Open Thread: Top 5 Introductory Texts

Reader A suggested:

I was also interested in book suggestions, but I think that the LibraryThing might be a little too involved (the interface looked a little confusing to me). I think what would be nice would be either a simple, concise list of the five to ten most influential books or essays, or a multi-part series of lists that sort of define the three waves. I don’t know, though, since there are so many different kinds of feminism, can most people agree on what those writings are? If not, perhaps there could be an open thread for people to comment with their top five recommended (introductory!) books or essays.

There’s a lot of good ideas there, but time demands that here and now FF101 goes with an open thread of top 5 recommended books/essays. A short line or two as to why the recommendation would be good, and would allow later commentors to still recommend the same book but for a different reason/emphasis.

If anyone wants to write up some more detailed book lists as per A’s comment, or knows where such a thing might already exist, please leave a link to that in comments too.


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6 comments on “Open Thread: Top 5 Introductory Texts

  1. Here’s the link to the original comments thread over at FF101.v1

    Edited recommendations comments below:

    Amanda Marcotte: (permalink)
    The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.
    Backlash by Susan Faludi.
    No More Nice Girls by Ellen Willis
    Feminist Theory by bell hooks
    Manifesta by Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner

    I tend to rate history high on the need-to-know list with feminism, so:

    When Abortion Was A Crime by Leslie Reagan
    For Her Own Good by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English
    Pregnancy and Power by Rickie Solinger

    And there’s more novels and poetry than you can shake a stick at.
    jeffliveshere (permalink)

    In the spirit of bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress, I would suggest getting something that seems interesting to whomever is going to be doing some learning–BitchFest has a lot of interesting articles, from over the past 10 years, for instance. Anthologies can be all over the place, of course, but they also often quote others in such a way that one can map one’s own road into feminism.

    That said, I think that a lot of people could do a lot worse than starting with bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody and moving in whichever directions from there.
    Heart (permalink)

    The Creation of Patriarchy and The Creation of Feminist Consciousness, by Gerda Lerner

    Feminism Unmodified, by Catharine A. MacKinnon

    Gyn/Ecology by Mary Daly

    Beyond Power: Of Men, Women and Morals by Marilyn French

    Right Wing Women by Andrea Dworkin

    And some links I found recently:

    A bibliography and link-list from Ginmar on basics of feminist reading. [link]

    Links to reading lists at Second Wave and Beyond: Teaching and Research Resources

    Carol Hanisch’s “The Personal is Political” essay with recent introduction added [link]

  2. A Special Report in the Guardian:

    ‘I kept her book by my bed for 18 years’

    Last week, we asked readers to tell us which books opened their eyes to the women’s movement. The response was overwhelming … here are just a few of your letters

  3. A duplicate of a comment I just made in another thread, as I think it’s relevant to several posts/topics here.

    A good thread over at Metafilter asking what resources are good for people looking to know more about feminism.

    Quite a few blogs mentioned and lots of books recommended.

  4. For those of you interested in history, do not forget “A History of Their Own” Vols. 1 & 2 by Bonnie Anderson and Judith Zinsser. Coupled with “The Second Sex”, traces the experiences of women in Europe and globally throughout history. Also, should mention “The Feminine Mystique” – some aspects still hold very true today, especially as more women give up the workforce and choose to stay at home with children.

  5. Hi, I hope people here don’t mind requests as well as suggestions for reading matter. Anyone have anything to recommend (including stuff like academic journal articles) on feminism and “the family” especially from a UK/European rather than North American perspective?

  6. While I have not yet finished the whole book, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz is fast on the way to becoming my Bible. As the title suggests, the book is dedicated to debunking the more resiliant myths of how it was “back then”. While it does not focus totally on anti-feminist canards, a good chunk of the book does tackle myths about the connection between modern, more equal divorce laws and poverty; day cares; and similar myths.

    There is a bit of a liberal take on some topics. This is not intended as a warning, because I hope conservatives read it too, but to simply point out that liberalism and feminism do not automatically coincide.

    It’s the perfect book to pull out when some MRA starts throwing suspicious numbers at you.

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