Rad Reads

We’ve gathered our *fave* feminist classics for your next read

If you're a true bookworm at heart. you've ventured into the classics section more than once before. Reading classic literature can be extremely rewarding—from the timeless life lessons in Twain's novels to the interesting examination of human character written throughout Orwell's works. When we revisit literature from the past, we gain insight into different worlds and historical perspectives. While I recommend everyone venture into the classics section whenever they can, it's hard for teen girls to really enjoy some works of the past. So many authors strictly write their stories featuring male leads and often convey themes of sexism towards women. Luckily, there are gems of budding feminist literature dating all the way back to the 1800s! Here are our *fave* feminist classics you have to add to your bookshelf!

Pride and Predijuce by Jane Austen (1813)


Place Pride and Prejudice at the top of your TBR list!  This *classic,* brought to you by the OG-feminist author, Jane Austen, is filled with romance, regality and real-time women empowerment. Pride and Prejudice follows the peculiar relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. Although her parents and society pressures Elizabeth to marry to improve her family's reputation, she denies the status quo and finds love in her own unique fashion.   Featuring an addicting enemies-to-lovers trope and the charming love interest you'll heart this classic from cover to cover. 

"Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a ration creature speaking the truth from her heart" (Austen, Pride and Prejudice).

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1869)


Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March are four sisters living with their mother in New England. Their father is away serving as a chaplain in the Civil War, and the sisters have misadventure after misadventure while growing into adults. From your typical sister brawls over clothing to heart-warming family group hugs, Alcott's Little Women explores themes of female independence and family love. And nothing says female empowerment quite like the notorious Jo March! Jo dreams of becoming a great writer and does not want to become a conventional adult woman (a true inspiration to every baby feminist out there). 

"Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts" (Alcott, Little Women).

The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)


In the mood for a darker read? The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman tells the tale of a woman hidden from society by her controlling husband. Throughout its powerful feminist themes and uniquely written narration, this short story portrays the idea that a woman's well-being, contrary to popular belief, lies in living a life she enjoys. If you are looking for a short, but page-turning feminist read, Gilman has got you covered! 

"It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight" (The Yellow Wall-Paper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman).

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)


Virginia Woolf's most famous novel, Mrs. Dalloway,  takes you through one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class Londoner married to a member of Parliament. This story of the "perfect hostess," Mrs. Dalloway, explores the role of women in the 1900s and how there is so much more to a woman's capabilities than hosting dinner parties. Woolf is known to be an outsider of 20th century London literature because of her sex, but that didn't stop her from writing some of the world's most beautifully written proses ever. Girlboss material right there. 

"He thought here beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink"(Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf). 

Orlando by Virginia Woolf (1928)


Orlando by Virginia Woolf is an amazing intersectional feminist read portraying opinions of gender from almost 100 years ago!  Throughout the life of Orlando, who was born a man and transitions into a woman, this novel challenges the 20th century's structure of gender. After Orlando's transition, they surprise the town folk with their "masculine abilities" and their brilliant mind so immensely, they refuse to believe they were a woman! It is an in-depth exploration into what it truly means to be a man and a woman and the difference between gender and biological sex. Filled with progressive themes of gender equality, this intersectional feminist classic is a must-read. 

"As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking"(Orlando, Virginia Woolf).

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath details the life of Esther Greenwood, a college student stash aspiring poet, and her struggles with her won identity and social norms. The Bell Jar explores how Greenwood resists the external pressures placed on her as a woman by becoming her own person. It's a beautifully written drama and explores female identity and how a woman must take her fate into her own hands and pursue her own fulfillment. 

“I couldn’t stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life, one pure and one not”(The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath).

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by Cara Lamina | 11/16/2021