In recent years, feminism has become a hot topic of discussion in many countries, including Indonesia. Awareness about the importance of gender equality began to be widely echoed. Both in the form of political policy to the realm of entertainment. More and more films and literature that raise feminist issues as the main topic or at least give a feminist impression by showing female characters who have thoughts and voices.
While March is still synonymous with World Women’s Day, it’s a good idea to try reading more feminism-themed literature. Like the book collection of essays below.
1. Men Explain Things to Me
As a woman, have you ever felt belittled or considered more difficult to understand something than men? This is what Rebecca Solnit later criticized in her essay collection Men Explain Things to Me.
This tendency he combines with several other essays that discuss several elements in Virginia Woolf’s work, discussions of equality in marriage, to modern violence that targets women. Everything is packaged in 130 pages, you can read when you get on a plane or train.
2. Notes to Self
Not even 200 pages, book Notes to Self by Emilie Pine is a collection of essays written from her personal experiences. He started with a story about upbringing that shaped him into the person he is today. Until the time he grew up and began to recognize some of the more complex issues such as fertility, sexual violence, and addiction to drugs.
This book is not wrapped in flowing poetic words, but rather like a diary that is completely raw and honest. Reviews from readers are quite diverse, some like it, not a few who can’t relate with Pine writing down his experiences.
3. Sister Outsider
There is the same problem when reading feminist books from Western writers who are mainly white, the issues they raise are not really relevant for people outside their community who certainly don’t have the same privileges. This was captured by the American black writer, Audre Lorde.
This book consists of 15 essays that he worked on throughout the 1970-80s. Although Indonesians and black Americans have different histories, his writings in the book are sufficient to represent many of the concerns of non-white women. If you enjoy Audre Lorde’s writings, books Hood Feminism from Mikki Kendall could be a sequel.
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4. Dear Ijeawele
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Since publishing We Should All Be Feminists, Adichie is also known as an essay writer whose work is always eagerly awaited. Throughout his career, he has never disappointed readers. One of the most impressive is Dear Ijeawele.
In this manifesto collection, Adichie actually answers a question from one of his colleagues who asked for advice on how to raise children in a feminist way. The answer is interesting and easy to apply. Not only for parents, anyone can take lessons from this essay.
5. What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About
Each child has a relationship of varying form and intensity with their parents. Some are very close, not a few are tenuous due to various factors and conditions. This book tries to explore this, but focuses on the mother figure.
There are many changes that occur when women become mothers, but rarely talk about them openly. Especially with their children, who are adults too. However, these 15 contributors tried to challenge themselves to talk about things that they had never discussed face-to-face with their respective mothers without interruption from others.
6. Our Women on the Ground
Women on the Ground is a collection of essays by 19 Middle Eastern women journalists. They try to provide an alternative perspective on feminism, which so far has been dominated by Western views.
From this book, we realize that journalism in the Middle East is actually driven by women journalists. They even have to risk their lives, but on the other hand also get some perks such as not being easily suspect when passing checkpoint in conflict areas. Open eyes and insight. Must read, really.
7. It’s Not About the Burqa
This book consists of 17 essays written by 17 different contributors. Even though they come from various backgrounds, all of them agree to try to dissect feminism from an Islamic point of view. Of course, by underlining the difference between Islam as a belief and a cultural interpretation that adheres to a patriarchal system.
The two of them often intersect and cause negative perceptions. Even in the Western world there is a lot of opinion that the hijab is a form of repression of choice and there are many other examples. This book tries to answer it with clever and interesting arguments.
Feminism is not just a women’s issue, really. The books above can be read by anyone who is curious about feminism and even needs a non-Western-centric perspective. Come on, continue to enrich your insight.
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