“The books they don’t want you to read (but you should)” response
By Sabrina Harmata, Staff Writer
If you spend as much time on campus as I do, chances are you notice a ton of posters on the various bulletin boards.
Among these posters is a list of books titled “The Books They Don’t Want You to Read (But You Should),” which aims to “warn” people of the potential “dangers” of being politically correct, and to encourage having no limitations to free speech. Instead of wasting your valuable time with this list, maybe educate yourself about real social problems by reading these books in their place:
Shrill by Lindy West
Shrill explores the very real daily harassment overweight people, especially women, face in present day society. Written in an autobiographical style, the book follows West’s regular barrage of insults and unwanted “advice” that occur simply because she does not conform to societal standards of what a woman’s body “should” look like. As a result of this non-conformity, strangers feel entitled to make comments about her body, even going as far as to encourage suicide. Balancing comedy and harsh reality, West exposes the dangers of reducing an individual to their body size, and raises awareness about the need for a change.
We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler
In her book, Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch Media, expresses her thoughts on modern day feminism, saying it’s been watered down by becoming a media trend. Zeisler brings to light the real issue with contemporary feminism: we haven’t achieved very much, the problem has been depoliticized and the goal has shifted from one of community improvement to one of fighting for individual expression. Women are still consistently paid less than men, we face daily harassment and our rights to birth control and abortions are constantly being questioned by people who really shouldn’t have a say in what we do with our own bodies. Yet, feminism now has become about defending a woman’s right to wear a crop top. Don’t get me wrong. Women can wear whatever we want, but we should still be fighting for true equality until we get it. Otherwise, we’ll always be stuck here. Annual women’s marches aren’t enough. To precipitate change, we need to keep actively fighting for it.
Post-Traumatically Stressed Feminist edited by Darci McFarland
Post-Traumatically Stressed Feminist is a collection of essays, stories, poems and art all aimed at empowering survivors of trauma. These works ensure the writers as well as the readers know that they are not alone in dealing with PTSD. By bringing awareness to the situation, these authors strive to destigmatize PTSD and reduce stereotypes around those who live with it. In reading this book not only will you educate yourself in the realities of PTSD but you’ll open the door to other literature that intends to destigmatize other mental health disorders.
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Janet Mock’s book reveals the everyday struggles of living as a black, Hawaiian, trans woman in America. Mock unapologetically examines the truth about and the importance of finding and expressing your true identity, even if it’s one other people don’t agree with. Throughout her book, Mock explores personal experiences and relates them to the systematic oppression of trans women and trans people in general. Redefining Realness exposes the need for more awareness and societal change around the way we view gender, especially in this day and age when some states still ban trans people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.