Viva is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
There seems to be a toxic mindset about gender roles in our society today—one that makes a lot of men full of rage, disdain, and hatred towards women. It's an attitude that makes men think that they understand the entirety of the problems that women face.
Most (if not all) women have witnessed men talk down to them or straight up tell them that they are wrong for thinking that misogyny is a problem. At times, they may have even reacted violently towards them.
Much of the misunderstandings people have about feminism can be resolved by just reading some books that explain the problems in honest, clear, and empathetic wording.
That's why women's studies experts strongly suggest reading these books about feminism—especially if you're a man.
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
If you're a young woman in the Twittersphere, you've probably seen women argue about feminism at length. The modern feminist world is one that seems to have a million different definitions and gatekeepers you need to please in order to be a "good feminist."
TED Talk guest and author, Roxanne Gay, has compiled an essay collection that points out the often contradictory, yet still necessary aspects of feminism. It's funny, gives a great look into the experience women have, and is one of the best books about feminism to read if you're a guy who just doesn't "get it."
My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst
Most people today can't imagine a world where women would not be able to vote. In fact, in a place like the United States, it's really had to imagine a world where you have no control or voice in a political world. This is especially true if you are a man.
Emmeline Pankhurst is one of the first suffragettes who helped get women the right to vote. Her memoirs, titled My Own Story, still reflect the kinds of attitudes and condescension women face today.
Women have been pushing for equality for a very, very long time. Feminism for women in the 1970s meant equal pay and fair treatment at work. Unfortunately, even well into the 2000s, we're still fighting for those things.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood's masterpiece isn't just one of the best books about feminism; it's a terrifying warning of what happens when women's rights are taken away. This book is so prophetic and so incredibly powerful, it was recently made into a Hulu original series.
The Handmaid's Tale is a book that you really can't skip out on if you want to see what happens when toxic masculinity runs amok. Even reading our interview with Margaret Atwood will make you realize how important feminism is to our world as a whole.
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine
Whether you're male or female, it's pretty safe to say there are things that you like and dislike about being the gender that you were born as. Men might not like the way people expect them to remain stoic and emotionless during tough times. Women might not be too keen on how they are told to be "nice."
Delusions of Gender was one of the first books to talk about gender as a social construct rather than an innate one. Fine's arguments are about as concise and effective as they can be, and are designed to make you wonder about the entire gender system as a whole.
If you have a guy friend who doesn't seem to get the whole concept of "toxic masculinity" or keeps insisting that gender is born, this book might just set him straight.
The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin
A common rallying cry among men's rights advocates is the claim that masculinity is "under attack." Most books on this list will balk at that, but Hanna Rosin's The End of Men is a little different.
Rosin's book explains why men's role in society is changing and why the reign of patriarchy is quickly coming to a close. Rosin's book, which was based on an article she did for The Atlantic, explains how feminism's far-reaching consequences are going to impact every aspect of life.
Is it scary for men? A little bit, but the good news is that The End of Men encourages men to adapt to an equal world in the most empathetic way possible.
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
The Feminine Mystique has long been hailed as one of the best books about feminism ever written, and though it's old, it's still a book that offers incredibly salient points on life as a woman in the 20th century. Short stories from the past still have chilling relevance to the present.
Betty Friedan explains how life was back in the day when women married as teens and would put aside their dreams so that their husbands could achieve theirs. It was a time where women's needs were often left unmet—much to the detriment of families everywhere.
This book will give men a very good idea of what traditional gender roles entailed for women, and might even encourage them to rethink being the "man of the house."
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
At first glance, this looks like an "odd man out" among books about feminism. To a point, it is. Its obvious theme is the issue between race and trying to explain to a racially advantaged sector of people why things need to change.
As a black woman who advocates for equal rights among all races, Reni Eddo-Lodge found herself running into a problem many feminists deal with. That problem is dealing with people who haven't suffered from discrimination telling those who have that they're wrong.
Reni's book is an amazing way to elucidate the problem many women have when they try to explain feminism to men—and that allegory won't be lost on male readers.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Most women have experienced the phenomenon of "mansplaining," an act done by men who tend to assume they know more than women—even when it's clear they don't. Frustrating as it is, most guys don't even realize they're doing it when they talk to women. Solnit shares her experiences from when she was a young woman to when she was a full-fledged professional with a PhD, yet still was constantly mansplained to.
Men Explain Things to Me helped coin the term "mansplaining," and is filled with short stories of times when guys made asses of themselves by doing it. If I had a recommendation to give to all men that tell women to smile, it'd be this: Read this book.
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
A lot of books about feminism get a bad rap on the internet, primarily because so many people don't want to face the facts they offer. The reason why The Second Sex is so vilified is that Simone de Beauvoir nails the very unsettling feeling of being the "other" in society.
During Simone's time, women were treated like second class citizens—and it was very apparent. Her world famous book delves into what it means to be unequal in a society that supposedly celebrates you and gives men a very telling glance into life in a female body.
Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus by Vanessa Grigoriadis
If the guy you have in mind is already cringing and will only read one of these books about feminism, I sincerely hope it's Blurred Lines. This book is about the culture of consent and what causes campus rape to become such a prevalent problem.
Vanessa Grigoriadis takes a look at the extremely complex, often confusing world of college campus hookup culture. How can both genders stay safe? How can we overcome the issue of campus predators?
This very sensitive topic is addressed with aplomb here, and if guys read it, they will learn how they can help promote a safer college campus. It's particularly important for young men in their college years. It takes two halves of a whole to change campus culture.