15 (Intersectional) Feminist Must-Reads

by Sarah Cottrell

There has been a lot of talk about this thing called intersectional feminism. What is it, exactly? Well, in a nutshell, intersectional feminism is the radical notion that the feminist movement must be inclusive of all experiences, particularly those who are the most marginalized such as the LBGTQ community, women of color, Muslim women, and so many more. There is no progress without intersectionality. Besides, who wants to live in a world where badass women are not revered and celebrated? Not me.

In the spirit of learning and growing, let’s support these authors and their work:

1. You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent

Follow this impressively brave journey of a young Latina woman struggling to not only come into her own as a woman, but who also grows into a fierce “F-word” — you know, feminist.

2. Transgender History by Susan Stryker

Want to know about the largely unspoken history of transgender people in the United States? This amazing book chronicles the milestones, events, and writings from the mid-20th century to today and covers in impressive detail both the transsexual and the transvestite communities.

3. Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists by Sally Roesch Wagner

Ever wonder how Native American women have impacted the feminist movement? In this beautiful book, Wagner explores the social impact that the Iroquois women’s philosophy on freedom had in shaping the early American women’s struggle for equality.

4. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

With the events like Ferguson and Baton Rouge still fresh in the American conscience, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor takes a hard and close look at how the black communities in America are pushing back against police violence and through that emerging as a new powerful generation of black liberation activists.

5. Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World by Laura Barcella

Want to learn more about modern feminists, but don’t know where to start? This book is a great choice as it covers 50 fierce AF female activists all fighting for equality.

6. Stone Butch Blues: A Novel by Leslie Feinberg

Hailed by many feminists as one of the most important books that give life and understanding to the treatment of transgender people in the United States, Stone Butch Blues follows the courageous story of how the author “learns to accept the complexities of being a transgendered person in a world demanding simple explanations.”

7. Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk by Melinda Chateauvert

This daring and amazing book details the efforts of prostitutes, hustlers, escorts, call girls, strippers, and porn stars to gain legal protections and rights through sex-worker activism over the past five decades.

8. This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa

This anthology powerfully chronicles the fight for equality by women of color feminist activists during the last quarter of the 20th century through poetry, art, interviews, essays, and more. This is an excellent primer to get a handle on what inclusive feminism could look like.

9. The Face Behind The Veil: The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America by Donna Gehrke-White

With all of the Islamophobia in the media, this book might be one of the best avenues toward finding compassion and understanding for what Muslim women go through. A powerful read if you want to learn more about the faith and identity of Muslim women in the United States.

10. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The absolutely astounding story of one Iranian girl growing up in Tehran then being forced to flee for her life and seek refuge in a Western country. Sound familiar? I would be absolutely dumbfounded if any reader could come away from this book without finding at least 10 similarities between the girl in this book and the average American kid.

11. Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire by Sonia Shah

For a truly in-depth and powerful look at what discrimination looks like for Asian American women, look no further than this brilliant book filled with essays and interviews by prominent Asian female activists.

12. Jewish Feminists: Complex Identities and Activist Lives by Dina Pinsky

This highly critical book examines the ways in which second-wave Jewish feminist women view themselves, the world, and how they are different from others. In a time when anti-semitic vandalism and threats are making the news damn near every day, it is more important than ever to understand the experience of Jewish feminists.

13. Whisper Writing: Teenage Girls Talk About Ableism and Sexism in School by Melissa M. Jones

The concept of ableism is often missing in national conversations on intersectional feminism. In this collection of stories by three young minority women with disabilities, readers can learn what the impact of a male-dominated school culture.

14. The Feminist Activity Book by Gemma Correll

Sometimes you gotta have a laugh, amirite? This book hilariously takes down gender-based stereotypes, while teaching teens about what feminism is and how to be an activist. This is a great way to start the conversation about feminism with young people.

15. Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive by Julia Serano

In this eye-opening read, an emphasis is placed heavily on pulling apart the ways in which exclusion within the feminist movement hurts everyone. The book’s description reads: “As a trans woman, bisexual, and femme activist, Julia Serano has spent much of the last ten years challenging various forms of exclusion within feminist and queer/LGBTQ movements.”

While there is no doubt that a mountain of scholarly writing exists to describe every nook and cranny of intersectional feminism, the truth is that as women, as people united under the concept of inclusiveness and equality, we need to pay better attention to the lived experiences of our peers. We need to listen to the experiences of women of color, women of different abilities, and women in the LGBTQ community in order to make true, lasting progress.

Editors may receive samples and/or a share from purchases made via links on this page.