June Feminist Reads


our chief of chatting, alex is back with another feminist reads! 

Circe - Madeline Miller 

Often regarded one of the most powerful witches in greek mythology, Miller brings Circe’s story to life. Once voiceless and powerless, Circe transforms into a force to be reckoned with. Classic greek mythology greats, such as Odysseus, Jason and Pasiphae are for the first time cast aside and depicted as merely side characters. Circe is abused, degraded and used by those around her and she reclaims her power anyway she can (turning those who seek to abuse her into pigs). Miller rewrites the history of Circe in a beautiful way, finally allowing her agency and control of her own life. 

Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 

Their eyes were watching God recites the life story of Janie. Brought up by her grandmother, Nanny, a former slave, Janie is indoctrinated to believe the traditional roles of women and their place as wives. Janie tells us her life story and with it the many men which sought to control and define her, and then the one that didn’t. Her husbands Logan and Jody expect Janie to be a subservient wife, simply an object they own. When Janie meets and falls in love with Tea Cake she realises she can be equal within her relationships. This novel truly captures Janies journey for independence and self expression, in which she truly finds it. 

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 

Probably the most recognised love story in “classic” literature. It recognises that marriage is simultaneously a trap but also a woman’s only chance to achieve economic stability. Austen explores the burden of being born a woman at the time and the restrictions posed upon them. Elizabeth’s character challenges and revolts against marriage as a contract and instead marries for love. While mainly looking at the issues of class and gender, it is a classic british feminist text that’s an excellent place to start if you’re fresh to feminist “classics”! 

The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

An unnamed women narrates this short story. She recounts her experience being taken away to the countryside to treat her depression. Held in solitary confinement, undergoing the “rest cure” the narrator has a slow descent into madness, imaging a woman trapped inside the yellow wallpaper. Her psychosis gets worse, becoming more urgent and frantic in her narration. Her story and the story of the woman trapped in the wallpaper relays societies view of hysteria at the time. Not only is she subservient to her husband but the medical profession which deems her only option to be cured is to rest. Ironically, this is what leads her to destroy the wallpaper, free the woman trapped inside and subsequently herself.

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