One of my long-standing "goals" is to become better read in terms of feminist literature and theory. The goal burgeoned in response to an annoyance: When I was active in Mormonism and actively commenting on Mormon feminist blogs, I frequently felt that "feminism" was being redefined and twisted to fit into the Mormon true-believing paradigm. The fit always seemed contrived to me. It just seemed strange that anyone who would happily submit themselves to a unapologetically patriarchial society could, at the same time, say they were feminist. Furthermore, whenever I asked for suggestions for reading material in feminism, the books recommended were always on Mormon feminism. And while I enjoyed reading Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism by Maxine Hanks and relished posts at The Exponent, I felt like I was missing the big picture.
Enter the Year of Feminist Classics blog.
Four book bloggers started the site as a way to jump-start conversation about classic literature in feminism. While their finalized list didn't include Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, a host of other Western-based feminist classics are being studied (many of which are available free of charge at Project Gutenburg):
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba
The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
God Dies by the Nile by Nawal Saadawi
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir - Iris
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Ain’t I a Woman? by Bell Hooks
Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism Anthology
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
I'll be reading the books for January once my Kindle arrives. I'll be posting my thoughts here, and participating in the discussion at the Year of Feminist Classics site as time permits. In addition, I've also subscribed to Ms. and Bitch magazines this year, which should make for some interesting (non-Mormon) thought-provoking feminist reading.