The best books on patriarchy 📚

Browse the best books on the patriarchy as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Stone Butch Blues: A Novel

Stone Butch Blues: A Novel

By Leslie Feinberg

Why this book?

This powerful and intense novel is based on Leslie Feinberg’s life, growing up butch, lesbian, working-class, and Jewish in small-town New York in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, and later coming out as both transgender and a communist revolutionary. This book is an intimate look at gender, race, and class from someone who lived on the front lines of these struggles.

From the list:

The best books for challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy

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Book cover of A Republic of Men: The American Founders, Gendered Language, and Patriarchal Politics

A Republic of Men: The American Founders, Gendered Language, and Patriarchal Politics

By Mark E. Kann

Why this book?

While other scholars have focused on how various definitions of womanhood influenced the formation of the United States’ political and legal systems, Mark Kann pays closer attention to how perceptions of manhood shaped the creation of the U.S. during the early republic. In A Republic of Men, Kann contends that the U.S.’s founders sought to establish a republic based on male authority and female subordination. During the early years of the republic, as Kann describes it, political and legal authorities connected white men to productivity and reason while linking all women to inherent weakness and dependency. I found Kann’s…

From the list:

The best books for understanding how gender has shaped the history of citizenship in the United States

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Book cover of Too Much Flesh and Jabez

Too Much Flesh and Jabez

By Coleman Dowell

Why this book?

The only male author on this list, Coleman Dowell’s Southern Gothic tale is included because it contains some of the most nuanced writing of female characters I’ve ever encountered. Too Much Flesh tells the narrative of a well-endowed farmer named Jim, his petite wife Effie, and a young man, Jabez, whose mutual obsession with Jim leads to, well, something of a frenetic climax. A story within a story, the tale is told to us by a “spinster schoolteacher” (the book was published in 1977), Miss Ethel, who channels her sexual repression into this story of the farmer.

Neither Miss Ethel…

From the list:

The best speculative fiction books for dismantling the patriarchy

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Book cover of Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us

Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us

By Kate Bornstein

Why this book?

Growing up as a hardcore tomboy, the gender binary issue has always been a challenge for me. Why do I have to choose between male or female? I resent being given only one gender with no option to explore a spectrum of gender possibilities. The gender battle is raging at the forefront of American politics. If you don’t understand the debate, this is a great book to start with to learn more about gender and identity. The writing is bold, courageous, and hilarious, and does a great job of smashing gender conformity.

From the list:

The best books to ignite the revolution, smash patriarchy, and bring on the love

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Book cover of When God Was a Woman

When God Was a Woman

By Merlin Stone

Why this book?

Understanding the foundations of current social breakdown needs the strength to challenge our most sacred assumptions. With the rise of large societies, authoritarian rule, and monotheism, came the claim of a 6,000-year-old universe and the emergence of a “God” with “male gender.” Before the emancipation of women in western society around the turn of the last century, most archeologists were also males. Conveniently, the discovery of large amounts of female artifacts was “casually” left out of the story. Stone turns this taboo on its head. This new viewpoint opened many doors to understand why past societies fell apart, and new…

From the list:

The best books to understand the impending collapse of global civilization

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Book cover of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

By Leonard Shlain

Why this book?

In this book, Shlain reveals his unusual take on the power of images throughout history. His discussion using contemporary ideas about our creative right-brain side brings interesting connections between the Goddess, images, and feminine values. Shlain's earlier book, Art & Physics was very popular expressing his breakthrough theory, ad revealing an astonishing parallel with these two seemingly different topics. I find that books like this, not dedicated to learning specific painting techniques, end up being more helpful towards how I think as an artist. A good writer, it is easy to read and very inspiring.

From the list:

The best art books for painters to stay creative

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