Nasty Women Read: A Book Club Roundup


For a little more than a year, I facilitated a mostly online, sometimes-in-person, feminist book club. It started when I shared a link from somewhere about feminist books to read and then everyone on Facebook was like, “Yeah I'd be into that.” We rolled with it from June 2017 through November 2018 as an informal, sometimes forgetful and always low-key group. I deliberately let the group fizzle out at the end of last year, which is a major personal accomplishment because I am really slow to quit things that aren’t working for me. That’s an Enneagram Type 6 for you. But still! We read some great books and enjoyed some conversation and camaraderie through this exercise. I wanted to capture all of it here, for posterity.

The books that we read
(My top choices often lost in the monthly vote, and we also had a long list of books that we wanted to read but hadn’t gotten around to yet, but here’s what we did read together. My favorites are in bold.)

Art by val Barone

Art by val Barone

Our FB group also became a delightful repository of articles and recommendations, which I’ve rounded up and cataloged here as an archive for us all to enjoy.

Marriage, motherhood and relationships

  • “It’s Time To Get All The Shitty Men In America Fired” by Meg Keene (A Practical Wedding)

  • “Real Gender Equality Includes Femininity (and the Color Pink)” by Anne Thériault (Yes! Magazine)

  • “I Am the One Woman Who Has It All” by Kimberly Harrington (The New Yorker)

  • “Where do kids learn to undervalue women? From their parents.” by Darcy Lockman (The Washington Post)

  • “Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex” by Lori Gottlieb (The New York Times Magazine)

  • “Are Your Joint Finances as Feminist As You Think?” by Meg Keene (A Practical Wedding)

  • “How to Raise a Feminist Son” by by Claire Cain Miller and Illustrations by Agnes Lee (The New York Times)

  • “When I Became A Mother, Feminism Let Me Down” by Samantha Johnson (HuffPost)

  • “In Sweden’s Preschools, Boys Learn to Dance and Girls Learn to Yell” by Ellen Barry (The New York Times)

  • “Holiday Magic Is Made By Women. And It's Killing Us.” by Gemma Hartley (HuffPost)

  • “Women Aren't Nags—We're Just Fed Up” by Gemma Hartley (Harper’s Bazaar)

  • “Why all parents should care about kids and gender” by Julie Scagell (The Washington Post)

  • Video: “50/50” by Garfunkel and Oates (YouTube)

  • “Men Dump Their Anger Into Women” by Emma Lindsay (Medium)

Violence against women and #MeToo

  • “Kavanaugh Is the Face of American Male Rage” by Jessica Valenti (Medium)

  • “Brave Enough to Be Angry” by Lindy West (The New York Times)

  • “Why Are Men So Violent?” by JR Thorpe (Bustle)

  • “Aziz, We Tried to Warn You” by Lindy West (The New York Times)

  • “We Talk About Women Being Raped, Not Men Raping Women” by Valentina Zarya (Jackson Katz, PhD)

  • “I Have Been Raped by Far Nicer Men Than You” by Natalie Degraffinried (Very Smart Brothas)

  • “Paying to stay safe: why women don’t walk as much as men” by Talia Shadwell (The Guardian)

  • Video: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski (YouTube)

  • Podcast: “What’s Wrong With Men?” (To The Best of Our Knowledge)

  • “The Harmless-Sounding Phrase That Is Terrible for All Women” by Karen Rinaldi (Time)

Women’s bodies and health

  • “My wedding was perfect – and I was fat as hell the whole time” by Lindy West (The Guardian)

  • “Miss America Ends Swimsuit Competition, Aiming to Evolve in ‘This Cultural Revolution’” by Matthew Haag and Cara Buckley (The New York Times)

  • “Whatever’s Your Darkest Question, You Can Ask Me.” by Lizzie Presser (Type Investigations)

  • “Nature, Nurture, And Our Evolving Debates About Gender” (Hidden Brain by NPR)

  • Song: “'Thunder Thighs': The Summer Anthem That Celebrates Every Woman” by Samantha Balaban and Karen Gwee (NPR Music)

  • “The Troubling Thing About the “Fit Mom” Instagram Community” by Rebecca Onion (Slate)

  • “The Future of Personhood Nation” by the Editorial Board (The New York Times)

At work

  • “Dear Sheryl, Let’s Stop Giving The Patriarchy A Thumbs Up” by Natalie Shell (Medium)

  • “2 women entrepreneurs who invented a fake male cofounder say acting through him was 'like night and day'“ by Libby Kane (Business Insider)

  • “Donald Trump Is Not Homosexual, But He Is Definitely Homosocial” by Michelangelo Signorile (Huffington Post)

  • “A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women Are Treated Differently at Work” by Stephen Turban, Laura Freeman and Ben Waber (Harvard Business Review)

  • “These cartoons hilariously describe the double standards women face at work every day” by Emily Baines (Hello Giggles)

  • “Poll: Discrimination Against Women Is Common Across Races, Ethnicities, Identities” by Joe Neel (NPR)

  • “Bill Maher Is Stand-up Comedy’s Past. Hannah Gadsby Represents Its Future.” by Matt Zoller Seitz (Vulture)

  • “Meg White Is The 21st Century's Loudest Introvert” by Talia Schlanger (NPR Music)

  • Video: “The Mushroom Hunters: Neil Gaiman’s Feminist Poem About Science, Read by Amanda Palmer” (Brain Pickings)

Other good reads

  • “How Feminist Dystopian Fiction Is Channeling Women’s Anger and Anxiety” by Alexandra Alter (The New York Times)

  • “Emma González Kept America in Stunned Silence to Show How Quickly 17 People Died at Parkland” by Katie Reilly (Time)

  • “Feminist Fairy Tales” by Laura Olin (The Hairpin)

Although I’ve let this book club meet its natural and graceful end, I’ve doubled down on my personal reading (largely as fuel for my personal writing, but also to maintain a sense of self). I actively log my reading over at Goodreads, if you’d like to find me there, and am thoroughly enjoying an ongoing “buddy read” with my best friend Alex. It’s like a book club but better: it’s just two people, so book selections are easy and the chat is informal and fun and unscheduled. We synchronize our library requests and send each other Kindle books to read. It’s lovely. You know I still have a weakness for book clubs though.