As a feminist, we want to possess the strength and mind to take on a world that continues to be dominated by men. There are moments when we encounter situations that make us feel small and helpless in this massive world. However, we should never feel this way! I've personally felt this so many times, and it's really hard to get back up without the motivation. I wanted to start feeling empowered to get out there and be my best.
Since I enjoy reading, I wanted to read up on books that are based on strong, courageous heroines who became successful in this male-dominated world. I read a couple on my own because I was obsessed with the genre and wanted to understand real incidents that females faced in the past and modern days, too. Check out some of the best and most empowering feminist novels that will easily get you hooked, too!
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The novel The Color Purple is one that's loved and cherished by so many readers who were touched by the deep and inspiring theme in the story. It's even an Academy Award–nominated film starring Oprah Winfrey! The book is about Celie who grows up poor in rural Georgia and is despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She wants to protect her sister, Nettie, from dealing what she is going through. However, Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa while Celie is left behind without the love of her best friend and is married off to an older suitor where she's completely locked down along with a harsh and brutal husband.
In order to bear with her new life, Celie starts to write letters directly to God. Through the next 20 years, the letters record a journey of self-discovery and total empowerment that’s guided by the light of a few strong women she meets along the way.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I read this story during my high school days and I've continued to read it because it tells a phenomenal story like no other. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is among the empowering feminist novels and is a classic that can still be related to this day. The story revolves around a woman whose husband is a physician and confines her in the upstairs bedroom of their house that he rented for the summer. She’s forbidden from working and has to hide her journal entries from her husband, so that she can be cured from her “temporary nervous depression,” which was a common diagnosis in women during the time.
The story carries on with the effects of confinement on the narrator’s mental health and her descent into psychosis. She becomes obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper and soon discovers something locked away behind the wallpaper.
He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo
Some of us feel like we're nothing when the person that we're interested in isn't interested in us. Even if someone doesn't like us back, don't lower yourself, but lift your head up and carry on as a confident person! He's Just Not That Into You is one of the best empowering feminist novels you need to read because it tells us tips and advice on how to get over a guy for not liking you back and continue to be and feel confident!
Authors Greg and Liz are here to say that, other than good intentions, you’re totally wasting your time with a worthless dude. Even though men aren’t complicated, they like you to think that they are. This novel shows how you can tell if a guy isn’t interested in you and how to accept yourself after rejection!
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Today, women possess a lot more power, freedom, and professional success compared to how it was in the past. Even though a ton of changes have occurred over the past years involving the women’s movement, there are still women who are stuck in traditional surroundings—including writer and journalist Naomi Wolf.
The Beauty Myth is based on the writer herself who is troubled by a different kind of social control where women are supposed to fulfill the traditional image of homemaker and wife. It’s known to be the beauty myth, which is an obsession with physical perfection that completely traps the modern woman in a bottomless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s definition of “the flawless beauty.”
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
As a feminist herself, author Caitlin Moran puts a new face on feminism with one of the most empowering feminist novels on the market—How to Be a Woman. The irreverent, transcendent, and utterly hilarious book is her debut that became an instant hit as a bestseller in England as well as an Amazon UK Top Ten book of the year.
The book is a non-fiction memoir that documents her early life that includes views on feminism. She wants women to stop seeing feminists as radical man-haters and show them that it’s all about true equality between the two genders. There are other aspects about feminism that Caitlin perfectly tackles through each page of her novel.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Power by Naomi Alderman is an amazing and creative novel that shows readers a whole new world. The book revolves around a rich Nigerian boy who’s constantly lounging around the family pool, a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature, an ambitious American politician, and a tough London girl from a tricky family.
Suddenly, a major incident occurs that results in completely changing their lives around. Teenage girls now have immense physical power where they can cause agonizing pain and even death! It shows the effects of how these girls encounter and interact with boys in the new world.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (Contributor)
Malala Yousafzai is one of the most courageous women that has ever walked on this planet who stood up for her rights to be educated in the strict country of Pakistan. She's one of the feminist movement leaders you should know. Her inspiring novel, I Am Malala, is among the empowering feminist novels you must read to see how a single girl risked her life to get an education.
Her book tells the story of when the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan. Malala refused to be silenced by them and fought for her right to be educated. When she was 15 years old, she was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. Her miraculous recovery not only shocked the world but lead her on an extraordinary journey to becoming a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Novel Peace Prize.
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso is one of the most powerful female entrepreneurs in the industry for becoming widely successful on her own. Since entrepreneurs are usually seen to be men, Sophia proved to the world that she as well as other females came make it big in the field. She knows all the startup tips for female entrepreneurs. In her astonishing book that's among the empowering feminist novels, #GIRLBOSS, she guides readers through her entire journey on how she became a successful individual in an industry run by men.
Sophia explains how she was a hitchhiking teen who was constantly involved in petty theft before taking the job of checking IDs in the lobby of an art school. In the lobby, Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay and from there, fashion company Nasty Gal was born. She shows readers all of the tough situations she's gone through and risky decisions she's made during her journey of becoming huge in the fashion industry.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides is an emotional story that shows a powerful theme and it actually became an incredible film, too. It's a mystery and a tragedy novel based on the five Lisbon sisters who go through a rough life when Cecilia is the first sister to commit suicide.
Even though the four sisters were normal after the death of their sister, their lives changed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their entire lives. Then 20 years passed and their enigmatic personalities are preserved in the memories of the boys who worshipped them. Now they try to figure out the cause of death of these five sisters.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Lastly, not only is Tina Fey a hilarious comedian, but she's also a very passionate feminist. Her novel, Bossypants, is among the empowering feminist novels because it's based on how she made her dreams come true. It's also a hilarious book that you can certainly relate to as she describes how to be a successful female in a male-dominated industry.
The book dives from her youthful nerdy days to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live. It also shows her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a wonderful mother who occasionally eats things off the floor. Tina points out the drastic moments in her life, the good and the bad, and shows us how she became the woman she is today.