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Representation for Reclamation: An Introductory Resource List for Decommercializing and Reclaiming Feminism

By: Jordan Allums ’21, Sarah Doyle Center Co-Curricular Development Summer Intern and senior studying Political Science

Point Richmond, CA

Dear readers, 

My name is Jordan Allums and I am a senior at Brown studying political science. This summer, I worked with the Sarah Doyle Center as the Co-Curricular Development intern to curate a list of resources to serve their programming around gender and feminism. I did this work in tandem with Elon and Ope, the two Digital Communications interns, and drew a lot of inspiration from their themed social media content. At the beginning of the internship, I planned to focus on Black feminist theory, but as I got deeper into my research I felt a need to highlight a diversity of topics to address some urgent needs I observed in our current moment. Namely, I decided to focus on self-care, affirming trans women, and uplifting dark-skinned Black women. These nuanced approaches to my work allowed me to expand this list beyond simply defining or diagnosing certain issues, but rather deconstruct and reframe the ways we understand them. I envision this list being used to critically analyze mainstream feminism, note where it’s lacking, and hopefully present a better way forward. 

I want to be transparent about my identity and how that may have influenced this list. I am a light-skinned, cis-heterosexual, middle-class,  able-bodied Black woman. Being that I am discussing identities that I myself do not claim, I accept responsibility for any biases or holes in the content of this list that you might observe. These are not a sign of willful neglect, but rather my limited capacity to know and address all of the concerns of these communities. Moreover, the specification of trans women and dark-skinned Black women is not intended to ignore the myriad marginalized identities that exist. Rather, I felt that these communities were particularly in need of support in our current social climate. Trans women are frequently left in the shadows, only to be pushed into the media spotlight when they are brutalized. Dark-skinned Black women face disproportionate neglect and disrespect compared to their lighter-skinned counterparts. These two issues have been especially salient in the last couple of months as racial tensions around the world have exposed which narratives and lives are centered in the movement and which are left in the margins. 

I also want to make a note about the intended audience of some of these resources. You may notice that just because an article or book is written about someone, it is not necessarily directed at them. Many, but not all, of these resources are meant to educate people outside of a certain community in order to foster greater empathy and understanding. For people who identify with those communities, the same resources may read as redundant or “preaching to the choir.” For those readers, I hope you find value in the other resources in this list or that it at least prompts you to look for outside resources that can help you better than I can. 

Finally, this work was completed during a 4-week internship. Naturally, I had to set realistic expectations about what I could accomplish in such a short time. Therefore, I relied on reviews, recommendations, and summaries to vet whole books. I cannot give my stamp of approval on the entire contents of any given book, nor should readers assume that my judgment is objectively correct. Readers are instead strongly encouraged to engage their critical thinking skills while absorbing the information in these books. Please also note that this list is by no means exhaustive; it is a stepping stone in the life-long journey of educating oneself on these topics. On a similar note, this list is intentionally structured in a way to allow you to pace yourself and avoid content overload. Feel free to ease into the material with the web articles listed first, and then when you have the bandwidth you may do a deep dive into the topics using the full-length books listed afterwards. 

Thank you for taking the time to browse this list, and I genuinely hope that it has an impact on you, big or small. Be sure to follow @sarahdoylecenter on Instagram to continue exploring issues around gender and feminism. 

Be well, 

Jordan Allums ‘21 

You can view “Representation for Reclamation: An Introductory Resource List for Decommercializing and Reclaiming Feminism” at this link.

Image credit: elladoro/Shutterstock.com