Friday 29 March 2024

5 Great Introductory Books to Intersectional Feminism

Feminism is a big topic. There’s so much more to it than ‘women should be equal to men’. That’s simply because inequality and injustice manifests in a huge variety of different ways. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years reading, researching, and listening to feminists from all kinds of different backgrounds sharing what feminism means to them or what it should be. To make it easier for you to know where to start, I’ve picked out some of the books that have had the biggest impact on my feminist journey and that I think help you understand the key tenets of intersectional feminism. I would love to hear about more texts I may not have included and may not have read! Our feminist learning journey is never over.

Each of these texts should also be available as audiobooks. If you don’t know about it already, you can borrow audiobooks through your local library service (in the UK) using the app BorrowBox. Support your local libraries and learn more about feminism for free?! Pretty great. 

1. Feminism, Interrupted by Lola Olufemi

I have talked about this book so much already, but I will never shut up about it because frankly I need everyone to read it. When it was first published in 2020, a friend and I have a joke that we should be paid for doing publicity for Feminism, Interrupted as we were talking about it all the time. But there’s a reason for that. 
In Feminism, Interrupted Lola Olufemi expertly challenges the narratives of mainstream feminism and reveals how much these narratives are reliant on capitalism and white supremacy. Once you’ve read Feminism, Interrupted you can’t see the state the same ever again. This book is short – only 145 pages – but contains so much and is so easy to read. Lola does not use over-complicated or academic language, simply discussing a range of feminist issues in plain language. And she provides a brilliant resource list at the end to continue your learning too.  

2. Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Davis

Another short one, Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Davis may be slim but it is mighty. Published in 2003, some of its stats may be outdated but the principles and analysis still very much the same and are still astonishingly relevant. In this book, Angela Davis expertly breaks down the oppressive prison-industrial complex and how the prison system functions as an arm of white supremacy and patriarchy. Quite frankly all of Angela’s work could have been included on this list. She brilliantly connects so many issues together in all her work – from the prison system and police brutality to feminism and Palestinian liberation. I continue to learn so much from Angela Davis.  

The copy of Are Prisons Obsolete? I read was a library book. So here's a picture of another of Davis' books! I recommend them all. 

3.  Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

I remember reading this while doing my A Levels, aged 17 or 18. bell hooks became a huge part of my early formation as a feminist, and I am ever thankful for her presence on this earth and her work. hooks sets forward a feminism that is accessible to all regardless of gender, sexuality or race – something that seems basic but is rarely a reality. She highlights that there is no love without justice and that both love and justice should be the founding principles of any kind of effective feminism. As feminism is for everybody, hooks is for everybody. 

4. “No Offence But…” by Gina Martin and others

The most recent [publication on this list. Gina Martin has been a powerful gender equality campaigner for years, and I know I have certainly seen her as someone who sets a great example as a campaigner who is willing to admit their mistakes, learn and grow.  Gina is best known for her campaign to criminalise upskirting – the act of secretly photographing underneath someone’s clothes without their permission. This campaign was successful, but Gina has since moved away from legal campaigns and focusing on cultural changes. 
In “No Offence But…” Gina tackles common sayings or rebukes to certain issues – such as “not all men”, “boys will be boys”, and “I don’t do politics” – and invites an incredible group of guest writers to look at other phrases such as “men aren’t doing anything to help feminism”, “I don’t see colour” and “we need fast fashion for poor people”. This book picks apart so many issues so brilliantly and equips us as readers to effectively challenge them in real life. 

5. The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye

Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue is the fundamental text to understanding trans rights as they currently stand in the UK. It should be required reading. Attacks on trans rights is a crisis we as feminist should not ignore and should challenge those who attack trans people in the name of feminism or women’s ‘safety’. As a cis woman, I have never felt threatened by trans people. I have, however, felt threatened by those who attempt to define me by my reproductive capabilities or my biology (something feminist movements have previously fought against) and by male violence. None of these things have anything to do with trans people or their place in society. 
Shon Faye has done her research. She has so much evidence and so many horrifying stats that any reader cannot deny the danger trans people are placed under every day in the UK. This book makes me angry but it also makes me motivated. I hope it motivates you too. 


I have so many ideas for blog posts I would love to share with you and I hope to post more regularly in 2024. To help me have more time to spend on this blog, it would be amazing if you could buy me a cuppa or two to keep me going! It would mean the world to have your support and would also help keep my cat warm. 

If you liked this post you might like: Book Review: Burnt - Fighting for Climate Justice by Chris Saltmarsh

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