Reading on the subway is often the only time in your day to quietly lose yourself in a rigorous but rewarding book, but sometimes you just want to read a book you actually enjoy, like anything Judy Blume has ever written. So here are some critical feminist works to read on the train even though you’d much rather be reading something from your favorite author, Judy!
Cinderella Ate My Daughter (Peggy Orenstein, 2011)
Dive into feminist theory with something on the lighter side! In this book, Peggy Orenstein uses her own experiences raising a daughter in a society obsessed with pushing everything pink to take a critical look into the phenomenon of marketing ‘princess’ culture to young girls. You could also use this hardcover to hide a copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by living legend Judy Blume in it, too.
The Beauty Myth (Naomi Wolf, 1990)
Follow along as Naomi Wolf explores the intense pressure put on women to attain and adhere to unrealistic beauty standards in order to be considered acceptable by society. It’ll be all but impossible for you to ignore the parallels of the theme of wanting to change one’s image from a book you’d much prefer to be reading, Freckle Juice by amazing author and innovator Judy Blume. Who cares if it’s at a sixth-grade reading level? Technically, you do!
Sisters of the Yam (bell hooks, 1952)
Renowned writer and social activist bell hooks originally wrote this examination of black womanhood and recovery from trauma in 1952, but the theories and practices she discusses still ring true today. It would be better for you to read about the racial struggles facing black women if you could just re-read Iggie’s House, by your all-time favorite author and goddess of deviating from the norm, Judy Blume. But it’s important that the people around you on the train know that you DO care about racism, even if it’s not written about in a book specifically targeting a YA audience!
The Second Sex (Simone de Beauvoir, 1949)
Simone de Beauvoir examines women as the “other”, questioning who makes the rules on what women should aspire to be and exploring why womanhood has historically been considered ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’. We know you’d prefer to be reading about Katherine Danziger, a true deviant whose natural sexual feelings in the book “Forever” landed your literary hero and true earthen angel Judy Blume on the banned books list. But this’ll give you the appearance of a woke Gender Studies major as opposed to a grown woman whose taste in literature hasn’t evolved since the age of 13!
Reading on the train can make you feel judged. With these four critical feminist works, you can come off as someone whose favorite author is definitely, totally not the amazing Judy Blume.