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Academic Reading Sources

Feminism Basics


Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls
This document was signed by 68 women and 32 men at the first organized women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.  The document was meant to mirror The Declaration of Independence to include equal rights for women as well as men.

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Published in 1963, this book highlights the experiences of middle-class housewives in the 1950s. It includes interviews of housewives saying that, despite what culture tells them, they are unhappy and unfulfilled in this culturally assigned duty of a certain group of women during this time.

Radical Cultural

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne Rich  
Adrienne Rich discusses is not the natural way of society, and is, in fact, a social construct meant to keep women in a subordinate position to men. She challenges the way in which lesbianism is viewed, or not viewed, by a heterosexual society, particularly heterosexual feminists.

Intersectional Feminism

Feminism is for Everybody by Bell Hooks (book)
bell hooks wrote this book to define feminism and explore the ways in which feminism can be useful for everyone. She states the purpose of feminism, and that is to eliminate sexism, oppression, and sexist exploitation.

Ain’t I A Woman by Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth delivered this speech in 1851 at a women’s convention in Ohio. Truth uses it to speak to her experience with being a black woman who was also a slave. The speech highlights the fact that not all women had/have the same experiences of oppression.

Intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw
Crenshaw coined the term, “intersectionality,” to acknowledge the fact that multiple identities work together for one person to impact their experience in society.  She speaks specifically about women of color and how they experience both racism and sexism, not just one or the other.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs 
Jacobs wrote about her life as a woman and as a slave. She details her journey to freedom and explains how her experiences were very much shaped by institutional racism and sexism. The book was published in 1861.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adichie redefines feminism to be more inclusive. She draws on her own experiences in Nigeria and discusses the institutional sexism that impacts women around the world.

Feminism and Psychology 

Feminism and Psychoanalysis at the Millennium by Juliet Mitchell
Juliet Mitchell argues that psychoanalysis is necessary for understanding and challenging the oppression of women. She argues that psychoanalysis serves as an analysis of patriarchal society.

Psychoanalysis and Feminism by Juliet Mitchell
Juliet Mitchell examines the effect of psychoanalysis on the wave of feminism from the postwar period to poststructuralism. She hypothesizes that psychoanalysis siphoned off the political effects of feminism during this time.

Feminine Psychology by Karen Horney (book)
Horney (pronounced Horn-eye) uses her experience as a therapist to analyze femininity. She discusses topics such as monogamy, maternity, and the neurotic need for love, and more, all while taking into account the power of cultural forces.

Feminism and Sexuality

What Do Women Want? by Daniel Bergner (book)
Bergner challenges preconceived notions of female sexuality using research from behavioral scientists, sexologists, psychologists, and women themselves to answer questions like the impact of political movements on sex and the role of monogamy in the sexuality of women.

Transgender Feminism

Transgender Feminism by Susan Stryker
This work is a critique of the way in which we define what a woman is. Stryker offers the argument that including transwomen within the definition of women make the category “more interesting” and challenges feminists to rethink how we regard gender and sex and our own shortcomings in reinforcing gender normativity.

A Hundred Plus Years of Transgender History by Susan Stryker
This book delves into transgender history from the 1900’s leading up to the 2000’s. A compact yet in depth explanation of the

Boys Do Cry by Noelle Howey         
After the release of Boys Don’t Cry in 2000, Howey attempts to bring attention to violence committed against transgender individuals that are often hidden or ignored in comparison to hate crimes committed against other marginalized queer groups.


A Certain Kind of Freedom-Four essays by Riki Wilchins
Wilchins critiques the gender binary system with a demonstration of how the deconstruction of this system creates new and better understandings of who we are as people. Throughout their work, they bring attention to how gender expression affects how our gender is perceived thereby showing the fragility this logic which our society is based on is since changing how we look doesn’t necessarily indicate our gender.

Doing Gender by Candace West and Don H. Zimmerman
Doing Gender establishes gender as something not inherently achieved but everyone which everyone must work at to maintain the appearance of having through everyday interaction. This is done through distinguishing the differences between sex, sex category, and gender to completely understand our existence within a society which requires us to gender ourselves.

The Invention of Heterosexuality by Jonathan Katz
Jonathan Ned Katz challenges the common notion that the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality has been a timeless one.  Building on the history of medical terminology, he reveals that as late as 1923, the term “heterosexuality” referred to a "morbid sexual passion," and that its current usage emerged to legitimate men and women having sex for pleasure. Drawing on the works of Sigmund Freud, James Baldwin, Betty Friedan, and Michel Foucault, Katz considers the effects of heterosexuality’s recently forged primacy on both scientific literature and popular culture.


Critically Queer by Judith Butler
Butler critique the source of power speech acts such as “I now pronounce you man and wife” have within a heteronormative structure that reinforce the binds that hold binary systems together. The use of theories posited by Foucault and his work on discourse and speech acts is utilized as well as a part of power structures.

Marriage Equality: Assimilationist Victory or Pluralist Defeat? by Courtenay W. Daum
Daum questions whether the advocation for marriage equality furthers the fight for equal rights among the LGBTQ+ community or bends the community to “assimilating into existing legal and sociocultural institutions” set by a heteronormative framework.


There is a GunMAN on Campus by Cliff Leek and Michael Kimmel
Leek and Kimmel argue that an essential part of the discussion of all rampage school shootings is gender following the tragic mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. It is made clear that a violent media culture is evenly spread across the country, yet rampage school shootings are more a regional than a national phenomenon. The majority of violence is actually performed by people who would most likely not receive a mental or psychological diagnosis. Arguments for individual mental illness label the perpetrators as monsters or deranged psychopaths who are clearly exceptions to the overall peaceful culture.

Dude, You’re a Fag by C. J. Pascoe
Through eighteen months of fieldwork, Pascoe dedicates her work to look at masculinity as a sexual and gendered process which regulates sexuality and gender through the spectrum which a person can be assigned to police the expression of one’s identity.

Social Systems

Patriarchy the System by Allen Johnson
Johnson's article identifies the part that each of us takes in participating in a system created by a male-dominated society through social structures and behavior. Johnson is deeply concerned with the misidentification of blame when creating the idea of the system which assigns blame to a select few rather than recognizing every person’s complicity in maintaining the status quo.

Oppression by Marilyn Frye
Frye compares women’s oppression to being trapped in a birdcage in the sense that the bars placed in front of women are a part of a larger system of entrapment that is harder to recognize as a whole. These bars exist for men as well but, according to Frye, is created and maintained by men who largely benefit from it.

Homophobia as a Weapon of Sexism by Suzanne Pharr
Pharr argues that homophobia is created by patriarchal structures which condemn behavior and expression which does not conform to ideal masculinity and instead emulates traditional femininity such as homosexual behavior.


Miss-Representation (Netflix)
Miss Representation exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.

Feminists: What Were They Thinking? (Netflix)
This film addresses multiple issues including identity, abortion, race, childhood, and motherhood through a series of interviews by revisiting a series of photos from 1977 depicting women shedding cultural restrictions. These interviews and photos serve to show that the fight for change is still needed today.

Gender Revolution (Netflix)
This documentary explores gender and its continued expansion and evolution today through a series of interviews with different individuals on their personal stories in hopes of creating a more meaningful and informed discussion on gender.

Online Resources