The 2017 Time Person of the Year was announced last week and it could not have gone to anyone more deserving: the silence breakers. For the past few months, more and more women (and men!) have come forward, sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of some of the most powerful men in our culture. From politicians to movie producers, these people have continually used their power and clout in ways that pressured and compromised those less powerful than them. In the past, women and men who came forward have been shunned, ignored or silenced. But this year, they’ve managed to start a revolution, unseating men from the most prestigious positions and demanding that they be held accountable for their actions.
We know a lot about these silence breakers. They’re brave, they’re from all walks of life, and in some cases they’re risking everything to come forward. These are the women who started the #MeToo movement, the actresses and actors who have shared their experiences regardless of the backlash, and the citizens who are making the harrowing choice of standing up to those more powerful. But no matter what, these are true heroes and we commend Time for recognizing them as such.
It also turns out that many of them are authors. There’s actress Ashley Judd, who was the first major star to come out against Harvey Weinstein. Her memoir All That is Bitter and Sweet was published in 2012. There’s news anchor Megyn Kelly and her memoir, Settle for More, which came out just last year. Kelly accused Roger Ailes, former CEO of Fox News, of sexual assault, and she also publicly condemned Bill O’Reilly and went to FOX executives about his behavior. There’s
Terry Crews, star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, who was groped by agent Adam Venit at an event and is now suing both him and William Morris Endeavor. His book, Manhood, came out three years ago. And then there’s Dr. Wendy Walsh, a frequent guest of Fox News, who alsoshared her story about being harassed by Bill O’Reilly. Walsh has written several books, including The 30-Day Love Detox.
It goes to show that these silence breakers aren’t just brave: they’re talented and diverse, and they deserve to have their voices heard. We’re more than ready to support any author who’s willing to stand up for what’s right. On that note, here are 5 new books that are inspiring, empowering, and necessary reads for anyone trying to understand how we got here:
Brave, Rose McGowan
McGowan has long been vocal in Hollywood about her treatment as a woman, including when her agent dropped her for speaking out against sexism. She was also paramount in helping to expose Harvey Weinstein, who sexually assaulted her in a hotel room early in her career (they reached a settlement in 1997). She’s also called out other actors, like Ben Affleck, for knowing what was going on and doing nothing. Her memoir, Brave, comes out January 30th, and it’s an unflinching look at McGowan’s life, particularly her time in Hollywood. While fame and society were trying to wedge her into one box, McGowan rebelled, determined to make her own path. A harsh reality of what it means to live in the spotlight, Brave is an honest look at how the actress found – and held onto – her voice as a woman and an activist.
Together We Rise, Women’s March Organizers & Conde Nast
No event represents the modern feminist movement quite like the Women’s March, where around 500,000 women descended on Washington last year to advocate for women’s rights (and environmental and human rights). And that was just in the capital – there were marches across the country and even worldwide, with an estimated 5 million people participating. To celebrate the upcoming anniversary in January, the organizers of the march have put together a collection of essays, photographs, and insights that honor and celebrate the historical event. Hear from authors like Roxane Gay, actors like America Ferrera, and get behind-the-scenes stories about how it all came together in the first place.
Women & Power, Mary Beard
Known for her thoughtful writing and powerful nonfiction, Beard returns with a searing look at what it means to be a women, both historically and socially. She tackles the concept of misogyny by looking at where it came from, tracing woman’s place in society from early works of literature to our modern perception of women in power. Beard looks at how that power has been continually undermined for women, and what it would take for us to have a society that actually values a woman’s voice. Women & Power weaves together Beard’s own personal experiences with the larger ramifications of what it means to be a woman in today’s world.
Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado
The paperback version of Machado’s powerful collection of short stories came out in October, and we were first in line at the bookstore. Blending reality, science fiction, fantasy and horror, Machado hops around genres in order to tell a fundamental truth about women and how our bodies have shaped us. While she never flinches away from the grotesque, the real horror in Machado’s work is about the violence and violation that is so often inflicted upon women’s bodies (particularly that of LGBTQ women). From stories examining a world-ending plague to a novella reimagining episodes from Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, this is a collection that’s powerful, challenging, and a strong examination of the female experience.
Enough As She Is, Rachel Simmons
The full title of Simmons’ latest parenting book is, Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives. An expert on how young women are socialized, Simmons’ breaks down a major problem that modern girls are facing: they’re soaring academically, while suffering from high levels of anxiety, depression, and the feeling that they’ll never be good enough. While young boys are encouraged to take risks, girls are pushed to achieve but aren’t taught true confidence. Based on years of research, Simmons’ lays out the larger problems, while offering plenty of concrete advice for parents on how to handle the envy that social media creates, how to help girls stop over-thinking, and so much more.
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