Motivational Reads

“Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good,” by adrienne maree brown

How do we make social justice a pleasurable path of healing and happiness, exploding the myth that changing the world is work? The author challenges us to rethink the rules of activism. The book features insights from feminists about subjects from sex work to climate change.

“Why Does Patriarchy Persist?,” by Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider

Gilligan and Snider explore the resilience of  patriarchy  and  examine the psychology of men and women that establishes codes for behavior. Humans have natural empathy and compassion, and the hierarchy and inequities of the patriarchal structure leads men to be emotionally detached. The  book  offers a better understanding of what we are trying to dismantle.

“The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls” by Mona Eltahawy

Eltahawy builds tools for changing the patriarchal perspective and structure, outlined chapter by chapter as: anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, lust. She lays a groundwork for women to break the barriers that involve being seen as well-behaved, submissive, objects — never seekers — of desire. It includes an account of her own protest of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, when she was beaten by police.

“Hope in the Struggle,” a memoir by Josie R. Johnson, told with Carolyn Holbrook and Arleta Little

This story about a pivotal Minnesota educator, activist, and public servant, traces Josie Johnson’s entry point into the state in 1956 as a young mother. “As I became more knowledgeable about Minnesota’s history of denying Blacks the right to vote, hold political office, and serve on juries, it became increasingly clear that we had a lot of work ahead of us. Discrimination was not limited to the Southern states.”

Johnson was part of the team that made Minnesota the first state to pass a fair housing bill. She worked with the Urban League, was the first Black person on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents — where she helped establish an office focused on minority affairs and diversity — and was co-chair of the African American DFL Caucus.

Details: Johnson will be in conversation with De’Vonna Pittman at the Black Authors Expo on October 19.

“Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger,” by Rebecca Traister

After the women’s movement of the 1970s and 1980s shifted, the word “feminist” became an insult and, in response, women toned down their anger. In order for anyone to listen, rhetoric was agreeable and corrections to injustice were kindly suggested rather than screamed about. Powerful, contemporary women have essentially

gained power by tacitly agreeing not to tear down white male patriarchy or risk being cast as angry outsiders. This book is about embracing anger as action.

— compiled by Mikki Morrissette