Most years I set resolutions. They are of the same calibre every year: go to the gym three times a week, drink more water, eat less junk food, stay in touch with family and friends. Each year I achieve some but let most slip away. This year however I have decided to set only one resolution: read and write more. It may seem like two resolutions, but they are so intertwined that to split them is impossible. I am also going to refine this resolution – make it more narrow, tangible and hopefully achievable. I am going to spend this year reading and writing about feminism. I will read one feminist book a month from January 2013 to November 2013. I will save December 2013 for review and reflection.
Why now? I think it is because I am tired. I am tired of coming up against sexism and patriarchy. I am tired of meeting women who “don’t consider themselves feminists”. I am tired of hearing female politicians denounce feminism. I am tired of gaslighting and mansplaining. I think the solution to feeling tired is to find strength. I want to read about feminism so that I have a history to draw on when I am told that I am being “overly sensitive”, that I “must get over it” or that I “don’t have a sense of humour”. The women whose books I will read will give me both support and ammunition.
Which books? To prepare for the year ahead I Googled “top ten feminist books”. There were quite a few lists but none of them felt right. They listed books and women I had never heard of. I need to start somewhere familiar. I need a launching pad that I feel comfortable with. My mother has provided me with this. When I was growing up she was constantly reading feminist literature. As a teenager I would grab one of her books and open it randomly. It always felt quite illicit. I would read a few paragraphs about the word ‘slut’ then open another page and read about the history of contraceptive. So when it came time to choose my first four books for 2013 I went back to my mother’s collection. She helped me choose these books and helped me start this journey.
January – The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
February – The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedman
March – The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
April – Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf
Why only four books? I am sure that once I start the year I will discover books that I want to read. These four will just get the ball rolling. I also want to be open to suggestions throughout the year.
I am giving myself a head start on my first book, The Second Sex. Clocking in at over 700 pages I want to make sure that I finish it before the end of January. I will also be tweeting as I read. You can follow me at @kateomega.