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Recommend a feminist book

I went to the Making Media Connections conference today and learned a lot. But just before the last session started a new U of C graduate and young Latino man asked me about the Chicago Abortion Fund, asked for my card, and then read my title - Professional Feminist. "Oh...nice." He was quite amused and in a good way. He then asked what one book he should read to learn more about feminism.

I was stumped.

He said, "Just one..."

I replied, "That's like asking someone what their favorite food is and they say pizza just because it's the easiest thing!"

I ended up recommending Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. It's classic and I think still relevant. I think searched for feminism on my LibraryThing catalog on my Treo (note, pay for lifetime membership so you can add more books!). At the end of the session I added in Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice and The Handmaid's Tale. But seriously, can you pick just one book for a newbie to start with? He did mention that he had read on of bell hooks' books and I said, "Read any bell hooks."

He thanked me adding in, "Most of the feminists I know are all radical and want to put men down." Now that I think about it, I should have pointed him to the Feminism 101 blog. D'oh! Me thinks I need to keep some business cards for that site in all my bags.

So readers, if you had to pick one book - fiction or non - what would it be?


kate.d. said…
my first instinct is to say The Second Sex, because that book changed my life, but really - probably not the best all-around primer piece :) i think Backlash is a great overall look at how (western, as it is fairly US-restricted) feminism has been maligned and distorted over the last thirty years. and even though it was published in 91, most of her points are still scarily relevant today :)
Dewey said…
Why? Why? Why do they think that wanting equality means putting them down? UGH. You were very patient.

But I don't know what I'd recommend. I'd probably just blurt out the first book that entered my head.
Anonymous said…
It's difficult to come up with ONE book that does a good representation of feminism as a whole! I had to take an introductory class a few years ago in order to get a good feel for feminism as a whole. There are so many components, so many facets which is what makes it beautiful and interesting and hard to encapsulate in one read! But all the things you suggested are great!

It's frusterating when men reply with something like how feminism is anti-men, or for crazy radicals, but I think it's a good sign when they want to learn about it and when you can change their view.

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