Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Can We All Be Feminists? edited by June Eric-Udorie

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“As timely as it is well-written, this clear-eyed collection is just what I need right now.”
—Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreami                   

“The intersectional feminist anthology we all need to read.”—Bustle

“In an eloquent and searing introduction, debut editor Eric-Udorie . . . calls to mind a young Audre Lorde, and her anthology feels like a 21st-century version of This Bridge Called My Back.”
Kirkus Reviews

In the wake of her 2012 Ted Talk of the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book We Should All Be Feminists sold hundreds of thousands of copies and became a touchstone of feminist literature. But in the lead-up to last year’s historic Women’s March, it became clear that there were serious divisions within the movement—between women of color and white women, and between younger and older feminists—that begged the question: can we all be feminists? 

CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS? (Penguin Books Original; On-sale: September 25, 2018; 9780143132370) is the first of its kind: a definitive anthology on intersectional feminism. Edited by feminist activist, writer, and current Duke University student June Eric-Udorie, it lifts up the voices of Black, queer, trans, Latinx, and non-gender-conforming writers, putting them at the center of a conversation too often focused on the needs and priorities of cis-hetero, upper-middle class white women. 

CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS? invites this brilliant group of diverse young writers to explore their relationships with feminism through the lenses of their particular identities and experiences, confronting issues of exclusion and discrimination and asking how we can create a feminism that is truly for all. Essays include:
  • Gabby Bellot on trans-exclusionary feminism
  • Brit Bennett on Christianity and the black female body
  • Nicole Dennis-Benn on internalizing the harmful way society treated her as a black lesbian, and how the beautifully loud, defiant Jamaican singer Lady Saw taught her to be unapologetic
  • Evette Dionne on intersectionality in the Black Lives Matter movement, including #SayHerName, which focuses on the women and girls killed by police brutality.
  • Mariya Karimjee on adapting to white culture for the comfort of others as a Pakistani immigrant growing up in Texas, and how coming to terms with her identity as an adult affected her relationship with her white best friend.
  • Frances Ryan on the exclusion of people with disabilities from discussions of major issues within mainstream feminism, from healthcare access to reproductive rights to domestic violence.
  • Selina Thompson on fat activism’s role in ending the “default body” lens that modern feminism often maintains.
  • Juliet Jacques on trans-feminism and film, demonstrating the importance of increased representation of trans and gender non-conforming people in pop culture to developing more evolved language and political movements.
Together, these fearless, challenging, and galvanizing essays in CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS? form a crucial primer for readers seeking to challenge their own worldview and better understand their privilege, and a powerful and affirming recognition for those who will (perhaps for the first time) see their own adversities represented.


June Eric-Udorie is a twenty-year-old British writer and feminist activist. Named Elle UK’s “Female Activist of the Year” for 2017, she has been included on lists of influential and inspiring women by the BBC, the Guardian, and more. A co-founder of “Youth for Change,” an initiative that works to combat female genital mutilation and forced marriage around the world, her advocacy has taken her to classrooms, the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival, the United Nations, and more. In 2015, she spearheaded a successful campaign to overturn the British government’s decision to remove feminism from the nationally mandated A-level (high school) politics syllabus; more recently, she raised funds to take five hundred underprivileged girls and young women of color to see the film Hidden Figures. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the IndependentNew Statesman, the TelegraphESPN The Magazine, and Fusion, among others. She is currently an undergraduate at Duke University, where she is a recipient of the University Scholars merit scholarship, established by Melinda French Gates, and a Human Rights Scholar at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

my thoughts:

A must-read for feminists, Can We All Be Feminists? is an important and illuminating anthology that will shed light on intersectional feminism by calling into question just what feminism really is.  I absolutely LOVED reading these sharp and thought-provoking essays - they inspired me to reflect on my own introduction to feminism and how that term has broadened over the years, but still remains rather limiting. I really enjoyed learning about these writers' personal perspectives regarding feminism, how it related to them, and the issues at large with regards to the term itself.  I found myself jotting down notes, highlighting passages, and just taking in all of these powerful thoughts. 

The writing in this collection of essays is top notch - smart, personal, authentic, and eye-opening.  Topics range from race, immigration, abortion, religion, and disability.   So many important issues are explored and shown to be integral to feminism's agenda.  Feminism is deemed a broad term, but truthfully it is narrow in scope and this anthology shows us how important it is to rectify those limitations and redefine its meaning to be inclusive.  This book is just what we need right now in today's political and social climate - it is a great introduction of feminism to the newbies and a definitive push for the first, second, and third wave feminists to broaden their minds when it comes to intersectionality and identity.  Talk about food for thought - this book has it all.

I can't wait to read this book all over again - its seriously that good.  And I can't wait to recommend Can We All Be Feminists? to friends and family - they are going to LOVE learning all about intersectional feminism.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!


bermudaonion said...

You're looking forward to a re-read already? Wow, this must be great!

Lisa said...

Definitely adding this one to the TBR!

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Kathy, I know, I am. It really was such a great book of essays - loved them all!

Lisa, definitely add it and let me know what you think :)