Gender equality is not a new concept, at least now. People have been discussing gender and all other ideas associated with it all the way to the 21st century. In the present century, however, the discourse has changed dramatically. Women have started to talk more freely. The publication of books like She Said, Know My Name, and Rage Becomes Her are living proofs that the discourse is changing for good. And that’s why I am making a list of 5 women authors you must read ASAP! Though there are primarily 1-book-fame authors on the list, you can explore other titles from them (if there are any) or explore other books by other authors that you find close to the ones listed here. And these authors, even with their solo publications, have stirred a change… a chain reaction that will reach many (and has already touched many).
Rebecca Skloot: You may know her name already if you follow trends in literature. Famous for her book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, 2010, Rebecca has caused major discourse in the world of medical tests. Her book is based on the true story of a woman whose cells were used for research without her consent or knowledge. The practices that the book discusses may not be new. However, now the world is talking about these things more freely. So, if you want to read someone who engendered a new life to the discourse around consent and prior knowledge for science ‘puppets’ to know they are being subjected to what and how, read the author!
Soraya Chemaly: Famous for the publication of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, Soraya’s writings, talks, articles, and works always emphasise the role of women in culture, politics, and even media. To know her thoughts and ideas on how women can harness their anger for a ‘positive’ impact, you need to read her book. Well, many may argue, her ideas are not everyone’s cup of tea (for many reasons). Chemaly’s book has sold many copies and has inspired many around the world to speak up, be angry and charged up against ‘advances’ made to them.
Dr Haseena Chokkiyil: The name is relatively new to be featured on any list of women authors that features Chemaly and Skloot. However, it had to be here, exactly at the place I am trying to posit. Dr Haseena’s debut work (and the thesis that she presents in her work through stories and advice) can be juxtaposed against Chemaly’s methods of harnessing anger. In her debut (and only as of now) work, The Kintsugi Moms, Dr Haseena suggests that leaving the past behind with a lesson and moving forward with acceptance and forgiveness can bring wonderful changes in life. Her book features single mothers who have dared to defy the almost accepted fate and decided to stand back on their feet with more power and determination.
Chanel Miller: The universities are also not free of crime against women. However, there is no news; or victims seldom speak up (again, for many reasons). It was the case until Chanel Miller’s memoir became a sensational hit (a bestselling book) in which she spoke up about sexual assault that she suffered when unconscious. She openly named the culprit, Brock Turner. Know My Name: A Memoir is the book by Chanel Miller and it has been a bestseller. You can read the book to know more.
Shobha De: Though many readers may seldom know the phenomenon that Shobha De was in the 1990s and the change she brought to Indian English literature, Shobha’s contributions will always be credited to those who seriously follow literature and the colours it assumes. Shobha De has written many novels. Her major achievement was making the forbidden the mainstream. Before Shobha, Kamala Das tried the same (but with certain reservations). Today, movies and books are openly discussing the sexual desires of women. In those days when Shobha was on a writing spree, it took courage to discuss the themes she transformed into full-length novels. Read her novels to understand more about her portrayals of women (and the idea behind them).
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