In the current climate of increased activism and political stress by so many, there are a few important things to remember.
- It can be changed
- I know that it can be changed because it has changed before
- It doesn’t take long to normalize the changes that I have benefited from
- Things I have benefited from may negatively impact someone else
- People work every day to make it change, for better or worse for me
- I can be a part of the change
- I can do more than I am doing
- But I can’t do everything and really need to watch how much I attempt because I can burn out too
Some of these things I learned from Hope in the Dark not that long ago. I hadn’t really taken into account how much I do normalize the changes that have taken place in just my lifetime or slightly before it and that this helps me feel like we are getting nowhere. But a lot has changed. Women are being integrated into all jobs of the military when we were barred just 4 years ago from many jobs. I even saw an article a few days ago that said the Boy Scouts will start taking in FTM trans kids.
A part of the problem here is that there are so many women’s issues because we are half the population and every culture has different social rules for us to follow that we are rebelling against. For some it is female genital mutilation and child marriage, for others its access to birth control. Women’s issues are a wide umbrella under which we try to cram a lot of things. Fortunately, there are also lots of books that cover lots of women’s issues. Yes, yes, I love a good feminist book that covers a little about a range of issues and a smaller umbrella of things that effect women’s lives, but there are also issue specific books. Books that explain exactly what’s going on with just one thing and it’s whole history.
I haven’t read many of these, mostly I’ve been reading books that cover different ranges of things, but there have been some that cover just one issue, the fight and/or the victory. Here are links to the Goodreads book pages of some I enjoyed:
Our own spaces
- A Room of One’s Own by Virgnia Woolf – yes, there was a time when just having peace and quiet could be considered a women’s issue. It’s about how this helps think and therefore contribute to the greater world which we now do.
- All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister – furthering the idea of women having their own spaces but moves through many forms of being single in the US and many reasons for it.
- Reimagining Equality by Anita Hill – women have had a different experience trying to find home and are targeted in different ways in the home-buying community. This book does also get into home finding problems in other groups, but I felt like it focused on women’s issues with it on the most part.
- The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan – women can contribute to the world and the family the way men do and that we totally should. And we do now.
- Gender, Work, and Economy by Heidi Gottfried – women’s issues at work in the US. The issues are given collectively and then broken down into those things the further inhibit black women and the Hispanic women.
- The Abramson Effect by Deborah Spar – the tendency to give failing departments/divisions/whatever for women to run so that they can be blamed as bad leaders when there is a problem or they fail rather than the problem be any number of other things.
Within Faith Communities
- I Suffer Not a Woman by Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger – this and the next few books are about women being blocked from sharing our gifts and do more work within the Christian community.
- Let My People Go by Bob Edwards
- Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
- Junia Is Not Alone by Scot McKnight – similar to those above but mainly serves to highlight and recognize the work of women in the Bible, to give voice to their accomplishments.
- Women of the Wall by Phillis Chesler – there are more contributors, but the book is about Jewish women who are still working to be able to have equal recognition in their faith community.
- Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin – while this book talks about issues for the whole LGBT+ spectrum, it’s the same issue for all and that includes women. It’s about faith communities fully accepting all genders and all people and what they can do for it.
Involvement in movements
- At the Dark End of the Street by Danielle McGuire – women’s involvement and side of the Civil Right’s Movement. We don’t live single issue lives so our involvement in other movements are issues for us, especially when women’s work is not being acknowledged.
- Whipping Girl by Julia Serano – mostly run of the mill sexism, but specifically that sexism that is against the ideas of femininity rather than at women because it’s still okay to find feminine traits as weak, just not women. Not sure how that works but it I read it and it was SO true.
- The Unfinished Revolution by Kathleen Gerson – we’ve come out of the expectation to stay just in the house but somehow haven’t shed sole responsibility for it. This book covers women’s issues in family responsibilities.
- The Birth of the Pill by Jonathon Eig – I had no idea what a different it made, this one of those issues that is totally normal now but had changed everything.
- Asking For It by Kate Harding – rape
- Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit – silencing behavior from simple interruptions to rape.
Yep, there are plenty of issues that I haven’t read on, but some are included in compilations so they aren’t recognized here, like women’s issues in Middle Eastern countries are varied and I have some books on those varieties but nothing that is specifically education or child marriage; but those books do include issues within the Muslim faith community. Also, Half the Sky isn’t mentioned because it may focus on issues of poverty, it doesn’t do it in a way that makes poverty a single issue. I hope that makes sense.
Some issues that I intend to improve my knowledge of through single-issue books:
- the pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy
- abortion itself
- issues that Muslim women do or do not have within their faith communities
- child marriage
- improving girls education around the world
I may end up with books on several issues or that focus on one of these at a time, I’m not sure yet. I’ll know the book when I come across it. Any suggestions?
Have you read any books that are good for learning about women’s issues, singularly or in a compilation?