5 Feminist Reads for the Summer

4 comments Written on May 24th, 2016     
Filed under: Book & Commentary, Resources
Mandi Cherico recently graduated with a Master of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. Born on the East Coast and raised in the Midwest, her interests include feminism, aesthetics, and Beyonce.

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Growing up, I didn’t know what feminism was. I had always been an independent girl, but I never knew about any larger movement having to do with this tension I felt about being confined to gender roles.

In my senior year of high school, I had an English literature teacher, Mrs. Butcher. Mrs. Butcher was one of those cool, young teachers who high school students want to pattern their lives after. She was a strong and confident woman, committed to her faith and not afraid to speak the truth. She was both unflinching in her critique of the patriarchy and an avid wearer of bright lipstick. In short, she spoke my language. Mrs. Butcher introduced our class to feminist literature, and my mind was opened. These authors wrote about things I had been thinking my whole life but never been able to name. They taught me that there were words for this strength in me; this deep personal resistance I felt towards antiquated gender norms. The things I read in this class set me on a path of liberation, not only for myself but for other women, particularly in the context of the Church.

While feminism and gender equality require us to practically engage with and for both women and men, we’d be remiss to not read the writings of the women who shape and power the movement both inside and outside of the Church. Here are just a few books that I would recommend for anyone on the journey to claiming gender equality.

bad feministGay is the new darling of feminist literature, and she’s earned it. Her personal essays and cultural critique are just. so. good. This collection of essays draws on pop culture, modern relationships, body image, racism and the perils of professional life. Be warned – it is sometimes graphic in nature, but her hilarious and real accounts of what it’s like being a the kind of feminist who watches The Bachelor is winsomely relatable.

A-Year-of-Biblical-Womanhood_Held Evans has become a household name among Evangelicals and faithful skeptics in the blogosphere. This book is her first-person account of a year following Old Testament rules for women, including her time spent living in her backyard during menstruation and the joys of wearing ankle length skirts. It’s funny and personal with reflections that challenge how the Church has interacted with women and gender through the years and into today.

girls to the frontYou don’t have to be a fan of rock music to thoroughly enjoy this account of feminist punk bands of the nineties. With interviews and years of personal research, Marcus weaves together the fascinating young feminist Riot Grrrl movement which challenged the violent, boys-only world of punk culture. Bands forged in this movement have a deep impact on musicians of today as well as grassroots feminists in general. In true punk fashion, the book contains some graphic content.

Jesus-Feminist-Cover-copyThis is a great read for people who are new to the concept of biblical feminism, or perhaps have reservations about feminism in general. If you’re uncomfortable with wearing the label of “feminist,” this book will challenge your hesitation. Bessey’s writing is approachable and heartfelt. She speaks candidly to women in all walks of life but especially to those who are wives or mothers.



SisterOutsiderLorde is an amalgam of wisdom, rebellion and fierce advocacy. Black, queer and female, she is one of the best sources on what it means to be marginalized in American society. Lorde is not a follower of Christ but she writes with truth and power that every person can learn from. Read this one if you want be challenged in your understanding of sexuality and social location. One of her greatest quotes: “the Master’s tools can never dismantle the master’s house.”



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4 comments “5 Feminist Reads for the Summer”


Thank you for offering these very helpful resources.They will be useful in guiding my gentle re-entry to personal choice reading time post MDiv studies. 🙂

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Yes! Please tell me what you think of them once you start reading. 

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Mandi – Thank you for your book recommendations. I am always for broadening our worldview even as I reject labeling, categorization and groupings. While I already have a stack of books at the foot of my bed that I am working my way through, I am always keeping a growing stack on the bookshelf and some of these will find their way to the foot of my bed soon. Thanks!

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Glad to add to your stack, Catherine!

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