Today is International Women's Day. Here is a reading list from Verso Books on the issue of the special oppression of women.
Women against inequality: A Verso reading list for International Women's Day
"What is 'Women's Day'? Is it really necessary?" Alexandra Kollontai asked readers of the Russian journal Pravda a centenary ago. "On Women's Day," she wrote, "the organised demonstrate against their lack of rights."
Prior to its revival by feminist movements in the 70's and its adoption by the UN in 1977, 'Woman's Day' day was first recognized in the United States in 1910 following the thirteen week long strike of 20,000 female garment workers. International Women's Day was then recognized by the second Conference of Socialist Women as a means to express internationalism in their struggle. Four years later on this day in Russia, bread riots led by women fed directly into the first moments of the 1917 revolution.
Now, in former Soviet Bloc nations International Women's Day has struggled to cut its negative ties to the memory of Stalinist bureaucracy, whereas in the West it has lost much of its connection with the struggles of women against systematic exploitation.
Taking International Women's Day back to its radical roots, we bring you a Verso reading list of crucial books and authors covering topics ranging from sex work, ageing, the nuclear family, neoliberal feminism, class, and psychoanalysis.
In the next couple of months we are reissuing The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone, launching our new Feminist Classics series and publishing Separate and Dominate: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror by Christine Delphy. Look out for them! In the meantime, here is the reading list in full!
Feminist Radical Thinkers: Set 9
Our latest set of Radical Thinkers focus on key socialist-feminist texts by leading second-wave feminists Lynne Segal, Sheila Rowbotham, Juliet Mitchell, Michèle Barrett and Mary McIntosh.
Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World by Sheila Rowbotham is a groundbreaking examination of the birth, development and impact of Feminist consciousness. On the publication of the new edition of Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World, Sheila Rowbotham looks back at the world of its initial birth in the Women's Liberation movement in this blog post.
The Anti-Social Family by Michèle Barrett and Mary McIntosh - a sensitive but uncompromising socialist-feminist critique of the nuclear family.
Straight Sex: Rethinking the Politics of Pleasure by Lynne Segal is a manifesto of sexual liberation, from the leading feminist thinker.
Woman's Estate by Juliet Mitchell combines the energy of the early seventies feminist movement with the perceptive analyses of the trained theorist, making it one of the most influential socialist feminist statements of its time. On the publication of the new edition of Woman’s Estate, Juliet Mitchell looks back at how the joy and practical experience afforded by Women's Liberation—and its tensions with other protest movements of the time— in this blog post.
Don't forget that you can download our FREE Feminist Radical Thinkers sampler - a collection of extracts from the set, brought together in this ebook!
Out of Time: The Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing by Lynne Segal “Lynne Segal cuts through the current discourse on ageing with a sharp scalpel, an open mind and boundless compassion. If you have detected even one grey hair, read this book while you still have time” – Barbara Ehrenreich
Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work by Melissa Gira Grant - an important contribution to debates around sex and work, in which sex workers' demands, too long relegated to the margins, take center stage: sex work is work, and sex workers' rights are human rights.
Women’s Oppression Today: The Marxist/Feminist Encounter by Michèle Barrett - a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism, exploring how gender, sexuality and the “family-household system” operate in relation to contemporary capitalism.
Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis by Nancy Fraser traces the feminist movement’s evolution since the 1970s and anticipates a new—radical and egalitarian—phase of feminist thought and action.
Masks of Anarchy: The Story of a Radical Poet, from Percy Shelley to the Triangle Factory Fire by Michael Demson, illustrated by Summer McClinton is a graphic history of a poem that became aninspiration to immigrant, largley female, workers in New York.
Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century by Sheila Rowbotham. From the 1880s to the 1920s, a profound social awakening among women extended the possibilities of change far beyond the struggle for the vote. This book is an acclaimed exploration of these women who revolutionized American and British life.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernández, the explosive, best-selling account of Mexico’s drug cartels and the government-business nexus that enables them.
Invisibility Blues: From Pop to Theory by Michele Wallace was first published in 1990 and widely regarded as a landmark in the history of black feminism.
Women's Work, Men's Property: The Origins of Gender and Class edited by Stephanie Coontz and Peta Henderson is an important book from Verso's history that explores the sociohistorical roots of gender inequality.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft remains one of history's most important and elegant broadsides against sexual oppression.
Sexuality in the Field of Vision by Jacqueline Rose is a brilliantly original exploration of the interface between feminism, psychoanalysis, semiotics and film theory.
The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg by Rosa Luxemburg are letters from the heroic German revolutionary to her comrades, friends and lovers. Her political concerns are revealed alongside her personal struggles within a socialist movement that was often hostile to independently minded women. The book is part of an ongoing series on Rosa Luxemburg.
Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence by Judith Butler responds to the US's perpetual war and explores how mourning could inspire solidarity.
Female Sexualization: A Collective Work of Memory by Frigga Haug is an enlightening perspective on femininity and sexualization.
In Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination Annette Kuhn turns her attention to the deconstruction of pictures closer to home—photographs from her own childhood and images from her shared ethnographic past—to trace a trajectory from personal to collective acts of memory.
Women's Pictures: Feminism and Cinema by Annette Kuhn - This pioneering and influential work of feminist theory has been extensively updated by the author to chart the changes in feminist film theory and practice between the eighties and the nineties.
I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchú is the best-selling account of the life of Latin American peasant woman and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Who Is Rigoberta Menchú? by Greg Grandin, a leading historian who takes on the lies told about Rigoberta Menchú's bestselling memoir.
Red Velvet Seat: Women's Writings on the First Fifty Years of Cinema edited by Antonia Lant is a compendious anthology of women's writing on film.
Integrating Gender: Women, Law and Politics in the European Union by Catherine Hoskyns is a feminist perspective on the European Union's operations and equality policies.
Lust For Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker edited by Carla Harryman, Avital Ronell, and Amy Scholder in which scholars and artists reflect on the transgressive twentieth-century literary icon.
Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor edited by Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers is an urgent call for real-world solutions to gender inequality.
Reversed Realities: Gender Hierarchies in Development Thought by Naila Kabeer asks why development organizations are failing women in poverty.
Scum Manifesto by Valerie Solanas and introduction by Avital Ronell who reconsiders Solanas in light of her social milieu.
The Power to Choose: Bangladeshi Women and Labour Market Decisions in London and Dhaka by Naila Kabeer is a powerful analysis of how globalization is affecting the lives of women at work.
Machos, Mistresses, Madonnas: Contesting the Power of Latin American Gender Imagery edited by Marit Melhuus and Kristi Anne Stølen paints a true picture of gender relations in Latin America.