There was always plenty of feminist literature around while I was growing up. Pressed on the shelf between Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull were books like Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run With the Wolves, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and writing by Maya Angelou.
I remember reading bits here and there, examining each and every cover, and wondering who the women writers were whose pictures were tucked inside.
It made feminism normal to me. Words about powerful women and their limitless possibilities were easily accessed, kept in the livingroom where anyone could enjoy them. Stories and histories of brave women who had suffered and yet still succeeded, myths of female warriors, essays on rights, responsibilities, politics, and philosophies.
There were books written by writers from all over the world, voices of women of all colours and backgrounds and beliefs. There were books that contradicted each other, willing to explore opposite sides of the spectrum.
And if there was a book that wasn’t there that I was interested in, my mom would try to get it for me.
Feminist books and literature by women was incredibly important to my development both as a woman and a feminist.
Realizing how much these books meant to me, and in the shadow of The Toronto Women’s Bookstore’s troubles, I started to think about what books I would recommend to young girls who might be looking for some awesome lady lit.