Books for people who believe that women and men are equal

I’m feeling weighed down lately by how deeply and fervently this country of mine hates women. So. Here are some important books I’ve enjoyed, which you should read if you think that women are human and should be treated accordingly.

The Second Sex

  • The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
  • My Life, a Loaded Gun: Female Creativity and Feminist Politics, Paula Bennett
  • Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, Cordelia Fine
  • The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
  • Half the Sky, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn
  • On Lies, Secrets, and Silence, Adrienne Rich
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
  • A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own

More than biology

I just processed a submission to our academic journal from a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. He used Wikipedia as a source. Come on, dude. Do you want people to take you seriously? Or maybe he’s not entirely to blame. Maybe one of his students wrote it and he isn’t a careful proofreader… Either way. Ha-larious.

Guion read his work last night at the weekly MFA reading series that happens at The Bridge. He was a great hit, of course. I was very proud. Whenever I hear him read his work, I am reminded all over again what a truly gifted writer he is. It’s a nice phenomenon. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

In other news, I can’t WAIT to go home for Thanksgiving! I miss my family so much. This sprawling family-wide e-mail chain that we’ve got going is only compounding my homesickness.

The Feminine Mystique is good, but it’s not exactly exciting to read. I think it would have really rocked my world–as it rocked everyone’s world–in 1963, but in 2010, so many of these observations aren’t true anymore. One critical one being that women now outpace men in receiving both bachelor’s and doctorate degrees. This also means that the problem of women forcing themselves to get married and make babies as soon as possible–thereby forfeiting their intelligence and their identities in the cult of sacred motherhood–is no longer much of an issue anymore. Women get jobs now. They still don’t earn as much as men for the same positions, but they are working. So, there’s that, which is something I’m sure Friedan, were she still alive, would find encouraging.

I think the main thing I’ve learned from The Feminine Mystique is a point that is very subtly laid beneath the text by Friedan. Essentially, it’s this: Women count as human beings, and they count as far more than their mere biological, reproductive capacity. I reject the notion that is especially popular among Christians, that a woman should bear and raise children and do nothing more. Men are allowed to exist and function in the world beyond their mere reproductive function. Why can’t women?