With at least 123 women elected to serve in the next US Congress, we can definitely name 2018 the year of the woman. And with the ongoing Women’s Marches around the globe, the thriving international and intersectional feminist #MeToo movement, and a multitude of efforts to encourage, empower, and embolden women by women and men alike, it’s no surprise that the every day struggle women face to be heard in a society poised against their success has inspired recent literature.
Feminism is a hot topic in our current social and political climate. And whatever feminism means to you, there is no arguing the impact of this cultural phenomenon. So whether it’s to educate yourself or inform a naysayer, these three books will no doubt captivate you.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The work behind the hit Hulu show, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel set in the Republic of Gilead. Following a violent political attack which leaves the United States of America without a president, a political group with radical religious beliefs rises to power. What follows is the eradication of women’s rights and the subjugation of women as the legal property of male upper-class officials.
The decline of women’s fertility combined with the shocking limitation of basic human rights leads to the creation of “handmaids.” This government specifically tasks handmaids with forcibly producing children for those in charge. As we follow Offred through the progression of her handmaiden assignment to a ruling official, it’s difficult to imagine a dystopia where women are reduced to property. Or is it? This novel remains controversial. It’s a scary social critique regarding the operation of power and who suffers in the midst of it.
Vox by Christina Dalcher
Similarly, from the onset of Christina Dalcher’s Vox, society has eradicated women’s rights. Their voices are, quite literally, silenced. In this world, the government has fitted all women throughout the United States with bracelets programmed to shock them should they speak more than the allotted 100 words per day. That’s right: this is a world where women can’t say more than your average tweet.
One critical point Dalcher never fails to repeatedly touch on is the certain preventability of the dystopia her characters face. Did Jean, our protagonist, vote in the last election? No. Did she march? She was kind of busy. Believable or no, you can’t deny Dalcher’s heavy-handedness on the importance of civil responsibility. But is she not wrong!?
Slay In Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené
If you read one nonfiction feminist commentary this year, let it be this one. Adegoke and Uviebinené’s Slay in Your Lane, otherwise titled the “Black Girl’s Bible,” outlines the specific hardships women of colour face on a daily basis in London.
From expectations in the dating field to workplace hardships, this provocative guide both celebrates diversity and champions powerful women. It acknowledges diverse women who continue to shape the world with ambition, passion, and drive. An inspiring read, Slay in Your Lane is perfect for every true feminist – you know, the ones concerned with intersectionality.