The Blagger's Guide To: Alternative Father's Day reading
Feminist classics that won't scare your dad
Saturday 15 June 2013
Today is Father's Day, and for weeks publishers have been sending The Blagger their lists of books to buy for Dad. Not one of the lists contained a single book by a woman, and most of them were by, or about, dead white men. But not all dads only want to read bloke books! And so we are rebelling. Here is our list of new feminist classics, some of them published to coincide with the centenary of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison throwing herself under the King's horse at the Derby. We promise that they won't make your dad (or mum, or friend) want to throw themselves under one too.
The Suffragette Derby by Michael Tanner (The Robson Press, £20) describes in detail the "recipe for the most notorious horse race in British history", showing the history behind Davison's fatal intervention, but also finally giving "the attention it deserves" to horse Craganour's controversial disqualification. See, it has sport in it – it won't turn your dad into a girl.
Emily Wilding Davison: A Suffragette's Family Album, by Maureen Howes (The History Press, £12.99) has been compiled by the family of the woman herself. It contains more than 100 photographs and aims to rescue her legacy from the spin of both the government at the time and the Pankhursts.
March, Women, March: Voices of the Feminist Movement from the First Feminist to Votes for Women, by Lucinda Hawksley (Carlton Books, £18.99), has a foreword by Dr Helen Pankhurst, and explores the history of feminism from the 18th century onwards. Hawksley tells the stories of the women who fought for equality, including those who changed the laws about divorce and child custody. A must-read, regardless of gender.
Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, by Marina Warner (Oxford University Press, £25) goes back even further to take stock of the reputation of a woman whose image has been adopted by socialists, feminists, Catholics, the French resistance and the French extreme right. "When Marine Le Pen calls on Joan's name, she needs to be confronted about her abuse of history," Warner writes.
The Independent on Sunday's own feminist figurehead, Joan Smith, has written an update to her 1989 book Misogynies in the "call to arms" The Public Woman (The Westbourne Press, £12.99). The book looks back at what women have achieved, and examines new misogynist abominations such as "honour crimes", female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and Katie Price. The comedian and rationalist Robin Ince described it as "brilliant … a compelling rap sheet of 21st-century misogynies," and he's a man, so it might not scare your dad, honest.
The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio (Jossey Bass, £18.99) is the result of a survey of 64,000 people in 13 countries, two-thirds of whom said that the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. They say that flexibility, empathy, and honesty are traits associated with women … but the authors are men, so how do we know if they're being honest when they say so?
Fifty Shades of Feminism, edited by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach and Rachel Holmes (Virago, £12.99): yes, women are still angry, but some of them are quite funny about it, too. A campaigning, inspiring and surprising book by 50 women – and absolutely no dead white men.
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