Women Who Lead, Read

By: Ebony Taylor

Women’s Center Library, 105 Haag Hall

Since starting college, there has been little time, if at all, that I have gotten to sit down, pick up a book, and read. No distractions, no emails, no assignment deadlines, just me and the smell of printed paper.  As a book lover, I came across a list of feminist-written reads that I had to share. If you have already been introduced to the world of feminist writing, or are just getting started, this list is compiled with reads from feminist thinkers and novelists to poets and producers of feminist pornography. There is something for all. I have picked 7 books that I think I would want to pick up, but you should visit Esquire to get the entire list.  If you want even more feminist reading, don’t forget to check out our Women’s Center library, located in our office at 105 Haag Hall! 

 This collection of essays and poems are from women of color who raise awareness for issues that women continue to face. This book is said to connect with women of all ages, race, and genders.  

This witty, humorous collection of stories recounts memories from the author’s life and identity as a Native American woman.  Midge reflects on feminism, tweeting presidents, and white-bread privilege. Enjoy Midge’s urban-Indigenous identity and how it has impacted her ideas on culture, race, media, and feminism. 

Rana el Kaliouby is entrepreneur and scientist, working in the field of emotional intelligence, Emotional AI,  and cofounder and CEO of Affectiva, a start-up company spun off of MIT Media Lab. This book is a memoir that highlights the conflict between her Egyptian upbringing and her goals in life. 

This book shows how men express emotions in different stages of life, status, and ethnicity and how toxic masculinity skews men away from an important part of themselves. It discusses men’s concerns, like the fear of intimacy and their role as patriarchs in society.  

 We already know stories of magical creatures and witches, but Circe recreates the sorceress from Homer’s Odyssey in a feminist light. The overlooked character of Circe gives rise to her independence in a male-dominated world.   

A collection of writings from feminists in the adult entertainment industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates how feminists understand pornography and how they produce, direct, act in, and buy a into a large and successful business. Authors of these writings also explore pornography as a form of expression where women produce power and pleasure.  

Serano writes about her journey before and after transitioning, expressing how fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness towards femininity molds society’s view on trans women, gender and sexuality. Serano also proposes that feminists today and transgender activists must collaborate to embrace all forms of femininity.  

Stop What You’re Doing and Go Read “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler

By Danielle Lyons

Amy_Poehler_at_the_premiere_of_You_Are_Here,_Toronto_Film_Festival_2013_-aWhen one thinks of Amy Poehler, they think of her humor and sheer positive energy. This positive energy wildly popular in the internet world. Most notoriously so, is the outstanding advice she doles out. This advice, along with her life story has been compiled into one glorious collection of essays entitled, “Yes Please.” Her wise words are the kind that stick with you, due to the lighthearted approach combined with the weight of her message.

Being unsure of your self is unfortunately almost a rite of passage growing up. Whether it be from media or society; we as women are conditioned to be unsure of ourselves. In her book, she speaks of her uphill battle to gain self-confidence. In this book she describes her battle with her poor self-esteem, or “The Demon,” as she refers to it. She states:

“I was eventually okay. And you will be okay too. Here’s why. I had already made a decision early on that I would be a plain girl with tons of personality, and accepting it made everything a lot easier. If you are lucky, there is a moment in your life when you have some say as to what your currency is going to be. I decided early on it was not going to be my looks.Decide what your currency is and let go of what you don’t have.”

Instead of focusing so much energy on what she felt lacking in, she focused on what she felt sure of. And that was, her talent in performing. It’s all about finding your strength and running with it. In

Another gem in her book is her new mantra:

“Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again.”

When surfing through the media, you see countless titles about, “Celebrity Cat Fights.” Very seldom does one see an article about a women supporting each other. Not only are we conditioned from a young age to criticize ourselves, but were taught to harshly criticize other women. When you read her book, you see all of the fantastic women she surrounds herself with such as Tina Fey, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, and Retta. She celebrates every single one of them, even writing personal messages in her memoir. This outpour of support has no doubt contributed to her success in the industry. One can imagine that she gets such support back tenfold.

As little girls, were taught to be polite and be little ladies. Being a take charge kind of lady is hardly encouraged. But with the pay wage gap still a problem, women have every incentive to take charge. Amy Poehler says:

“Let me take a minute to say that I love bossy women. Some people hate the word, and I understand how “bossy” can seem like a shitty way to describe a woman with a determined point of view, but for me, a bossy woman is someone to search out and celebrate. A bossy woman is someone who cares and commits and is a natural leader”

Hollywood began as quite the boys club, and there are still remnants of that today. Her passionate nature has allowed her to take charge despite any criticisms. She’s taking the taboo of a woman in control, into a positive thing.

Amy Poehler has gained such a wealth of knowledge as she came into adulthood and journeyed through Hollywood. She shares this wealth throughout this delightfully enthralling book. It’ll grip you from the beginning and carry you through the whole thing. Amy Poehler is a positive role model that encourages women to be at their best. Her books is certainly worth the read.