In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz.
Harding, Kate. Asking For It: the Alarming Rise of Rape Culture—and What We Can Do About It. Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2015.
Every seven minutes, someone in America commits a rape. And whether that’s a football star, beloved celebrity, elected official, member of the clergy, or just an average Joe (or Joanna), there’s probably a community eager to make excuses for that person. In Asking for It, Kate Harding combines in-depth research with a frank, no-holds-barred voice to make the case that twenty-first-century America supports rapists more effectively than it supports victims.
Katz, Jackson. The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Sourcebooks Inc, 2019.
Revised and updated to include current studies, politics, and discussions, The Macho Paradox by pioneering anti-violence educator Jackson Katz is the first book to show how violence against women is a male issue as well as a female one — and how we can come together to stop it. The Macho Paradox incorporates the voices and experiences of women and men who have confronted the problem from all angles, the discussions surrounding currents events in politics and pop-culture, and where the violence is ignored or encouraged in our upbringing.
Krakauer, Jon. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. Doubleday, 2015.
In these pages, acclaimed journalist Jon Krakauer investigates a spate of campus rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period. Taking the town as a case study for a crime that is sadly prevalent throughout the nation, Krakauer documents the experiences of five victims: their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the skepticism directed at them by police, prosecutors, and the public; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them.
Luther, Jessica. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape. Edge Of Sports: Akashic Books, 2016.
This book is about a different kind of playbook: the one coaches, teams, universities, police, communities, the media, and fans seem to follow whenever a college football player is accused of sexual assault. It’s a deep dive into how different institutions–the NCAA, athletic departments, universities, the media–run the same plays over and over again when these stories break. If everyone runs his play well, scrutiny dies down quickly, no institution ever has to change how it operates, and the evaporation of these cases into nothingness looks natural. In short, this playbook is why nothing ever changes.
Stryker, Kitty. Ask: Building Consent Culture. Thorntree Press, 2017.
In Ask, Kitty Stryker assembles a retinue of writers, journalists, and activists to examine how a cultural politic centered on consent can empower us outside the bedroom, whether it’s at the doctor’s office, interacting with law enforcement, or calling out financial abuse within radical communities. More than a collection of essays, Ask is a testimony and guide on the role that negated consent plays in our lives, examining how we can take those first steps to reclaim it from institutionalized power.
Traister, Rebecca. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. Simon & Schuster, 2018.
With eloquence and fervor, Rebecca Traister tracks the history of female anger as political fuel—from suffragettes marching on the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Here Traister explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; as well as the history of caricaturing and delegitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel—as is most certainly occurring today.
Chemaly, Soraya. Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger. Atria Books, 2018.
As women, we’ve been urged for so long to bottle up our anger, letting it corrode our bodies and minds in ways we don’t even realize. Yet there are so, so many legitimate reasons for us to feel angry, ranging from blatant, horrifying acts of misogyny to the subtle drip, drip drip of daily sexism that reinforces the absurdly damaging gender norms of our society. In Rage Becomes Her, Soraya Chemaly argues that our anger is not only justified, it is also an active part of the solution. We are so often encouraged to resist our rage or punished for justifiably expressing it, yet how many remarkable achievements would never have gotten off the ground without the kernel of anger that fueled them?
Gay, Roxane. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. HarperCollins, 2017.
Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.
Sebold, Alice. Lucky. Scribner, 1999.
In a memoir hailed for its searing candor, as well as its wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. What ultimately propels this chronicle of sexual assault and its aftermath is Sebold’s indomitable spirit, as she fights to secure her rapist’s arrest and conviction and comes to terms with a relationship to the world that has forever changed.