Jamia Wilson’s Inclusive Guide to ‘Not Your Mother’s Feminism’


An Intersecting Primer for Next Generation Changemakers
by Jamia Wilson
Illustrated by Aurélia Durand

In 2017, women took to the streets in record numbers. The Women’s March, held the day after Donald Trump took office, was the largest one-day protest in the United States and an international call to arms against misogyny and sexism. This resurgence of feminism has raised related questions: Who can be a feminist and what does it mean to be a feminist today?

Jamia Wilson’s accessible book “This Book Is Feminist” frames the movement as an enlightened collective consciousness. Wilson, executive editor of Random House and former director of Feminist Press, tackles feminism as a living, breathing, malleable entity that holds the key to eradicating systemic oppression and injustice.

For her, there is no feminism without intersectionality. Invented in 1989 The term, as defined by Kimberlé Crenshaw by Wilson, describes “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender that, when applied to an individual or group, create overlapping systems of discrimination.”

Wilson’s 15 short episodes tailored to the interests of young people carefully examine the roots of the feminist movement. Many begin with quotes and include brilliant portraits of activists by Aurélia Durand, from Mary Wollstonecraft to Marsha P. Johnson and Malala Yousafzai. Statistics show inequalities that affect women in terms of nationality, class, race, ability and sexual identity. Journal prompts encourage introspection, and notes and a glossary in keeping back-aid information. Wilson unravels the idea that feminism is “one issue” advocacy. His vision avoids borders and gatekeepers.

Who has the power? Who creates the rules? These questions serve as touchstones throughout. According to Wilson, if knowledge is a form of power, then power is speaking the truth without fear.

Wilson’s personal experiences and past struggles with talentism, racism, misogyny and colorism further explain the complexity of identity. A chapter on health deals with power as “bodily autonomy”. Wilson, who was born with a congenital cataract, highlights how feminism, like disability, is misunderstood and unfairly stigmatized. Stamps impose systemic injustice; To push the needle forward, we sometimes need to reshape outdated thought patterns, including beliefs we see as insurmountable.

A few episodes later, Wilson recounts her relationship with her hair as an African-American woman. After years of trying to conform to harmful social and cultural norms, she regains her natural hair. Durand’s illustrated timeline highlights key moments in Wilson’s journey to spaces that end in self-acceptance and pride. These moments of raw honesty will definitely connect with younger readers. As a Black and Asian woman who has spent years battling her natural hair, I saw myself in Wilson’s hard-earned revelations.

Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “No one is free until everyone is free.” Wilson’s optimistic view of feminism is based on the principle of liberation for all, putting marginalized communities front and center. This essential work promotes equality instead of equality, solidarity instead of actual alliance. But there is no one “right” way to be a feminist. As its history shows, sometimes the ancestors of the movement strengthened rather than broke the chains. But if we stick to collective activism and inclusive organization, we have a chance to kill the Goliaths.


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