It’s happened, I’ve come to a point where the dam against my obsessive feminist passions has burst and now it must all spill forth onto this page. I’m sure upon seeing the title ‘Second-Wave Feminist Fiction’ most people will go ‘uuh..no thanks,’ as would I have, but these books aren’t rants against men or manifestos on the benefits of living bra-free. These are fantastic works of fiction which came from authors who spoke about and wrote on women’s issues and feminism in the mid-to-late 20th Century and onwards.
The three I have chosen here all follow a broad theme of sexuality, with Nin’s text being the most explicit by far. I think the ways in which female sexuality is explored and described in these texts is incredibly interesting – simply acknowledging its existence is a step forward from where we tend to still get stuck, culturally. Each of these is based in a reality somewhat shifted from our own (from Atwood’s horrifying, dystopian future to Carter’s world of fantasy and magic) which I think is rather telling in that these texts require a certain distance from the reader in order to gain their power and brilliant – is it possible the extreme distance of environment was necessary for readers to draw similarities to their own lives? Even if feminism isn’t quite your thing, each of these is still really quite a brilliant read. Continue reading