10.99

Feminist booksBroad Band

It’s common knowledge that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990, but that doesn’t mean you know the full story. Journalist and YACHT lead singer Claire L. Evans’s first book is a fascinating walk through the history of female scientists, technicians and coders who built the internet as we know it today – and you’ve probably never heard of them.

From Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, mathematician and the world’s first computer programmer (look her up – she really was), to Elizabeth ‘Jake’ Feinler, who oversaw the very first incarnation of the Internet, the women in Broad Band are as essential to the development of the digital age as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

Broad Band by Claire L. Evans is published by Penguin Random House, $27

Feminist booksBrave

Rose McGowan’s name has dominated the headlines in recent months. Her rape allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times on 5 October last year broke the Weinstein scandal. The facts remain muggy, and the case against Weinstein ongoing, but Brave is a powerful account of the challenges that many women still face today, through the eyes of an individual who’s experienced them first-hand.

From the Children of God cult that she grew up in, to the ‘cult’ of Hollywood sexism, McGowan’s memoir is a no-holds-barred retelling of the misogyny she’s faced-down over the years. It reveals how Weinstein destroyed her career and labelled her a ‘difficult woman’ after the alleged rape, as well as how she was ‘hacked, stalked and spied on’ by agents he hired while writing the book.

An eye-opening glimpse into the machinations of the movie industry, it’s angry and accusatory; a must-read direct from the forefront of the #MeToo movement.

Brave by Rose McGowan is published by HQ (Harper Collins), £20