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Feminism is For Everybody

Customers often ask us which is the "best ever" feminist book or which book about feminism they should give someone new to feminism or which book they should read if they are just beginning their feminist journey. We think, as bell hooks says, "feminism is for everybody," but not every feminist book is for every person. Below is a list of our ever-evolving Charis feminist canon. This list is shaped by our personal tastes, our geographies, and our understanding of feminism as a strategy and a tool to understand and dismantle interlocking systems of oppression. This list is also primarily books which are currently accessible and on our shelves because we want you to be able to come in and pick them up today if you see something that excites you. One last caveat: this list is non-fiction and primarily on the subject of feminism. Feminists write novels and poems and books on every subject under the sun. Check out the other lists on this site to find books that we think fit the bill in those subjects. These are books more or less "about" feminism. We hope you find yourself in them and keep on searching. 

Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781138821620
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Published: Routledge - September 26th, 2014

What is feminism? In this short, accessible primer, bell hooks explores the nature of feminism and its positive promise to eliminate sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. With her characteristic clarity and directness, hooks encourages readers to see how feminism can touch and change their lives--to see that feminism is for everybody.

The Essential Feminist Reader (Modern Library Classics) Cover Image
By Estelle Freedman (Editor)
ISBN: 9780812974607
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Published: Modern Library - September 18th, 2007

Including: Susan B. Anthony Simone de Beauvoir W.E.B. Du Bois Hélène Cixous Betty Friedan Charlotte Perkins Gilman Emma Goldman Guerrilla Girls Ding Ling • Audre Lorde John Stuart Mill Christine de Pizan Adrienne Rich Margaret Sanger Huda Shaarawi • Sojourner Truth Mary Wollstonecraft Virginia Woolf

This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition: Writings by Radical Women of Color Cover Image
By Cherríe Moraga (Editor), Gloria Anzaldúa (Editor)
ISBN: 9781438454382
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Published: State University of New York Press - March 1st, 2015

Finalist for the 2015 ForeWord INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in the Anthologies Category
Bronze Medalist, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Anthologies Category

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Fourth Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9781879960855
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Published: Aunt Lute Books - June 12th, 2012

Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. LGBT Studies. Fourth Edition. Rooted in Gloria Anzald a's experience as a Chicana, a lesbian, an activist, and a writer, the essays and poems in this volume profoundly challenged, and continue to challenge, how we think about identity.

Women, Race & Class Cover Image
ISBN: 9780394713519
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Published: Vintage - February 12th, 1983

From one of our most important scholars and civil rights activist icon, a powerful study of the women’s liberation movement and the tangled knot of oppression facing Black women.

“Angela Davis is herself a woman of undeniable courage. She should be heard.”—
The New York Times

Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology Cover Image
By Barbara Smith (Editor)
ISBN: 9780813527536
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Published: Rutgers University Press - March 1st, 2000

The pioneering anthology Home Girls features writings by Black feminist and lesbian activists on topics both provocative and profound. Since its initial publication in 1983, it has become an essential text on Black women's lives and writings.

But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies Cover Image
By Hull (Editor), Patricia Bell-Scott (Editor), Barbara Smith (Editor)
ISBN: 9781558618985
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Published: Feminist Press - September 1st, 2015

Published in 1982, But Some of Us Are Brave was the first-ever Black women's studies reader and a foundational text of contemporary feminism.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches Cover Image
By Audre Lorde, Cheryl Clarke (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781580911863
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Published: Crossing Press - August 1st, 2007

Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature.

“[Lorde's] works will be important to those truly interested in growing up sensitive, intelligent, and aware.”—The New York Times 

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156028646
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Published: Mariner Books - May 17th, 2004

Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple, Alice Walker's collection of essays ranging in topics from personal to political. "Thoughtful, intelligent, resonant musings." ??—?? Kirkus Reviews

In this, her first collection of nonfiction, Alice Walker speaks out as a black woman, writer, mother, and feminist.

The Feminine Mystique Cover Image
By Betty Friedan, Gail Collins (Introduction by), Anna Quindlen (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780393346787
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 3rd, 2013

"If you’ve never read it, read it now." —Arianna Huffington, O, The Oprah Magazine

The Second Sex Cover Image
By Simone De Beauvoir, Constance Borde (Translated by), Sheila Malovany-Chevallier (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780307277787
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Published: Vintage - May 3rd, 2011

Simone de Beauvoir’s essential masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a revolutionary exploration of inequality and otherness. Unabridged in English for the first time, this long-awaited edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation.

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions: Second Edition Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780805042023
Published: Holt Paperbacks - October 15th, 1995

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions--a phenomenal success that sold nearly half a million copies since its original publication in 1983--is Gloria Steinem's most diverse and timeless collection of essays.

Introducing Feminism: A Graphic Guide Cover Image
By Cathia Jenainati, Judy Groves (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781848311213
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Published: Icon Books - September 1st, 2010

The term feminism came into English usage around the 1890s, but women's conscious struggle to resist discrimination and sexist oppression goes back much further. Introducing Feminism surveys the major developments that have affected women's lives from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Men Explain Things to Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608464661
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Published: Haymarket Books - September 1st, 2015

This slim book--seven essays, punctuated by enigmatic, haunting paintings by Ana Teresa Fernandez--hums with power and wit.--Boston Globe

The antidote to mansplaining.--The Stranger

Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions.--Salon

Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781580055611
Published: Seal Press - July 22nd, 2014

Newly revised and updated, the #1 must-read book for a new generation of feminists who refuse to accept anything less than equality and justice for all women

Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity Cover Image
ISBN: 9780822330219
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Published: Duke University Press - February 28th, 2003

Bringing together classic and new writings of the trailblazing feminist theorist Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Feminism without Borders addresses some of the most pressing and complex issues facing contemporary feminism.

Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought Cover Image
By Beverly Guy-Sheftall (Editor)
ISBN: 9781565842564
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Published: New Press - September 1st, 1995

The timeless and essential anthology of Black Feminist thought--showing that Black women have always understood the need for feminism to be intersectional

We Should All Be Feminists Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101911761
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Published: Anchor - February 3rd, 2015

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The highly acclaimed, provocative essay on feminism and sexual politics—from the award-winning author of Americanah

Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender Cover Image
ISBN: 9780988628632
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Published: Bgd Press, Inc. - May 5th, 2014

Mia McKenzie, creator of the enormously popular website Black Girl Dangerous, writes about race, queerness, class and gender in a concise, compelling voice filled at different times with humor, grief, rage, and joy.

On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393312850
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 17th, 1995

In this collection of prose writings, one of America's foremost poets and feminist theorists reflects upon themes that have shaped her life and work.

Bad Feminist: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062282712
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Published: Harper Perennial - August 5th, 2014

“Roxane Gay is so great at weaving the intimate and personal with what is most bewildering and upsetting at this moment in culture. She is always looking, always thinking, always passionate, always careful, always right there.”  — Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

Gender & Sexuality For Beginners Cover Image
By Jaimee Garbacik, Jeffrey Lewis (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781934389690
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Published: For Beginners - June 11th, 2013

What does sexual orientation mean if the very categories of gender are in question? How do we measure equality when our society's definitions of "male" and "female" leave out much of the population? There is no consensus on what a "real" man or woman is, where one's sex begins and ends, or what purpose the categories of masculine and feminine traits serve.

Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631490545
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Published: Liveright - July 27th, 2015

Reframing feminism for the twenty-first century, this bold and essential history stands up against "bland corporate manifestos" (Sarah Leonard).

Manifesta [10th Anniversary Edition]: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374532307
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 2nd, 2010

In the year 2000, girl culture was clearly ascendant. From Lilith Fair to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the WNBA, it seemed that female pride was the order of the day. Yet feminism was also at a crossroads; "girl power" feminists were obsessed with personal empowerment at the expense of politics, while political institutions such as Ms.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Dover Thrift Editions) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780486290362
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Published: Dover Publications - July 3rd, 1996

In an era of revolutions demanding greater liberties for mankind, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an ardent feminist who spoke eloquently for countless women of her time.

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684868615
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Published: Simon & Schuster - February 2nd, 2000

“Morgan has given an entire generation of Black feminists space and language to center their pleasures alongside their politics.” —Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness

“All that and then some, Chickenheads informs and educates, confronts and charms, raises the bar high by getting down low, and, to steal

The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060512187
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Published: Harper Perennial - September 24th, 2002

The bestselling classic that redefined our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity.

In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before.

The Guy's Guide to Feminism Cover Image
ISBN: 9781580053624
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Published: Seal Press - October 25th, 2011

Written by and for men, the ultimate guide to becoming a strong male ally in the 21st century

The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help Cover Image
ISBN: 9781402204012
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Published: Sourcebooks - April 1st, 2006

Praise for The Macho Paradox
"An honest, intellectually rigorous and insightful work that challenges readers to truly engage in a political discourse that can change lives, communities and nations."
--Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies Cover Image
By Finn Enke (Editor)
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ISBN: 9781439907474
Published: Temple University Press - May 4th, 2012

Lambda Literary Award for Best Book in Transgender Nonfiction, 2013

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780415389556
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Published: Routledge - May 12th, 2006

One of the most talked-about scholarly works of the past fifty years, Judith Butler's Gender Trouble is as celebrated as it is controversial.

Yell-Oh Girls!: Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780060959449
Published: Harper Perennial - July 31st, 2001

"In this fine book, Asian American girls speak up and speak out. They speak for themselves, to each other, and to the world. This honest, engaging anthology is important. It allows new voices to be heard and new stories to become part of our great American story."   — Mary Pipher, Ph.D, author of Reviving Opehlia

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679758693
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Published: Vintage - December 29th, 1998

Killing the Black Body remains a rallying cry for education, awareness, and action on extending reproductive justice to all women. It is as crucial as ever, even two decades after its original publication.

The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781626563513
Published: Berrett-Koehler Publishers - July 7th, 2015


What’s wrong with black women? Not a damned thing!

The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black-woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves.

A Room of One's Own Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156787338
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Published: Mariner Books - December 27th, 1989

“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister—a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different.

Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism (Live Girls) Cover Image
By Daisy Hernandez (Editor), Bushra Rehman (Editor), Cherrie Moraga (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9781580050678
Published: Seal Press - July 29th, 2002

This landmark anthology offers gripping portraits of American life as seen through the eyes of young women of color

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781580056229
Published: Seal Press - March 8th, 2016

In this updated second edition, biologist and trans woman Julia Serano reveals a unique perspective on femininity, masculinity, and gender identity.

Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780679745082
Published: Vintage - June 28th, 1994

A landmark collection of writings that define the intellectual and political underpinnings of contemporary feminism, from Simone de Beauvoir to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679753810
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Published: Vintage - June 28th, 1994

This essential volume brings together more than forty of the most important historical writings on feminism, covering 150 years of the struggle for women’s freedom.

Dear Sisters: Dispatches From The Women's Liberation Movement Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465017072
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Published: Basic Books - May 17th, 2001

Today's women are so comfortable in their authority that they often forget to credit the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and '70s for paving the way -- from the kitchen to the boardroom, from sexual harassment to self-defense, from cheerleading on the sidelines to playing center on the team.

Cunt (20th Anniversary Edition): A Declaration of Independence (Live Girls) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781580056649
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Published: Seal Press - March 13th, 2018

An ancient title of respect for women, the word "cunt" long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim "cunt" as a positive and powerful force in their lives.

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608468553
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Published: Haymarket Books - December 5th, 2017

If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free. --Combahee River Collective Statement

Winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction

The Crunk Feminist Collection Cover Image
By Brittney C. Cooper (Editor), Susana M. Morris (Editor), Robin M. Boylorn (Editor)
ISBN: 9781558619432
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Published: Feminist Press - January 10th, 2017

Essays on hip-hop feminism featuring relevant, real conversations about how race and gender politics intersect with pop culture and current events.

Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundation, Theory, Practice, Critique Cover Image
By Loretta Ross (Editor), Erika Derkas (Editor), Whitney Peoples (Editor)
ISBN: 9781558614376
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Published: Feminist Press - November 14th, 2017

Expanding the social justice discourse surrounding reproductive rights to include issues of environmental justice, incarceration, poverty, disability, and more, this crucial anthology explores the practical applications for activist thought migrating from the community into the academy.

Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive Cover Image
ISBN: 9780996485272
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Published: Threel Media - June 20th, 2017

Witch, Slut, Feminist: these contested identities are informing millennial women as they counter a tortuous history of misogyny with empowerment. This innovative primer highlights sexual liberation as it traces the lineage of "witch feminism" through art, film, music, fashion, literature, technology, religion, pop culture, and politics.

As timely as it is well-written, this clear-eyed collection is just what I need right now.”  —Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming