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

Thinking, breathing

The Hill and Wood Funeral Home

Thoughts, on this first day of October:

  • What a lovely, lovely wedding, Chris and Sallie. We are so happy for you two and delighted that you will remain in our lives in town. Don’t ever leave!
  • I tried to be brave like Maddy, but I’m apparently not over my stink-bug phobia. I looked like a foolish, fretful 3-year-old while Maddy calmly and competently plucked stink bugs off my back and chair and plate all night long. She is a gem.
  • These days, when I look at Pyrrha for a moment, these words well up in me: Thank you thank you thank you.
  • Reading The Second Sex and Rebecca simultaneously is very jarring.
  • Rose and Kemp are coming to visit this weekend! On the agenda: Hiking, apple picking, solving the American political system, and in Rose’s words, “intimate woman-time.” While the boys are presumably doing man stuff, like talking about beer and comparing muscles or whatever it is that boys do when they are alone…
  • Speaking of intimate woman-time, on this day in 2008, this is where I was. Missing it (and them) now.
  • I try to be calm when I look at the calendar. I fail.

Intense woman time


Kelsey’s bachelorette weekend in the misty mountains = Lots of good, edifying conversations; lots of loving on the very sexy bride-to-be. I felt like it was really intense woman time, because it rained every day and so we were all stuck in a tiny house together, which fostered many good conversations, many gin and tonics, many viewings of many very bad movies*.

Even though I very much missed my husband and my German shepherd dog, it was very pleasant to keep the exclusive company of women for a chunk of time. Being cooped up in the cabin with 10 other women made me think of Emily’s poem about our harem, the girls’ bedroom at my parents’ house—a harem in the sense of a separate sanctum for women, not as a storehouse for one’s concubines. A separate, exclusively female space, but not A Room of One’s Own—rather, a female space intended for community, for sharing. I liked how this weekend felt like that.

I had also just started The Second Sex, which is maybe why the weekend hit me the way it did. Even amid Simone’s tangents about the implications of asexual organisms on historical feminism, I felt content, easygoing, unencumbered. How nice it is to be a lady, to keep the company of ladies.

*Vicky Cristina Barcelona excepted.

The photographer