Intersectional feminism is a term that society needs to become more familiar with. “Isn’t it just feminism?”, you might ask. Actually, it isn’t. Intersectional feminism looks at the intersections between systems of oppression. It studies the privileges around gender, race, ethnicity, class, disability, sexuality and religion.
Here in the UK, White Feminism is deeply problematic. There is a disregard for all women and white cis-gendered heterosexual women are stereotypically centralised when discussing feminism when in fact, there should be a focus on all women. It is an issue that needs to be confronted as a society so that we are all knowledgeable of the added pressures that many women experience, who are not just white women.
So here is a list of books that are a great place to start and will help you learn about the importance of intersectional feminism:
This collection of feminist essays curated by Scarlett Curtis is a good starter book if you are wanting to build your knowledge on feminism. From a group of empowering women, these essays are an exploration of what feminism means to them. It can help you identify your own understanding of feminism and that in reality, there is no ‘right’ way of being a feminist. It takes you on a journey of women’s individual experiences when it comes to the patriarchy and misogyny, and what they have done to deal with this, whilst reflecting on the valued lessons they have taken from these experiences. It helps you understand that a main aspect of feminism is simply believing in equality and wanting it to become a societal norm. Although this doesn’t cover intersectional feminism in great detail, this is the perfect book for you to start before you go into greater depth of the fundamentals of intersectionality.
Written by an American academic, Angela Davis, this book analyses Marxist Feminism in race, gender and class. It informs readers on the history of women that many of us have not been educated on and that has only been sporadically mentioned in society. Davis covers significant topics such as the positions of Black women during the slave trade. She tells her readers that Black women were at the centre of the slave community as they had the difficult task to keep their community alive, as well as the intense oppression they experienced from white men. It is overwhelmingly sad to read, but one of the most eye-opening books you can get your hands on. It goes into great detail about the oppression that lingers in Black women’s lives and still does today.
The inspiration for this book came from a moment when Mariam Khan heard David Cameron say that all Muslim women are ‘traditionally submissive’. Eager to prove society wrong of the stereotypical judgement of Muslim women having no individuality or freedom, Khan curated this collection of essays from Muslim women discussing feminism in the Muslim community. There are discussions surrounding the dominance of White Feminism in the West and how there is a disregard of intersectionality. Other topics that are discussed are representation, modesty, queer identities in the Muslim community, male domination and much more. This is a book that should have been published years ago. Living in a Western world, it is easy to become caught up in ‘White Feminism’ as it is plastered in our faces. However, this book helps readers educate themselves on women in Muslim communities and the challenges they have faced.
These three books are my go-to feminist books. They have taught me a lot about intersectional feminism and how society needs to be more vigilant of all women, not just the selected few. More feminist books you should check out are:
What a Time to Be Alone by Chidera Eggurue
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists Forget by Mikki Kendall
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