Intersectional feminism is a buzzword phrase you’ve likely heard before, especially in the last year or two. So what is it? “Intersectionality” refers to the interconnectedness of race, gender, class, and other societal and cultural categories having to do with things like privilege and discrimination. Simply put, it’s not enough for feminism (or any social activism group) to ignore things like issues facing those who are differently abled or those of a different religion, etc. These things are all connected, and things like feminism, social justice, activism, and so forth, need to take that into consideration.
Here are some of my favorites for an intersectional feminist reading list. Of course there are more than 10 out there in the wild, but this is a good starting point. I’d love to hear your suggestions, too.
Excluded by Julia Serano
This book focuses on feminist and queer movements, and ways to make them more inclusive. Although this was published almost 5 years ago, it’s more applicable than ever now.
Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed
A smartly-written, somewhat academic examination of feminism mixed with memoir, this book examines feminist theory from the lens of everyday life. With her emphasis on feminists of color, this book is a must-add to your feminist library.
Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and China Martens
Feminism and motherhood are not at odds with each other, and this anthology centers women of color and other marginalized mothers–which is a welcome change from most books about motherhood.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Nelson is known for her intelligent, sharp, poetic writing, and in this hybrid-genre book, this is especially so. Dealing with her relationship with Harry Dodge, who is genderqueer, and Nelson’s pregnancy, the book examines feminism, family, and the body, among other themes.
A Body, Undone by Christina Crosby
Crosby, an English professor who became paralyzed at the age of 50, constructed a memoir that mixes feminist and queer theory with poetic narrative, examining her body and what it means now. Too many feminist works unwittingly erase the voices of the differently abled, and this is a much-needed book.
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Okay, this one was a selfish pick. To me, intersectionality includes religion, and for me personally, I’ve seen instances where feminists have excluded Jewish women and men. This historical novel tells the story of Masada, a haunting story of survival and sacrifice.
We Were Witches by Ariel Gore
Gore, the creator of the zine (and now website and magazine) Hip Mama, writes this novel/fictionalized memoir/manifesto about a queer woman named Ariel who is a teen mother, fighting her way through the patriarchal systems of higher education and society.
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Lorde is fantastic, and a feminist classic. A Black lesbian poet, her writing is timeless, and especially important in this day and age. This is a collection of her essays and speeches, and a good place to start if you’ve never read her work. After this, check out The Cancer Journals.
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen
If you’re a woman/identify as a woman, you have likely been told you are “too much” at some point. Too loud, too fat, too ambitious, too big – you name it. This book examines those women who refuse to fit into the box set out for them.
Hunger by Roxane Gay
This book will destroy you and then put you back together again. Gay explores her relationship to food, her body, and the world, from a lens of trauma and sexuality. She writes with brutal, unflinching honesty in this book, and though I think the word “brave” is overused most of the time, I have no reservations about calling this book brave.