Politics is messy. And it seems to be getting messier as more and more women are starting to stand up and say “hey guys, let us women speak for ourselves”. Our world has been run by men for a long time. But women are standing up.
We’re letting people know that how we’ve been treated isn’t okay. That we’re no longer going to let things stay the same simply because “that’s the way it’s always been done”.
Sexism infuses so much of western society. Women and girls are applauded for our beauty, not our brains. We’re consciously and unconsciously conditioned to think ourselves weaker or dumber or less qualified. And because of this, we don’t always stand up for ourselves. We don’t always pursue the careers we want. We don’t always speak up when a male takes credit for what we’ve done. We don’t always stick up for other women when they are treated poorly.
Here are 11 books about women standing up for themselves or for each other and doing amazing things.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This YA novel is about a Texas high school and how Vivian Carter, fed up with the sexist dress code and the constant sexual harassment that girls in her school face, channels her mom’s Riot Grrl past and starts making Moxie, a zine about women’s rights. She secretly distributes it in her school and sets of a chain reaction of events in which girls band together to stand up for themselves. I read it last year and it was a definite 5-star read for me.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger (Illustrator)
This picture book tells the true stories of thirteen incredible women who stood up for what is right. Women like Helen Keller, Harriett Tubman and Oprah Winfrey, show little ones how to pursue their dreams even if there are obstacles in the way.
Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs, Sophia Foster-Dimino
While note strictly fighting for a right to vote or be heard, this little book is all about women entering male domain – in science, engineering, adventuring, and more. It’s about women standing up and showing that our brains, bodies and skills are just as powerful and valuable.
Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson, Ellen Hagan
Releasing February 12, 2019, this book is all about two teen girls who start a Women’s Rights club at their NYC school. It seems to be going well and their message is getting heard, until online trolls start spamming their posts and the principal shuts the club down.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
A princess defeats the dragon and rescues the prince. I love how this book not only has the girl as the hero, but also teaches girls not to settle. Elizabeth and Ronald are supposed to get married, but he doesn’t like that she a) saved him and b) got very dirty while doing it and no longer looks like a proper princess. So, Elizabeth stands up for herself and says, see ya later! Teaching girls they can be heroes AND that they don’t need to settle for those who don’t value them for who they are are always wins in my book.
Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker
This book is a collection of real photographs celebrating the uniqueness and strength of girls. It’s a celebration of how different girls are and how awesome they can be when they are allowed to be 100% themselves. These photos of real girls show them being strong, smart, silly, messy and that real beauty is not about size or shape or colour or clothes.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
This fat-positive book is all about dismantling society’s beauty standards. Willowdean (nicknamed Dumplin’ by her former beauty queen mother) wants to take back her confidence and enters the town beauty pageant with a group of other unlikely beauty queens and shows that thin is not the only way to be beautiful.
Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
Emmy is trying to do her bit to help with the war effort. She’s accidentally gotten a job assisting Mrs. Bird answer problem letters in a women’s magazine. So many of these women have real problems, and Emmy wants to help them. But it’s 1940 and there are a lot of ideas about how a woman should behave. Mrs. Bird refuses to answer any letters that include unpleasantness. So Emmy tries to help these women…by writing back to them under Mrs. Bird’s name. This book is one of my favourites of 2018.
What’s a Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne
Lottie is determined to stand up to sexism, so she decides to start a vlog where she calls out every bit of sexism she sees so that other people become aware of how common it (sadly) is. Unfortunately, internet trolls don’t like Lottie’s project and try to get her to stop.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What is feminism? What does the word feminist really mean? Chimamanda has adapted her TEDx talk into this little book to help us all understand what feminism looks like in the 21st century. This book is inspiring and enlightening and all about what it means to be a woman today and why we should all be feminists. I read this earlier this year and loved it. I’m gonna go reread it now.
Written by Huffington Post Executive Editor Emma Gray in response to the turmoil in the United States, this book is aimed at young American women to equip them with knowledge on how they can actively be a part of the political climate in their country. It includes practical information about how to choose good news sources and double check what you’re being told, how to talk to people with different beliefs than you, how to get involved in issues that matter to you and self care to make sure you don’t burn out. The book even includes information about various issues and invites readers to make up their own minds on where they stand.
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