Actress and comedian Jenny Slate has been winning! She had us all in stitches on Parks and Recreation as Mona-Lisa Saperstein and since then, she’s starred in a variety of shows and movies like Lady Dynamite, Zootopia, and Girls. Last week, Slate not only debuted an Old Navy holiday ad, she also announced that she is writing her first book: a collection of feminist essays and fables.
Though she’s a very funny lady on-screen, Slate has always been very serious, and outspoken on her opinions about feminism and womanhood. Slate clearly defines herself as a woman who’s life and success are her own, even responding to queries that her relationship with actor Chris Evans may be a benefit of fame. “There are so many women spoken about in terms of who their partners are. It’s not the way we should be seeing women or how many women see themselves.”
Now, she’s bringing her thoughts and perspectives to us with her upcoming book. Many people have written feminist essays, but how many can say they’ve written feminist fables?
Fables are stories involving anthropomorphized elements of nature or animals that lead to a particular moral lesson, the most famous of which are Aesop’s Fables. If the idea of feminist fables sounds like it might be complicated to write, we think so too; but with Slate behind the wheel, it’s all but guaranteed to be amazing.
Why delve into such a complicated-sounding genre? Slate explains how her book examines womanhood in a misogynistic culture by drawing parallels between the experiences of women and animals who are preyed upon by other animals in their natural habitat.
The book will be published in 2019 by Little, Brown and Company. Below is a list of similar books that you can enjoy in the meantime!
Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit
In her original, scathingly witty essay Men Explain Things to Me, Solnit’s experience inspired the word “mansplaining” to come into use and popularity. In this brilliant essay collection, Solnit takes a global look at the epidemic of violence and prejudice aimed against women for being women. This book is brutal in its honesty and those looking for a lighthearted feminist perspective will have to look elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged from reading this book; Solnit’s perspective is one that is universal, and should be shared universally.
Sister, Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Audre Lorde
There can be no true list of feminist books that doesn’t include Audre Lorde. The “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” has long been a champion for women’s rights. In this collection of her essays and speeches, she tackles blatant sexism, intersectionality, homophobia, racism, ageism, and a host of other social issues. Her writing is as lyrical and beautiful as she is wise and she ultimately ends on notes of hope. This book will always be vitally important and should be considered a must-read for anyone who wants to talk about the issues of today.
Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, Carmen Maria Machado
These might not be essays but the stories are just as relevant and poignant as any essay could be. Crossing the boundary of a variety of genres, Macho’s stories are shaped around the very real and horrific violence that is visited on women’s bodies. While this is a debut, it seems like it’s been written by a master novelist. Changing paces with every story, Machado changes from sexy and sultry, to deathly serious, and even traumatizing. There is no other word to describe this collection other than ‘exquisite.’
Post-partum depression is still something of a taboo topic for many women, and families. There is an expectation, driven my media, culture, and social norms, that when women become pregnant and give birth, they are instantly happy, and fulfilled. But this is not the case; not now, in the past, or in the future. Elif Shafak, one of the most beautifully, brilliant writers in the world, wrote this book in 2012, after giving birth to her child, and plummeting into depression. Looking at other female writers, such as Virginia Woolf, and Alice Walker, Shafak navigates her way through her new maternal role, writing in a male-dominated society, and creativity, in this eloquent and poignant book.
View Slate’s Old Navy commercial:
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