WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with main F/F pairings

f-f pairings

Hello friends !

So. Today is Valentine’s Day and I’m back with a recommendations post. While trying to figure out what to choose as this month’s “representation” I remembered that for some folks the month is aaaaall about romance and things like that, which is great if you’re into it but if you’ve followed me for a while, you know that this is my third february blogging and I’ve never done anything different to celebrate this date buuuut I figured since a lot of people read romance this month and that f/f relationships are severely overlooked, I decided it’s the perfect time to highlight them. So yeah, for this month, I will be recommending books with female/female relationships.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles. Continue reading

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6 Things Diverse Books added to my Life

Diverse books

Hello guys !

I wanted to save this post for my second blog anniversary in two months which then roughly coincides with my one year anniversary of reading mostly diverse books (around 80-90% of my reading is diverse in one way or another) but then realized I’m gonna be on Hiatus at that time (exams, pray for me) and since next month will be dedicated to all the end of the year posts (I’M SO EXCITED!!!) then this seemed like the right time to just gush about all the things diverse books have added to my life, which are… a lot. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with Native/Indigenous Main Characters

Native indigenous MCs

Hello guys !

I’m back again with a recommendations post that I quite frankly have been procrastinating for a couple weeks, like everything blogging lately to be honest, I’m just having a hard time doing anything blog related these days because of stress and whatnot but THAT’S NOT THE POINT. The point here is I’m back with a new recommendations post, I had planned a completely different topic for this month but as it was brought to my attention that November is Native American Heritage month, I thought it would be more fitting to come up with a list of books by Native / Indigenous authors and boost those to the best of my capability.

I got most of these books through Weezie @ Weezie’s Whimsical books and the recommendations they bless us with on Twitter so I’d recommend checking their blog out and giving them a follow because they do a lot for the community.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles

Continue reading

#DiverseBookbloggersDiscuss: How ADHD affects my reading

 

Ceillie.pngHello guys !

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12, but the diagnosis didn’t really surprise me, or my parents. I’ve always been impulsive, overeager, and regularly either hyperfocused or unfocused. I would often tell people “oh yeah, I know how to do this thing,” whether that thing was playing the guitar, swimming, or reading aloud. It often got me into trouble, and embarrassed when it was proven I couldn’t actually do the thing I said I could. Not being able to swim as well as I said I could as a kid meant that I had several very unsafe experiences in the deep end of pools. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Book with Anxiety representation

Anxiety rep.png

Hello guys !

A whole month has gone by and it’s time again for a recommendations’ list and this month’s isn’t as extensive as the previous ones and definitely not as extensive as I would’ve wanted it to be. This month’s theme is Books with Anxiety representation because October 10th was Mental Health Awarness and even though I’m a few days late that’s what sparked this post. And while researching for it, aside from the fact that anxiety rep is severely lacking as a whole (which I expected but still surprised me) I came to two realizations:

  1. Anxious POC are almost inexistant in books.
  2. Anxiety in SFF doesn’t exist either.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles. Continue reading

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Seeking a Home – A Call for Adoption Narratives in Fiction

Lili

Salutations dear readers!

Before I get started on my topic, thank you again to the lovely Fadwa for hosting me, I wanted to talk a little about myself. Just to give you some background information that I don’t even know if I’ve shared on my own blog. Talk about exclusive. I was adopted from China when I was young, like five months young, and grew up in the United States until I eventually came to Germany to do my Masters. So that being said, I want to talk today about a hole I still find in diverse YA/all fiction: adopted main characters. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with Bisexual Main Characters

Bi MCs.png

Hello guys !

Weird post title, huh? Well, today I’m here with a new feature that I clearly failed at naming but we’ll role with it. As the name “Word Wonders’ TBR Expansion” says, I’m bringing this new feature to expand your TBRs, you’ll hopefully love me for it, but your wallets and bank accounts might hate me afterwards. Once a month, I will be recommending diverse books that fall under the same theme or type of representation, and since I know that if I rely on the books I’ve read only the list wouldn’t be that long so I decided I’ll ask Twitter friends for help and they delivered.

I wanted to start with books with Muslim representation (for obvious reasons) but since I already have a couple of posts where I recommend books with Muslim main characters (see here and here) I thought that if would be repetitive so I decided to skip that one for the time being. For this month, I chose books with Bisexual Main Characters and I have quite the few.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles. Continue reading

Reviewing Books Outside your Lane

Reviewing outside your lane.png

Hello guys !

As more and more people pick up diverse books, more of us are reviewing them. And besides the obvious characters, plot, writing, pacing, worldbulding (when it’s SFF), there’s the added element of representation, because when we say diverse books, we say diverse characters, which means minorities are represented, and well… we want those to be good and accurate. But “reviewing” representation can be complicated, especially when the book is ownvoices (a book representing a marginalization the author is part of, which you can learn more about here, on the creator’s page) and even more when we as reviewers are not part of the minority.

What I’ve noticed (and also have been guilty of before) is that we sometimes get carried away and nitpick representation that actually is accurate and personal to the author and people who live the same circumstances, and some reviews can fall right into offensive territory because of the lack of sensitivity. This is not me saying that we shouldn’t be critical of ownvoices books, I just think that the marginalizations should be left to ownvoices reviewers to dissect, which I’ll explain the why and how of a little further down the post.

Continue reading

Why is Diversity Important ?

Diversity is important.png

Hello guys !

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how drastically my reading habits have changed over this last year and it hit me that around this time last year is when I decided I had to make a conscious effort to read more diverse books, and I wrote a post about My Diverse Reading – Or Lack There Of (please don’t read it, it’s awful haha) and I was impressed with myself and really proud of the changes I have made to my reading and how that changed me as a person and made me see things about myself I was subconsciously ignoring.

I actually wrote that post exactly a year ago -and I swear it is purely coincidental that I’m writing this now- and had even set a little TBR for myself to start off of. I only read 3/10 from that TBR –More Happy than Not, When Michael Met Mina and Written in the Stars– all of which I adored (all 5 stars I believe). I know that might seem like a small number but since then the number of diverse books I read in a month has been increasing until I started reading them exclusively in January 2017. Now every book I read has some kind of marginalisation in it and I find that my enjoyment of the books I read has increased a lot.

In the last year, I went from being intimidated by these books (because I knew I wasn’t doing right by them) to reading them, to screaming at the top of my lungs about them and it’s been quite the journey. One I loved being on even if some of it was hard, which I didn’t expect. Anyway, enough ramblings ! All of this to say that that’s what inspired this post, my journey from reading no diverse books at all a year ago, to reading them exclusively right now. This will be a basics as well as appreciation post for Diverse Books because they are important to me and to thousands of other people.

Diversity 1

I remember I had included some kind of definition in that post from a year ago but you know, I was a noob and even though it was pretty good, it was lacking in some ways. So here’s the updated and somehow more condensed version:

Diverse books are books of which the MAIN CHARACTER (yes not side characters, spare me with that nonesense) is part of one marginalized group or more. May it be race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, physical disability, learning disability, mental illness… If the main character is part of a minority group then the book is diverse.

The definition is a bit more complicated than this when you start taking into account the author’s marginalizations (or lack thereof) but for the sake of simplicity, this is it.

Diversity 2.png

That’s how the world is

The world is such a rich place, in cultures, in religions, in genders and sexualities, in experiences that are specific to those marginalizations. And we cannot forget about intersectionalities, I’m one example of them. I am part of more than one group and those shape my life significantly and make my experiences different from those of people who are part of other groups, only share one group with me, or are part of no group at all.

Once you actually broaden your vision of the world and try to look at things beyond what’s seen as the norm, you see that there’s a lot more to the world than the able-bodied allocishet white person with no mental illnesses, the rest of us exist too, a non negligible number of us, and we deserve to be seen as well. The sad thing is, I never knew I had a choice in reading beyond that until I was shown otherwise and even that I had a lot of internalized bigotry to work through and deconstruct to actually be able to see that it is okay to feel represented by a book, that it is more than okay, it is great and I as well as many others need more of it.

Just to give you an example of how that impacted me growing up, I was a Young brown Muslim kid who wrote exclusively in the “norm” because she didn’t think she had a right to write outside of that, a right to see herself in books, a right to be happy about that. It is actually sad that I only realized all of that at 19 years old, but it’s better late than never.

Erasure is real

If we are to compare the numbers of books written by/about white people to the ones written by/about people of color (ALL POCS combined) the number for the latter is ridiculously small. Same goes for allosexual/alloromantic vs. asexual/aromantic, straight vs non-straight (gay, bi, pan…), cisgender vs. transgender, able bodied vs. disabled, and the list goes on. Every minority is crushed under the weight of what’s seen as normal and that goes beyond books as well. People from all minorities are erased, overlooked, oppressed and pressured to assimilate, and what happens when you think you’re alone in this situation (re: when you lack representation) ?

  1. You think there’s something wrong with you and keep trying to fix it (which was the case for me).
  2. You never stand up for yourself because you don’t think you have a right to/ because you’re abnormal. (Guess what? me.)
  3. You fold in on yourself and try to hide all parts of you that are different from what makes other people comfortable, and pretend those parts of you don’t exist (also me)

This is what I meant by internalized bigotry, when you keep being erased and told that there’s something wrong with you, you end up believing it, and unbelieving it is hard. Incredibly hard. And THIS is why we need more diversity, we need to not have to justify our existences, we need them to be normalized, and books play a big role in doing that.

Diverse stories/authors are as good as the rest

Better in my opinion. Hear me out. There’s just so much you can do with a trope when the main characters are pretty much the same, as I said, marginalizations and intersections play a big role in shaping one’s world so that would make any given book trope different. ANY one of them. I double dare you to prove me wrong *grins*. They just offer new perspectives, perspectives that can be unknown to a lot if not brought to light by media, and in our case, books.

There’s also the issue of creating spaces for marginalized authors because we cannot deny that publishining is dominated by non-marginalized writers and no this is not a case of “taking away from them” just making MORE space, so that marginalized authors can get their stories out there. The more stories are put out there, the more they are read and the more spaces are created because publishers realize that there IS a market for our stories (yes, hi, hello, we’re here!).

I also want to put out there that they do not have to write ownvoices stories for their stories to matter, and even their ownvoices stories can’t cater to everyone. I think that as long as they proceed with care and with extensive research (yes, even when the story is ownvoices). And that for various reasons among which is the fact that some people aren’t ready to share about themselves as well as when the author isn’t out/ doesn’t want to be outed when it comes to gender and/or sexuality so they don’t feel comfortable labelling their work as ownvoices and that’s fine too. As I said, as long as it is done with care and doesn’t butcher any marginalization, there’s not problem to it.

We deserve representation

Do you know how many books I read that represent all of me, not parts of me, not me having to pick and choose which part I want to see but ALL of me, all my intersections? NONE. Zero. Not one book. Hopefully, one is coming my way soon but even one is not enough. ONE. OOOONE. I shouldn’t have to choose what part of me I want to read about because when I do that, the representation isn’t as close to me as it could be. As an example, a queer muslim’s experiences will not be the same as an allocishet muslim’s or as a queer non-muslim’s, they’re entertwined. So what we need more of are:

  • Characters of all skin colors
  • Native characters, indigenous characters, latinx, asians (East, South East, West…), africans, middle easterns… as well as multiracial characters.
  • Trans characters, bi characters, pan characters, aro/ace characters, non-binary characters, etc…
  • Muslim characters, jewish characters, hindu characters, etc…
  • Characters with mental and physical disabilities
  • Fat characters

But most of all, intersectionality. Characters with multiple marginalizations are close to my heart because more often than not, that’s how we are, multiple pieces of our identities come together to make us who we are.

So pals, this is why diversity is important. This is why I’ll forever be grateful to this community for helping me discover I would’ve never picked up otherwise, books that today, mean the world to me.


That’s it until next time.

Share your story, why do diverse books matter to YOU? What books you feel represent you?

What are your favorite diverse books?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Intersectional Feminism: Different Perspectives + Book recommendations

Life Talk

Hello guys !

This month being Women History Month I thought I’d do something that’s fitting for the occasion, and talk about something that I didn’t know how to approach on the blog until a few days ago when it suddenly dawned on me, seriously, one minute it wasn’t there and just as I was getting ready to sleep, it appeared. Thank you midnight thoughts, you’ve done well this time!

In case you haven’t guessed what the subject is, it’s Feminism. Yes, the big ugly word that a lot us fear but that I came to understand, love and cherish over the past few months. I’m going to talk to you about my own experience, and as you might guess it, it will get pretty personal, but I will introduce other women’s experiences as well, because it’s important to get as many perspectives as possible when talking about things that are subjective and for which the meaning can change from one person to the other. And I want this post to be universal, I want women from different backgrounds to read and nod because they can see themselves in some of these things.

So because of the personal aspect, I don’t know how structured the post will be, if at all. I’ll just ramble away and hope for the best. So before starting off, let’s lay some basis so that we’re all on the same wave length and we’re all talking about the same thing here.

What is Feminism ?

I think we all know what it is but we’ll go step by step. Feminism is a movement -or group of movements, whichever way you want to look at it– campaigning for women’s rights going off the basis that they -we- face oppression because we are perceived as inherently weaker and “less”. Feminism at its core fights for free choice, for women AND non-binary pals to have complete control over their lives, freedom, education, jobs, equal pays, and for them to basically have the same chances as men in all domains and aspects of life. Either it is staying at home or having big careers, getting married or not, having kids or not, it’s up to them and no one else.

In my opinion, for Feminism to be true and thrive, needs to be intersectional. There’s really no other way to do it, because if it’s not it excludes people and if it excludes people, it really isn’t Feminism.

What is Intersectionality ?

Intersectionality is based off the fact that someone’s identity isn’t just one thing. It isn’t just sexuality, or race, or gender, ethnicity, religion, mental or physical health, social class… All of these things come together to form a person’s identity and cannot be separated, they intersect to make a person who they are. Which means that other than sexism, women and non-binary folks can face racism, xenophobia, ableism, transphobia, homophobia and/or any other kind of bigotry. All of this means that your Feminism needs to include:

  • Trans women (I’m looking at you Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie*).
  • Poor women.
  • Disabled women.
  • Muslim women.
  • Black women.
  • Indigenous/Native women.
  • Non-binary pals. This last one I wasn’t aware of until recently and it makes sense, but they get erased a lot so let’s not forget to include them

* If you weren’t aware of what happened, CNA recently spoke on Trans Women and was she said was really harmful and showed how little knowledge she has about Transgender experiences. This isn’t my place to explain but here’s an article and here’s another one on why Feminism should be Trans-inclusive. I’m just very disappointed.

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I grew up a Feminist, even if I never knew it, even if I never put a label on it. Want to know why? Because my mom is one. My mom is my hero and the biggest influence in my life. She probably doesn’t know it either but she really is. She’s the most hardworking woman I’ve ever met, and she still manages to make time for us, to show that she loves us, she does everything to raise us to be great women as well (my sister and I) and to make everything we need available to us. She’s a superhero. And my number one supporter.

She’s always believed in me, let me go my own way, given me my own space, let me pursue whatever dreams and passions without interfering. And I love her for that. She’s always had hopes and expectations for me but never made them obvious, it got to the point -when I wanted to choose my path after high school- where I’d beg her to tell me what she wanted me to do because I was confused and she always refused because my future, my choice.

As I said, I grew up feeling empowered and as if I could conquer the world. I am very ambitious by nature so that felt freeing. Until I started being very aware of my surroundings and of the society I was growing up in. That was a rough disillusion. I was maybe 12? And everyone -even people I don’t know- had an opinion on who I should be, how I should behave, they were trying to fit me into boxes I didn’t belong in, or I belonged in too many. I wasn’t white enough, thin enough, Muslim enough, too smart, too loud, too honest, too ambitious… And for a long time I made myself small and folded inwards to fit.

Here’s the thing, the society I live in –like many others– is sexist, misogynistic, and inclined on colorism. I’m not generalizing of course but if you grow up surrounded by those things, you’re bound to have some internalized and not-so-internalized biases. As soon as I stepped out of the comfort of my house, the male gaze was upon me. I needed to be desirable but not reveal too much, I needed to strive for an education but I couldn’t be more educated than my potential husband, that my ultimate goal needs to be to settle, get married and have kids? What if I don’t want to? What about the people who don’t want to get married? That’s some damaging thinking.

I’m the type of person who wants everything from life and isn’t afraid of going after it. I want a big career, to be successful in it, to be able to help people. I remember going to my sister’s pediatrician with her last year (which used to be mine) and as we chatted away, he asked what I wanted to do as a specialty, my mom answered and said “A surgeon” -which I’m not even sure of. His response? “But you can’t! That’ll be hard on your domestic life, you won’t be a good wife, won’t see much of your kids” Okay. I know that came for a good place, but who told him that’s what I want from life?

Yes, I want to eventually get married. Yes, I want to eventually have kids. But does that means I have to give up big part of who I am, the ambitious one? the one that has big dreams and want to keep working towards them? I think not. Anyway. As I struggled to balance between what society wanted me to be and what I wanted to be, I became more aware of what Feminism is, of the Feminist in me, because until then, I stirred very clear of it.

In mainstream media, especially where I live, Feminism is portrayed to be this wild, out of control movement where women wanted to be provocative, lacked modesty and didn’t fight for anything important so I didn’t identify as that. And I know most feminists don’t either, but I didn’t know that at the time. But when I started reading up and educating myself, I saw more and more of who I am and what I stand up for portrayed in what the essence of Feminism is. And so I reclaimed that label because I want to fight for my rights, the rights of all women and non-binary people. I want us to be freed of not only sexism but all other forms of oppression and bigotry.

Book recommendation: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

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Kirsty, book blogger @ Kirsty’s Book Reviews :

I grew up on the Isle of Skye where there was like one mixed race family I knew and the overwhelming majority of people I knew were white. There also wasn’t really anyone I knew growing up who was anything other than straight.

This was probably why when I would get aroused when I was younger by my mum’s underwear catalogues and my friend’s brother’s naked women posters I didn’t realize that this was an early explanation to my sexuality. No one I knew was queer so I didn’t have an example that people were different to just straight or gay, I only ever saw it on tv. As far as I knew I was attracted to boys so I definitely wasn’t gay. Then someone at my school came out as bi, and everyone just said she was a lesbian, but I paid attention and started to think about myself.

At this time I was also becoming much more involved in internet culture and learning about the world outside of my own community. It took me about 4 years after that initial thought before I read about pansexuality and immediately felt like that was me. I found this by my increasing involvement in the tumblr feminist community (which I’m not part of now because it’s so toxic). I really started to think about the world around me and how insular my childhood was. I thought back to the language I used to use and how everyone took it as acceptable because they were all white, able-bodied, straight and cis.

Feminism has really made me think about myself as a person and how I want to teach children as they grow how the world isn’t exactly how they may take it from their small communities. I feel so empowered at times, but I also feel very upset about my own actions when I see minorities talking about bad experiences. It’s such a learning curve and sometimes I feel like because of my background I have so much more to learn than everyone else, but I love learning so it’s ok.

Book recommendation: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Sinead, book blogger @ Huntress of Diverse Books :

Am I a feminist? According to the dictionary definition, yes, I am. But I don’t feel comfortable with that word. What do I associate with the term feminism? White feminists.

People who tell me that this is not the time to discuss other forms of discrimination. People who tell me that we’re only focusing on gender equality at the moment, we’re only discussing sexism. This type of feminism doesn’t only occur abroad. It exists in Germany as well. I am not just marginalized because I am a woman. I’m also a woman of color and I don’t speak nor write my father tongue (yes FATHER tongue) perfectly even thought it’s the main language of the country I live in at the moment. I could use the term intersectional feminist. Some people use it as a general term that means they fight against all forms of discrimination. Since the word feminism is part of this term, I feel like the term insinuates that feminism is the combining factor, the main cause, the priority.

I do identify as an intersectional feminist and my definition centers on being against sexism and for gender equality, while taking intersections of other forms of discrimination and marginalisations into account. However, if I’m talking about my activism in general, which includes fighting against all forms of discrimination, I don’t use the term ‘intersectional feminist’ as my label. It isn’t the all-encompassing word that I’m looking for. If it works for you, that’s great. I’m feeling rather comfortable with the term ‘social justice activist’ at the moment. Maybe I’ll find a term that resonates with me 100 % one day – I haven’t found it yet, but one day, I might.

Book recommendation: Saree by Su Dharmapala

Kaeley, book blogger @ Spoilers May Apply:

The idea of agency and freedom of choice and expression is something Western cultures are very familiar and intimate with. But for all of that fierceness and freedom, it leaves very little room for women to have freedom of choice and expression. Feminists seemed to have earned a bad rap sheet. And because of that some women feel like feminism isn’t for them for various reasons. But even if you feel like that, it still will fight for your rights and respect. It will still support you and try to make the world a better place for you and every person, male, female and everyone in between, who comes after you.

I think feminism for me, and hopefully for everyone, is very liberating. To me, feminism means I can be whoever I want to be and do whatever I want to do; I can wear what I want to wear and say what I want to say. Feminism means I’m valued for my personality, intellect, and actions rather than what my body can or can’t do for others. That is what feminism, true feminism is. Feminism values everyone, breaks down barriers and allows everyone to be who they want to be; whether that’s masculine, feminine or something in between or entirely different. It’s not about who your siblings, parents, friends, significant other(s), culture or society expect you to be. Feminism is being yourself. Feminism is freedom.

Book recommendation: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Maya, book blogger @ Maya Hearts Books :

I’m a queer teenager from Spain. I believe in feminism and I need to, because even though I’m pretty privileged, I want to, I feel like I MUST fight for every single one of my sisters and dismantle patriarchy so we can all, both women, non-binary people and men, live our own lives peacefully, being who we want to be.

I want my male friends to be able to say how they feel and my female and non-binary friends to be considered equal to men. I want my fellow LGBT+ people to live and love as the rest. I want every single woman of color to have the same opportunities I have. I want a world where disabled people can live a normal life. Everyone in developing countries, I want them to live life as well as they would in first world countries. I want sex workers to be treated fairly. And only feminism can take us there.

The only true form of feminism is intersectional. We can only move forward if we all work hand in hand, and every hope of success we put in white feminists is futile.

Book recommendation: Nononsense Feminism: Alive and Kicking by Nikki van der Gaag.

Puput, book blogger @ Sparkling Letters :

Feminism to me has always been a controversial topic, mainly because my understanding of it was limited, as well as the influence of my religion. Growing up, my understanding of Islam was always that a man should be the leader. I was afraid that feminism means being superior to men and it might go against what my religion has taught me. But a few years after, I learned that feminism doesn’t mean that one gender has to have more power than the other. Being a feminist doesn’t mean women has to be superior to men. To me, it’s about receiving what we, as human, already deserve. Starting from simple things like education, the right to be ourselves, to be success, to have a career, and most importantly, to choose for ourselves. And that doesn’t mean that we have to push men aside in the process.

I owe my hobby (reading, obviously) to a feminist from my country. Back when we were still under Dutch colonialization women weren’t allowed to go to school. They have to stay home and help the family until they were married off, and then it was up to the husband. There was this one woman, her name was Kartini. She was born into an aristocratic Javanese family and her father was a Regency Chief of Jepara, a region in Central Java. She only attended school until she was 12 years old but secretly she learned to speak Dutch, an unusual accomplishment for Javanese women back then.

During her time at home, Kartini continued to educate herself by reading books, newspaper, and European magazines. They fed her interest in European feminist thinking. A few years later she was married to a fellow noble. She was angry at first, but it turned out her husband shared her passion for education and feminism and supported her dream to build a school for women. That was the first time women were allowed to go to school to learn to read. Without Kartini’s merit, we women probably wouldn’t know how to read.

Back to my point above, being a feminist doesn’t mean we have to be superior to men and push them away. It means there has to be respect for each others regardless of the gender. It takes cooperation and understanding. After all, Kartini successfully did what she did with the help of her husband, but I’m not saying that she wouldn’t be able to success on her own. I’m sure she would be either way, and so would every women in this world.

Book recommendation: Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis (TW: Rape, Sexual Assault, Murder)

Janani, book blogger @ The Shrinkette & on Twitter

I only became actively involved in social justice conversations while living in the States. I’ve attended protests, had conversations with friends who share my ideologies, been in environments where feminism is the default, and generally lived in a feminist bubble in my real life. So, when I moved back in with my parents, and naturally started having these conversation with them. With my friends from college. With my closest friends from school that I grew up with. And my bubble shattered like a Christmas bauble. The transition is…frustrating.

I am jarred by the disconnect between the people I’ve known my whole life and the conversations I’m having online. The gaps are infuriating. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how and why this is, and among several things, a lot has to do with my own expectations. I start these conversations with people expecting them to automatically be in tune with my ideologies and line of thinking. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting, feeling infuriated, and crashing into waves of depression. My passionate rants are met with “the world is harsh and unfair, this is how people are, you’ll just have to accept it” (from my parents) or “what about when ________” from friends (casual misogyny). This frustrates me. It scares me. I don’t want to accept it. The idea that I will go all my life yelling about needing systemic change and bringing down the patriarchy- whether it’s in publishing or elsewhere, without any serious changes actually taking place- haunts me. It makes me question whether all the grief I take from people online and offline is worth it.

So I’ve been thinking about what I could do instead. It’s making me realize my participation in social justice and actions as a feminist need not be on a wide platform. I need to adapt my intentions in accordance with my environment, while keeping my values. If I need to bring about change, ranting at people IRL like making twitter threads or fighting with internet trolls is not only screwing with my mental health. So, I need to start small. To have more 101 conversations. To use relatable examples. Channel some of those feminist values into doing things for the community, instead of waiting to join in the next protest. Taking joy in the small things- like how my sister has been reading some of my books and beginning to grasp the workings of the patriarchy and its ramifications.

Instead of throwing jargon into people’s faces, break it down using relatable stories. I’ll recommend more books by marginalized writers to people who ask for recommendations without making it about their/the characters’ marginalisations. And I’ll take comfort in my feminist bubble online. I’ll write about it. I’ll do the twitter threads and the educating and the learning and the boosting and the ranting. I’m sure it’ll be a long, painful, arduous process, but I’ve come to realize that nothing about this movement was ever meant to be easy.

Book recommendation: Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell Hooks

Jordyn, book blogger @ Jordz the Bibliophile

I guess that one of the reasons that intersectional feminism means so much to be is the fact that I finally feel included. When people talked about sexual inequality, they mentioned that women earned 77 cents to every dollar a man earned, or how likely they were to face harassment. But those statistics were for white women, not for me. When I found out that black women earned 64 cents, Hispanic women less than that, Native American women less than that, it felt like a slap in the face. It felt like the world really didn’t care about women of color like me.

Learning about intersectional feminism just made me feel like there were people out there that felt what I felt, that really could relate to what it was like to grow up as a non-white woman.

Julia Ember, author of Unicorn Tracks and Upcoming The Seafarer’s Kiss

To me, feminism has always been about bolstering the dreams and aspirations of people who are held down by the patriarchy. This absolutely includes women, but it’s so much more than that. Even in 2017, it’s still overwhelmingly the case that the highest paid jobs and positions of political power are held by straight white men. I think in 2017, feminism has changed necessarily to supporting rights for all marginalized people, not just cis women.

Feminism also has to go beyond a throwaway statement of equality. It’s great that so many companies have policies against discrimination – but without actively trying to change the balance, it’s easy for them just to stick to the status quo, then hide behind the shield of “we chose the best applicant.” I think with today’s feminism, we have to support looking beyond obvious biases, into actively promoting and encouraging marginalized people. Passive feminism isn’t good enough. Yes, that may mean that companies have to “pass up” male candidates. But when I graduated university, in 2011, I saw a marked difference between the number of men who got jobs straight out of study and the number of women who did. A lot of the men who got jobs at big banks and corporations had lower GPAs and less work experience than female and POC friends who struggled. They were not better qualified, but their status as white cisgender men played into recruiters expectations of what good candidates looked like.

In the book world, which I am most familiar with, this means we have to go beyond just “accepting work by women, POC, LGBTQIA people” into actively promoting, buying and soliciting submissions for it.

Lila, book blogger @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets :

Imagine this: A mother and child, living in a household in which the mother is married to a man who abuses her. She has been working up to leaving for a while now. Then something happens one day and it is the last straw. She knows she can not raise her daughter like this and files for divorce. However, in the process of getting a divorce, the woman’s soon to be ex-husband steals the house and all of her money out from under her, leaving her and her child destitute and homeless.

This is my mother’s story and I am her daughter. I want to share something with you about intersectional feminism and the people that everyone so often forgets: the poor and homeless. Women cannot affect and change communities and the world if they do not have the money, the education, the opportunity, or (and I mean this quite literally) the life. Poverty disproportionately affects women and children around the world. Women are pushed into poverty everyday due to wage gaps and societal standards and then trapped in poverty by sexism, racism, and classism.

And maybe you think this isn’t an issue in America, one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Then let me give you a statistic that’ll blow your mind: “The United States has the largest number of homeless women and children among the industrialized nations. Seventy million women and their dependent children are living in or on the brink of poverty.” (Wikipedia, “Feminization of Poverty”)

So what can this community, the literary community and in particular the subgroup of the YA literary community, do to help us? Talk to us. Tell our stories. Most of the time digging your way out of homelessness and poverty isn’t a rags to riches or rags to Harvard story. Its grinding work moving from beng poor or homeless to living in a decent house—not a big house, but a house. Write about us, how we spend hours on buses just to get groceries, go to the doctor, school or work. Write about how our houses might be a little messier because they’re smaller and we don’t have a maid. Tell people how we survived. There is triumph and strength just in that.

I have never read a YA book that has a poor or homeless female heroine. Not one. I only know of one book (Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series) that has a poor/homeless hero. If no one tells our stories, how will they know what is happening to us? If no one tells our stories, who will combat the negative myths and stereotypes surrounding poverty and homelessness? Telling stories of heroes/heroines who are poor or homeless, is empowering.

It’s not that we don’t have a voice, it’s that no one is listening. We need someone to tell our stories to a larger audience; make them feel and hear us. Make them see us. Please dont read this as just another post. See this as a catalyst an opportunity to give a voice to those of us who have one, but so often feel no one is listening.


That’s it until next time.

Are you a Feminist? Were you aware of Intersectionality?

Do you have recommendations of book that have Feminism either as an underlying or dominant theme?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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