Fun Feminist Essays: What to Read if You Like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham

You've read Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham and The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, so what next if you like your nonfiction feminist and funny? I have a few recent items that just might fit the bill.

Most recent is Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran. In these essays, some from her newspaper column and some written specifically for this book, Moran explains why austerity is bad for libraries and therefore people, the poor are smarter, and how Benedict Cumberbatch is just too good for this world. She also defends socialism and women's reproductive rights all while keeping her explosive good humor. Near the end, she includes her own manifesto (just for now, she insists, because if you don't ever change your mind there's something wrong) and encourages her readers to come up with their own. Not a bad idea, that; maybe when I finish this blog post....

While not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as Moran, Roxane Gay uses her trenchant wit in Bad Feminist. Gay tries to reconcile loving pink and Sweet Valley High novels with her loathing of racial tokenism in Hollywood, the trivialization of women's literature, and rape culture in general. Being of middle-class Haitian descent, Gay has a unique point of view, and one definitely worth listening to.

Sady Doyle's Trainwreck explores the eponymous narrative in the lives of famous women. Ranging from Mary Wollstonecraft (more famous in her day for her "bad" behavior than the minor detail that she wrote Frankenstein) to Hillary Clinton, Doyle discusses how society puts curbs on all women by the way it treats the ones who gain its scrutiny. With women who do not wither under the castigation of society (think Clinton again), Doyle makes it clear that the actual crimes of these women are not whatever socially unacceptable acts they committed, but that they are visible, vocal, and female. With compassion for her subjects and satire of the society that shames them, Sady Doyle has made a delightful debut.

You Don't Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent should be required reading for the Digital Native set. Of course, those of us who are older will get a kick out of it, too. Nugent is a proud feminist, and she includes in these essays a Q&A on correct feminist behavior that is a lot funnier than it might sound. Nugent does not spare herself, either. There are bits about body image and unfortunate wardrobe choices as well as how to deal with judgmental sales clerks when buying Plan B. Skewering societal misconceptions on what feminism is and who is a feminist, Nugent points out the importance (and fun) of standing up for women's rights.

While not as recent as the above books, I felt I had to include Sarah Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot. In addition to being a contributor to NPR,  Vowell is a history nerd, and most of these essays have to do with her travels, whether to Carlsbad Caverns and the Underground Luncheonette or various presidential libraries. However, she also deals with being a twin, her conservative upbringing, and life under a Republican administration. As a friend of Vowell's points out, humor is how we cope, and Vowell copes very, very well.

More nonfiction feminist fun? Tell us about it in the comments.