Feature

Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho, comedian and author of the recently published I’m the One That I Want (Ballantine Books, $22.95), has a new tour, “Notorious C.H.O.,” beginning this fall (visit margaretcho.com for dates). Here she selects five of her favorite feminist titles.

Revolution From Within by Gloria Steinem (Little, Brown and Co., $11). Warm, affectionate, generous—completely changed my life after I read it. More a rite of passage than merely a book, not only for every feminist but everyone with a heart.

Sex by Madonna (Warner Books, out of print). The publication of this book was the most outrageously feminist event since the burning of the bras. Here was female sexuality—dirty-sweet, wildly hedonistic, selfish, and utterly incomprehensible to most of polite society—in a series of beautifully photographed scenes, featuring the most famous woman of all time. It brought our sexuality out of our minds and into the glorious limelight. Sure, the binding fell apart, but the impact the Mylar wrapping and steel covers made, not to mention what was in between them, shook the world of our sex like nothing before.

Backlash by Susan Faludi (Doubleday, $13). The hard line on what was happening, and what is happening still. How it’s not over just because we have the vote, or because of Roe v. Wade, or because of whatever they give us and whatever we get. Makes you want to change the world—and makes you do it.

Bitch by Elizabeth Wurtzel (Random House, $13). I must read this book every so often to remind myself who I am, what I am, and what I am capable of. This redefined womanhood for me. It is articulate and brave, bitchy and wise, the feminist manifesto for my generation and for many to come.

The Hungry Self by Kim Cherin (Harper Trade, $12). Woman and food from the feminist perspective. Gives voice to the wild hunger within some of us, gives meaning to the obsession to control the female body. Reading this book made me understand the true nature of sustenance, and woman’s role in feeding seemingly the whole world—how we cope with the responsibility, and how we sometimes can’t manage. A groundbreaking work, stark and important, sadly real and liberating, all at the same time.

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