Via Maya at Feministing.
This week’s live-blogging has been deferred until Thursday, mostly because I didn’t get it done over the weekend. In its place, I offer you a fun opportunity to name some of your favorite feminist non-fiction reads! Ms. magazine has set up a GoodReads list for the “reader’s choice” top 100 feminist non-fiction titles. You can read about the project on their blog and contribute your own suggestions over at the list.
I voted for/added five titles to the list (you can add up to 100 and I might go back and do more, but the opportunity affords such endless scope for procrastination and ranking I thought better to call it quits with a manageable number!). I picked the titles I did as a combination of genuine “this book altered my understanding of feminism/myself” and stuff I felt wasn’t yet represented on the list as a whole:
1. Julia Serano | The Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Feminism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. This was already on the list, but it was the first title I thought of when I read about the list, and it was the first title I voted for. If I had to pick a single book in the last five years that has permanently altered my understanding of feminism and my understanding of gender, this would be it. Serano was the person who finally helped me really get trans* issues and their place within feminist politics.
2. Boston Women’s Health Book Collective | Our Bodies, Ourselves. The 40th anniversary edition of this book comes out later this fall (I participated in the revision process! More to come in October …) and if I had to pick a single book that represented my adolescent exposure to feminism, OBOS would be that book. I will be forever grateful for the way OBOS offered teenage-me a positive vision of human sexuality that included queer relationships and solitary sex.
3. Heather Corinna | S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College. You can see where I’m going with this list. I’m pretty much in love with everything Corinna writes on the subject of human sexuality, and I really want to put this book in the hands of every American teenager when they reach the age of twelve. I’m pretty sure I’ve linked Corinna’s Disability Dharma essay here at Harpyness before, but that one piece captures for me what makes Corinna stand out as one of the folks who can help us re-frame our understanding of human sexual relationships for the better — if we’re open to listening.
4. Shere Hite | The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study on Female Sexuality. Okay, so it’s dated. And social science folks have issues with its methodology. But the Hite report, with its extensive first-person narratives about sexual experience (virtually the entire book is excerpts from survey responses) is an addictive read. And I credit the descriptions of orgasm in this book with finally helping me understand how sexual arousal worked and how to experience it myself (um, yeah … I have been known to over-intellectualize).
5. Lisa Diamond | Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire. Despite my resistence to identity labels, Diamond’s book came into my life at the key moment when I was struggling to understand how my desire for Hanna might fit in my previous understanding of myself as (mostly) straight in a world where bisexual invisibility persists. In the best tradition of feminist theory and practice, Diamond’s work gave me a space to trust my own understanding of myself and helped me find language to express that sense of self to others.
What five books would you vote for and/or add to the list? Share in comments and obviously cast your vote at GoodReads as well!