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August Recommendations — Feminism


In her book Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression, bell hooks says that feminism is a thing you do (“I support feminist action”), and not a thing that you are (“I am a feminist”). This idea asks us to think: if feminism is action and not identity, how do the social structures in which we live impact our lives? What things can we do to make a better future, and what concrete actions can help us get closer to that future? 

On 5 September, we are thrilled to host Angela Saini in conversation with neuroscientist Vidita Vaidya, who will explore  some of these questions. Angela Saini, author of the books Inferior and Superior, writes about sexism, biases and prejudices that inform science today. Her work looks towards a future that can outgrow these biases and move beyond them. 

Join us at the discussion, and pick up your copy of Inferior from our store. 

To complement Inferior, we’ve put together a collection of feminist writing that explore the intersection of feminism with race, caste, and class. In this list are memoirs, ethnography, biography and poetry. 

We hope you will enjoy reading these books. Find them on our online store.


Ten Women Who Changed Science, And The World by Catherine Whitlock and Rhodri Evans

Here, Whitlock and Evans tell the stories of ten women and their decisive impact on science and research. These are mini-biographies that tell us of the many contributions and legacies of women whose work was overlooked or ignored, sometimes entirely forgotten. They worked on questions about our understanding of the universe, our natural surroundings, and our bodies. Their work fundamentally impacted how we live today.

Never Marry A Woman With Big Feet by Mineke Schipper

“The Sena tribe in Malawi and Mozambique have a proverb: ‘Never marry a wife with bigger feet than your own.’ The Chinese have an astonishingly similar message. And in Telugu, too, prospective husbands are warned away from women with long feet.” This book explores representation of women in proverbs across cultures. Dutch author Mineke Schipper looks at proverbs from more than 200 languages across the globe, focusing on how our ideas of women’s bodies, societal roles, and ideas of equality and femininity vary across cultures and time, and how they are also very much similar. 

Spotted Goddesses: Dalit Women's Agency-Narratives on Caste and Gender Violence by Roja Singh

An interdisciplinary exploration of Dalit women’s activism in Tamil Nadu, this book combines personal memoir and reports of other Dalit women’s experiences in Tamil Nadu. Roja Singh speaks of her own experience and documents oral and written narratives to explore Dalit women’s activism, its strategies, and its modes of resistance against oppressive Brahmanical patriarchy. 

Single By Choice edited by Kalpana Sharma

What does it mean to be an unmarried woman in a culture that places importance on marriage and motherhood above anything else? This is an anthology of thirteen essays by happily unmarried women who recount their personal resistances to the norm. The stories are funny and poignant and confessional, and each writer explores their ideas of singledom and alternate communities of support. Do read this blog by our former intern, Chinmay, who wrote about what he loved best about our launch event of this book!

Feminist Rani edited by Meghna Pant and Shaili Chopra

In the introduction to this book, Shaili Chopra writes: “Feminism isn’t just a poster on the wall, it is an unseen, empowering belief and force.” This book includes essays from fourteen influential Indians who explore their interpretations of feminism in the twenty-first century. The writers explore questions of gender equality and its intersections in their own lives. They destabilise the idea of a “singular” definition of feminism. 

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

In this collection, the lucid and thoughtful Rebecca Solnit writes on twenty-first century feminism. She writes about the ways in which current social structures in America — where she is from — impact all of us: women, men, children, and people who challenge the idea of the gender binary. Read her thoughts about Virginia Woolf, Lolita, misogynistic jokes, and the masculinity of the literary canon. 

Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis

This is a history of American feminism, exploring the rights of women, and the demand for these rights, from abolitionist days to 1980. Davis points out the inherent racism and classicism in these feminist movements, which were primarily pioneered by white, upper-class women. This is seminal intersectional feminist text that resonates even today. 

Girls Are Coming Out Of The Woods by Tishani Doshi

In the eponymous poem of the collection, Tishani Doshi writes: “Girls are coming/ out of the woods, clearing the ground/ to scatter their stories.” Doshi collects these stories, and her own, and presents them to us with lucidity and command over language. This collection of poems explores the personal and the political. The poems dwell on nostalgia, on childhood, on Doshi’s own life in Madras; they also probe questions of memory, of violence, and of grief. This is her third collection of poetry. Watch her perform a dance/poetry recital of “Girls Are Coming Out Of The Woods.” Find her debut collection of poetry here too!

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