10 Essential Feminist Texts That Everyone Should Read

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, a book that, as the Times put it, “ignited the contemporary women’s movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world.” To celebrate the book’s anniversary, we’ve put together a list of ten essential feminist reads, from fiction and poetry to essays and nonfiction dissections. Read through our picks after the jump — and since there are so many more than ten important feminist texts worthy of pressing into any friend’s hands, add your own favorites to our list in the comments.


The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan

Friedan’s 1963 investigation into “the problem that has no name” — that is, the unrepentant unhappiness she found among housewives — is one of the most influential books of the 20th century, and is generally credited with being the catalyst for the rise of second-wave feminism in the United States.