Since my degree and dedicating a small part of my soul to the not-so-easy-feat of writing a dissertation (something I’m sure I’ve rambled on about quite enough on these parts), I’ve had a far keener interest in exposing myself to more non-fiction, particularly around the topic of women — everything from sexuality to race, gender and so on. It’s something I’m really passionate about and, now that I’m no longer in any form of education (and haven’t been for over two years. FML.), I want to keep my mind ticking over and try and grasp onto some semblance of learning and continuing to broaden my mind.
Realistically then, I should probably be branching out beyond all things feminism. But… I quite like feeling like a woman boss reading about my people and understanding how I can do better as a woman in my position. It’s interesting stuff and I wanted to share some of the excellent books I’ve read over the last couple of years that are a great starting point for anyone either wanting to get into non-fiction or even feminism. These are the books I wish someone had shoved enthusiastically into my hands at sixteen. But I found my way and I hope you will too with these empowering, sometimes incredibly moving reads.
‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates
The sacred text every teenage girl should be clutching to her chest, I read ‘Girl Up‘ last year and felt uplifted and strengthened by my gender and the expectations we shouldn’t only expect but demand of our equals. Dissecting all the outside pressures of growing up as a woman, Laura Bates brings a hilarious flare — complete with dancing vaginas — to talking about women’s issues, representation and tackling those more taboo topics. I loved this and will be handing it over to any kids I may have in the future.
‘Doing It: Let’s Talk About Sex’ by Hannah Witton
Hannah Witton isn’t shy when it comes to talking about sex. And now she’s put all that fantastic YouTube content into an inclusive book all about the nitty gritty of sex. I think I put it best in my original review: “From orgasms to body image, sexuality to getting it on with yo’self, ‘Doing It’ covers it all, busting the myths and giving it to you straight in a completely inclusive and unabashed way that Hannah does oh so well.” This book embodies exactly what sex education in school needs to be shaped like, bringing in every walk of life, including sexuality, gender and body confidence.
‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge
It goes without saying this isn’t just a book about feminism and the representation of WOC. Reni Eddo-Lodge breaks down the systematic racism branded into Britain, from its politics and economic climate, right down to social issues on the streets. We hear a lot about the issue of race in the USA, especially in light of all the continued horrific acts of police brutality. It’s something we seem to brush off as fixed in the UK, but that’s simply not the case. If you’re a POC, you likely have to work that much harder to get anywhere in life, whilst shouldering the burden of unfair prejudices. This is essential reading for anyone who pledges to give a damn about social change and representation. It was harrowing and uncomfortable at times, but a completely and utterly necessary read.
‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies’ Curated by Scarlett Curtis
Bringing together essays, poems and book list recommendations, lots of women, many you may know and love, come together to talk about their relationships with feminism, what it’s like to be a woman and all those #GirlBoss best bits. This was such a lovely book, curated by Scarlett Curtis, that I didn’t even have the pleasure of dipping in and out of because, honestly, I just wanted to consume it all in one big slurp of strawberry milkshake. An odd analogy, yes, but apt… maybe? If I were to pick a favourite essay, it would probably be Keira Knightley’s moving and empowering account of giving birth to her daughter. That was some beautiful shit, to put it real crassly.
‘What a Time to be Alone’ by Chidera Eggerue
Beautifully mapped out and a breeze to flit through, ‘What a Time to be Alone’ is a great reminder to yourself that you’ve got this. We don’t need anyone else to feel full and whole and we can venture through all this uncharted territory just fine on our own, thank you very much. Chidera Eggerue provides sound advice when tackling all things love, friendship and the toxicity that festers in between. She also sprinkles each note of advice with Nigerian proverbs, which was an uplifting insight to another culture and a testament to her identity. Not all of it was earth shattering, completely fresh advice, but the book acted as a reminder that sometimes we really need, and in such a beautiful format with equally stunning illustrations, too.