“I am a woman.” “Resignedness is only abdication and flight, there is no other way out for woman than to work for her liberation.” (639)
So i read and read and the more i read, the more i get angry. Ok, ok, i am angry naturally, is just a gift that i have – some would say – but getting more acquainted with this particular topic makes me understand the struggle and incredible journey of being a woman, and how fortunate i feel to be here today having the right to work, to drive a car, to go unaccompanied in the streets, to be financially independent, to choose where i want to live, to dress how i want to dress, to express my opinions freely, to vote (yes, to vote!), to be able to travel, to write – yes to have an education, to have a voice, to respond back if i feel necessary, to have a choice about who i am.
Not only that i consider it my duty as a woman to understand feminism, but the current social-economic context requires it. Also, i love it when people get upset when i use the word “feminist”. There it is, i said it again, i wonder how many “friends” i will lose this time. Last time i dared to share an opinion on this topic a so called friend called me uneducated.
So, for the sake of the debate, there it is a list with only a few books that may shed light on the topic that i dived in lately.
Feel free to recommend more and dare to contradict me, bring your arguments and let us debate. These are some of the ones that i mostly resonate with and are not only a feminist manifesto but display, equally, amazing life stories. Stories of struggle and love and power and finally, resurrection and triumph over any sort of oppression.
- Educated by Tara Westover
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The Chronology of Water by Yuknavitch Lidia
- Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Massie K. Robert
- The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover wrote the story of her life in such a powerful way that i often find myself thinking about her story. She was born in Idaho, USA and now she is living in the UK. Her was father opposed to public education so, as a young girl, she was not allowed to attend school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. lacking a formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far, if there was still a way home. (Credits https://tarawestover.com/book)
The Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood wrote more than a feminist manifesto. Her story of Offred, a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead reminds me of George Orwell’s “1984” or Aldous Huxley’s “Brave new world” except(!) is written from a women’s perspective. The dystopian story is horrifying and all together convincing, and from a certain (historical) perspective not so far from realities endured by women over time.
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
Lidia Yuknavitch writes her memoir with a fervour and rawness that will touch you to the bone, especially, if you have struggled with depression and/or addiction and loss.
It is a life that navigates, and transcends, abuse, addiction, self-destruction and the crushing loss of a stillborn child. It is the life of a misfit, one that forges a fierce and untrodden path to creativity and comes together in the shape of love. Credits https://canongate.co.uk/books/2479-the-chronology-of-water/
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Before reading this book i knew nothing about Catherine the Great. Now, after finishing, i find it mind boggling and incredibly resilient and powerful at the time (and not only).
“She sat on the throne of Peter the Great and ruled an empire, the largest on earth. Her signature, inscribed on a decree, was law and, if she chose, could mean life or death for any one of her twenty million subjects. She was intelligent, well-read, and a shrewd judge of character. During the coup, she had shown determination and courage; once on the throne, she displayed an open mind, willingness to forgive, and a political morality founded on rationality and practical efficiency. She softened imperial presence with a sense of humour and a quick tongue; indeed, with Catherine more than any other monarch of her day, there was always a wide latitude for humour. There was also a line not to be crossed, even by close friends.”
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
Do i even need to present you Simone de Beauvoir? I do not pretend that i can, I mean this book is called “the feminist bible”, so all i can say is: check this book! And, she was an existentialist philosopher too.
Beauvoir was a pioneer and she remains as valid today as it was back then, i hope that will continue to inspire future generations of women. Reading De Beauvoir has reminded me of my privileged situation compared to the atrocious abuse inflicted upon women, victims of religious fundamentalism or totalitarian governments in most countries of the world: cases of rape, physical and psychological maltreatment saturate the media, disturbing facts that back up De Beauvoir’s theory that being feminine is neither essence or destiny but an artificial construction of the cultural, societal and historical requirements of time and place.