Intersectional Feminism: A Starter Book List

March 21, 2017

Intersectional feminism. It’s a term that is gaining momentum in the media, especially in the wake of the Women’s March on DC. In a nutshell, it is the idea that we have to pay equal attention to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality in order to truly be feminists. All of these issues are connected. We cannot fix one if we don’t fix them all, so I have put together a reading list to up our feminism game. The aim of the game is to make our feminism more inclusive; reminding us that not all feminists are women. There are trans feminists, non-gender binary feminists, disabled feminists, queer feminists, male feminists and more. People of color and of all sexual orientations are feminists, and every issue is our responsibility if we are really going to fight the patriarchy. Of course, I couldn’t include everything, so keep reading once you’re done, especially the writings of differently abled activists.

You Can’t Touch My Hair

Why is society so fascinated with the bodies of black women? This book written by comedian and queen Phoebe Robinson is so real it hurts. She takes on racial biases, prejudices, double standards, white privilege, and sexual harassment with abandon. Phoebe (in my mind we’re BFFs now) lays out the everyday struggles of being black and a woman in America with the talent that made her podcast a force to be reckoned with.

You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism

Alida Nugent is the biracial feminist best friend you have been waiting for, if you don’t have one already. Witty and moving, this book tells the story of her journey to feminism amidst misogynistic bros and judgemental store clerks. This is the kind of book that feels like someone is writing about your life. A great reminder that intersectional feminism is for everyone not just for scholars.

Stone Butch Blues

Stone Butch Blues is a moving story of a person coming out as transgender in a blue-collar community in the 1950’s, before the Women’s Movement. This is only one part of the trans experience, but it is a great place to start. This novel is a great reminder that not all women have vaginas, not all people who have vaginas are women, and not everyone who depends on Planned Parenthood is a woman.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Education, education, education. Thanks in large part to Malala, education for girls is on everyone’s minds right now. Her memoir of a childhood in Pakistan, risking her life to get an education, will move you to tears. Her feminist father is also a beacon of light in the book. He reminds us that men need to be feminists too. I challenge you to read this and not feel empowered and hopeful. A beautiful challenge to Islamophobia and sexism.

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

I cannot think of a single person who embodies the spirit of activism more than Angela Davis. This queen has been fighting for equal rights in America and globally since the sixties. The book is a series of interviews with her about the feminist struggle, how it has to encompass all issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality in order for it to really make change. If you take anything from this, I hope it is her belief in the power of people’s movements to really change our world.

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is a poet and member of Mvskoke Nation. This book is about surviving an abusive stepfather, and growing into life as a single mother, and as a spiritual and soulful artist. Indigenous voices are often left out of mainstream feminist discussion. Joy Harjo’s memoir is a necessary reminder of their everyday resistance. This book reminds us that being empowered is something embodied in even the smallest choices.


Have you read something that you think we need to checkout? Comment below.

More about Bella Revett

Reader, writer, feminist, nerd. Bringing the sarcasm and sneakers to you since 1991. Born in Malaysia, and raised all over the USA and England, I'm enjoying life on the East Coast right now. When I'm not studying Anthropology at Smith College, I'm minoring in One Tree Hill on Netflix and cooking up some curry or cookies.