Let’s talk about books, better yet let’s talk about voices.
To be perfectly honest with you I still don’t openly call myself a feminist, because I can’t seem to privately call myself one without feeling a bit of unrest. In order to pinpoint the reason for this unrest and try to see if I can overcome it, I’ve decided to search out voices within the world of Feminism that would resonate with me.
As a young educated, black woman, a self-proclaimed Electric Lady, (we’ll get into what that is at a later date, don’t worry, but for a frame of reference listen to our good sis, Janelle Monae’s Electric Lady), I want to share the voices of these women.
So, if you’re unfamiliar, here are 5 books, cultivated by 5 amazing women, expressing their love, sadness, joy, and rage, oh so eloquently.
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim
From a t-shirt to a blossoming community and club which allowed readers and black women writers to support and admire each other. Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim is a collection of Black women writers discovering themselves and boldy letting the world know. It’s an anthology of Black women who will be the voices young black girls will resonate with when exposed to literature. Glory Edim proclaims a Well-Read Black Girl is “..a call to action for Black women to freely define their own narratives on their own terms.” Included in this book are authors such as Roxane Gay, Zadie Smith, Gabourey Sidibe, Jesmyn Ward, and many more.
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa Harris-Perry
Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen dives into the complex world of a black women’s “human identity and national identity”. The stereotypes put upon black women analyzed in this book attempts to help the readers try and understand the continuous struggle of gaining recognition as a citizen in this nation. Sister Citizen attempts to “…understand the black women’s politics, by exploring their often unspoken experiences of hurt,rejection, faith, and search for identity.” From Melissa Harris-Perry herself, the goal of this book is exploration.
Knowing What We Know: An African-American Women’s Experience of Violence and Violation by Gail Garfield
In this raw, revealing book Gail Garfield takes the experiences of nine African-American women to reflect on the violence and violations they’ve been subjected to. The interviews in this study dive deeper into the world of abuse. These stories deviate away from viewing these women as simply victims and instead highlights their evolution as Black women in the world.
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpowers by Brittney Cooper
“This is a book for women who know shit is f***’d up. These women want to change things but don’t know where to begin.” Eloquent Rage is not a self-help book. It’s a book about a woman who’s trying to find her superpowers in a world which has tried it’s hardest to keep her down. This society has hovered a perpetual kryptonite over her, trying to rob her of her strength. So she is angry but let the record show Dr. Brittney Cooper, with all her rage, is a superhero.
Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly
Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her, asks the question “…how did you first learn to think about emotions, anger in particular?” For women, anger is looked at as a weakness. Rage Becomes Her is here to tell us that despite the revile society has had towards “angry women”, our anger is our strength. Our anger is part of the solution, it’s the first step to action.
5 women, 5 books; an abundance of stories, lessons, and emotions.
To conclude this blogpost I would like to bring attention to a resource I wasn’t even aware of for a really long time. If you are a JMU student, faculty, or staff with access to the library database I wonder if you know there is an entire section called “Black Women Writers” that you can search. An entire database, filled with over 104, 729 pages celebrating and exposing the powerful voices of these women for FREE and oftentimes ONLINE. You don’t have to spend anything and you might not have to go anywhere to have access to these pieces. I say this to say, there are so many voices at our fingertips. Exposing ourselves to the viewpoints and plights of others will help us better understand the levels of inequality. As feminists, womanists, allies, or anyone that cares about the equality of all women, we’re allowed to be angry. Let this rage have purpose, let this rage be expressive, let it demonstrate and let it demand.
To sympathize is to know the feeling, to empathize is to share the feeling, connect with another.
Expose yourself to more and share the feeling.
If you have any other pieces of literature which you feel helped you find a piece of your identity or resonated with you make sure to leave a comment and share this blogpost with others in order to expose them to these voices.