Women Writers 2017 Reading Challenge

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This reading challenge is pretty simple: only read books by women writers for one year. Bonus: Review it in as many places as possible – blog, Goodreads, Twitter, smoke signals, whatever gets the word out about fabulous women writers. I’ll be using #womenwriters2017 on Twitter and Instagram

What counts? Any writer who identifies as a woman.That’s it. Books co-authored by men are ok, but a woman has to be one of the authors. If it’s a collection, one of the editors should be a woman OR at least half the entries should be by women.

Find a book by a man you really want to read? Add it to your TBR and read it in 2017.

Need suggestions? Check out the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Amelia Bloomer Project, VIDA, Persephone Books, or Our Shared Shelf for inspiration.

Sign up here for the Challenge and to receive a monthly newsletter!

5 Essential Feminist Words

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feminism” by Jay Morrison is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Whether you are new to feminism or have been one for years, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around in the movement that you may not be familiar with. Here are 5 essentials:

1) Feminism is the idea that all people are equal and thus should have equal opportunities in life. Feminism seeks to identify and dismantle barriers to equality.

2) Intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s. Intersectionality is the idea that people have more than multiple identities that interact to create overlapping disadvantages.

3) Gender norms are the socially constructed ideas of how men and women should behave, dress, and interact. Those who challenge or do not adhere to gender norms can face negative consequences such as bullying, shaming, or ostracism.

4) Mansplaining is when a man explains a woman’s area of expertise to her, particularly when he is less educated about it.

5) Patriarchy is the system whereby men (usually white men) hold the power and authority. Patriarchy usually excludes or discourages women from gaining  any type of power. It interacts with gender norms to create a rigid system of behavior and roles for men and women that neither can escape easily.

Of course, these 5 terms are not an exhaustive list of feminist language. Share more below!

Feminist On Wednesdays We Smash The Patriarchy Feminism Ladies T-Shirt
Hallion Clothing on Etsy

The Challenge of Raising An Intersectional Feminist Son

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My son is a white male born into a middle-class family. He will likely be straight and cisgender. He is at peak privilege. I struggle with how to teach my son about the privilege he was born with. I want him to an intersectional feminist and an ally. Luckily, there are a lot of great resources out there to help.

Intersectional feminism is the many injustices faced by people with multiple marginalized identities. The most common example used is a Black woman, who faces discrimination based on both her race and gender. But it can include race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.

For my son, I am seeking out books and TV shows with diverse characters. Many children’s books feature animals or inanimate objects, but when the main character is human, they are generally drawn as white. When the representation of “baby” is  white, or all of the characters in a story are identified as male – even when they are animals or trains – it becomes easy to slip into the idea that white and/or male is the norm. It takes an effort to seek out intersectional representation, but it’s important.

Some great resources include:

As he gets older, I will continue to find ways to make inclusion and understanding a part of his life. Obviously, exposure to different people, cultures, and ways of thinking will be a big part of that.

I have always been a feminist, but I didn’t always have the language to express it. My early feminism was much more from a place of privilege. In the past few years, I have started learning about intersectionality. I have committed to reading more books by women and people of color. I am seeking out online intersectional spaces and listening to the conversation. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but learning to face my privilege will only it easier for me to explain it to my son. I will never be done learning, but I hope we can learn together.