A review of Wilson, J. (2021 ). THIS BOOK IS FEMINIST, An Intersectional Primer for Next-Gen Changemakers. (Illustrated by Aurélia Durand). Francis Lincoln Children’s Books, 160 pages, $9.50.
Do you have a young patient, or even someone in your daily life, who is looking to explore feminism and activism? If you are around Gen Z, those approximately ages 13-24, you probably do. According to Pew Research, Gen Z is uniquely open to emerging social trends and a liberal set of attitudes around identity. Compared to older generations, Gen Z is more likely to recognize racism, support activism, desire female politicians, and understand gender neutrality.
For Gen Z-ers who want to learn about feminism, I highly recommend THIS BOOK IS FEMINIST. Geared towards tweens and teens, this book is brightly illustrated and contains 15 short chapters, tailor-made for young attention spans. Each chapter looks at feminism through the lens of topics such as media, activism, health, and wellness. Jamia Wilson shares her own experience with many issues related to feminism and includes quotes from such prominent feminists as Malala Yousafzai and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Throughout, the book thoughtfully examines the interconnected nature of social categorizations, such as race, class, gender, and disability.
The author does not preach or tell the readers what feminism is or isn’t. Rather, through sharing her story as well as those of others, she helps the readers examine their own experiences and beliefs. Each chapter ends with prompts that encourage critical thinking. There are global prompts that encourage the readers to examine the world around them, such as comparing dress code requirements in boys vs. girls’ sports or investigating who owns media companies. Other prompts encourage self-reflection and could be used as a therapeutic tool to help young patients explore personal thoughts, experiences and feelings surrounding complex constructs such as gender, power and identity. The end of the chapter on media, for example, asks readers to reflect on their experiences with online harassment and how it has impacted their relationship to power.
As the trends indicate, Gen Z cares about issues surrounding identity, gender and social justice. Therefore, it’s important to have resources on hand that can help young people explore these big topics. Jamia Wilson and Aurelie Durand’s collaboration is one such resource. Either as a therapeutic aid, or simply a gift for the Gen Z-er in your life, THIS BOOK IS FEMINIST is a colorful, inclusive and optimistic introduction to feminism.