A Newcastle based feminist group is urging young women to read more books after the success of the Book Fairies on International Women’s day.
Sisters Uncut Newcastle, a feminist group based in the North East explained why literature is important for young women:
A spokesperson for the group said: “When we see women’s representation in various media outlets, things which are so often reduced to soundbites and images on a screen, we’re being given a conception of women which is superficial in every sense of the word.
“The beauty of books is their unique ability to transport us into the head of their characters, many and varied as they are, all over the world. Books give young girls an opportunity to discover their thoughts, feelings, worries, and dreams without judgement and at their leisure, to discover the world, their place in it, and, if need be, what they can do to change it.”
Book Fairies is a non-profit organisation that collects books for people in need. Emma Watson, an actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador is a huge part of the organisation, and lead their mission on International Women’s Day (IWD) to leave feminist books on inspirational female monuments around the world.
Cordelia, Director of The Book Fairies, explained what they got up to.
She said: “The Book Fairies had 1,200 copies of books from Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf book club to share around the world. We chose to hide the books at landmarks and monuments of significance to women and the feminist movement.
“Emma hid books around NYC and shared videos and photos online – with details about the importance of the places she visited. In total we hid books in 26 different countries around the globe and it really made an impact on International Women’s Day.”
Cordelia believes that young girls reading about heroic female characters is important. She added: “It shows young girls and women that they can dream, that they can do more with their lives. There are so many books aimed at children that show heroes, and it’s great that more and more show women in heroic roles too.”
Although Sisters Uncut said “while I saw a few posts on social media about the day being ‘pointless’, most people seemed very supportive,” they also expressed that looking back at the day as a success is “a problematic term; it implies there was a set goal for the day, as if the efforts weren’t part of a longstanding political, historical tradition.”
Although IWD is a day to celebrate and push the feminist movement, it is a small part of the constant, daily efforts by feminists everywhere.
If you want some inspiration on what books to read, or give to your daughters, Cordelia and Sisters Uncut have talked about their favourites.
Cordelia has a book that stands out for her as a piece of literature that women should read, which is Pride and Prejudice. Although she says, “this may not immediately stand out as a feminist book”, the reason why she picked it is because “Elizabeth Bennet thinks for herself and does not settle for anything she isn’t happy with. She longs for love above all, and takes her time to get there.
One of the books that Sisters Uncut believes are important for young women are Gone with the Wind because “Scarlett O’Hara’s blind tenacity is as much a strength as a foible, and her bull-headed determination is admirable.”
Another recommended book from Sisters Uncut is Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics, “a beautiful, thick book which provides brief sketches of radical women from across the world throughout history alongside Disney-esque illustrations.”
You can find out more about the Book Fairies at their website, ibelieveinbookfairies.com