I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We should act more like the British.
Their better acting, accents and architecture aside, today we’re going to focus on the culture that gave us Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling — and now, a pop-up bookstore in London, called “Like A Woman,” with titles from exclusively women authors.
According to an article by The Guardian, the literary house Penguin will partner with the bookseller Waterstones to bring the pop-up store to London, March 5-9, in honor of International Women’s Day and to commemorate the centennial of the Representation of the People Act, which allowed women in Britain to vote.
The pop-up store will sort books using various categories from “women to watch” to “essential feminist reads,” among others, according to the article.
In an earlier, unrelated editorial for the Penguin literary blog, British novelist and columnist Caitlin Moran wrote about how reading books by female authors as a child (rather than books about women, written by men) allowed her to see diverse representations of women, rather than representations that were often sexualized or unrealistic. It wasn’t a conscious choice to only read female authors, Moran admitted, but it helped shape her worldview.
These books were so important, Moran explained, because it showed her that women could be so many different things — rather than having the explicit and singular literary purpose of appealing to men.
These reasons — seeing diverse types of female characters, finding your own favorite feminist books or simply just getting to find new, really awesome things to read — are exactly why we need to make the feminist bookstore a more popular (not just pop-up) thing.
The books that Moran references reading are mainly literary classics: “Pride and Prejudice,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Jane Eyre” and “Little Women,” but ignoring these staples, there are so many new books published by women (about very diverse types of women) that have been published in recent years and a bookstore that highlights these both offers the chance to interact with old favorite characters and make new ones.
With feminist bookstores, we can have access to books from these (badassery-confirmed) authors with new perspectives.
Some may bring out the “millennials are snowflakes” argument to say that a “feminist bookstore” seems especially...shall we say...niche; but I’d argue that, if we don’t have a place to display these books, then where are we ever to have the chance of finding them?