Today I’m excited to share an awesome list of patriarchy smashing books (YA and adult) AND I HAVE A SPECIAL GUEST that contributed to this list that I will get to in a minute….which I am VERY excited for.
I feel like when I was a teen (like way back 20 years ago YIKES that hurt to type) I was AWARE of the patriarchy (though I didn’t know it had a name really). You know it was those things that just seemed not right that girls had to deal with (ie getting catcalled, having to act a certain way vs “boys just being boys”).
Once I got in my mid-20’s and came into the YA book community (through books and conversation within the community) I think it was just ripped wide opened for me and I learned so much. Like why a male coworker made more than me when he shouldn’t have, realizing how out of control rape culture is, and many other things.
I all of a sudden saw all these teeny tiny ways the patriarchy pervaded my life and how detrimental it can be. Things I had no idea about or could put into words but then books really helped me learn about these things through the stories I read because I could see it in action and the through the conversations we had about these books and topics.
And I couldn’t think of a better way to do this list than to have YA author Siobhan Vivian curate it with me. Siobhan’s books are always thoughtful in general when it comes to things like feminism, slut-shaming, sexuality and friendship. Like really if you haven’t read Not That Kind of Girl…..GET ON IT.
But considering her newly released book We Are The Wildcats is the perfect pick for your YA patriarchy smashing, feminist needs…I just KNEW she had to help me curate this list!
We Are The Wildcats tells the story of a close-knit and accomplished field hockey team on the night of their team bonding before their first scrimmage and the reckoning that comes when, in past flashbacks and present conversations, that they realize how toxic their male Coach really has been and just how manipulative he is. Camaraderie & friendship amongst elite female atheletes, girls supporting girls and patriarchy-smashing energy!
Patriarchy Smashing Recommendations From Siobhan Vivian
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: This graphic novel tells the story of a young girl coming of age and finding her voice while living under the oppressive policies of the Iranian government in the 1970’s.
Hunger by Roxane Gay: An unflinching examination of Roxane Gay’s complicated relationship with her body.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller: A bold, brave memoir by a survivor of a sexual assault.
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Plain Janes: The Janes is a wonderful graphic novel that follows a group of girls who join forces to make protest art and it will make you cheer.
Anne of Green Gables: It might not be a patriarchy in the classic sense, but Anne Shirley definitely shatters expectations all over Prince Edward Island. (Note from Jamie: I have always loved this article about the quiet feminism of Anne Shirley)
Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young: Set at an all girl boarding school where girls are expected to be perfect and obedient, this dystopian/sci-fi book will have you wanting to hulk-smash the patriarchy and cheer when these girls start to unravel the secrets hiding in their school and stand up for themselves. A feminist page-turner for sure, too!
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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu: The main character is FED UP with the patriarchy and sexism in her small town. So she channels her anger into making a feminist zine and soon it’s cycling through her school and has other girls, across many different cliques and social standings, responding and turning into nothing short of a revolution. Super empowering book about fighting back against sexism together!
Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson: Two girls who are sick of the way women are treated at their school form a Women’s Rights Club — they share poems and essays and their own experience of microaggressions and sexism. With lots of positive support, they also become a target for online trolls which eventually gets their club shut down by the school. They refuse to let that stop them and become even more passionate and determined to continue to let the voices of women be heard! A fantastic (intersectional) feminist YA!
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett: Y’all have heard me rave about this one (and how fantastic the audiobook is for it too) so you aren’t surprised this is on my list huh? A frightening and brutal patriarchal dystopian society where the resistance is just bubbling up. This was one of my favorite reads last year and it will have you absolutely wanting to rage against the patriarchy in this world but also the real parallels you can see in our own society.
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What books do you think should make this list of patriarchy smashing books?
Save this list for later!