Looking for feminist readings to improve my self esteem
July 15, 2021 1:34 PM   Subscribe

A recent situation with a guy where I constantly undervalued myself/based my happiness on him and the frequency of his texts and interaction has unraveled me. It is not that he was openly manipulative but a lot of our “relationship” on his terms (and time). I’m looking for feminist non fiction (fiction is ok too) that will help me realise that I need to value myself and stop wondering about what he or other guys think of me.

All the second guessing, extended limerence, constant ruminating over him, lack of assertiveness on my part - I’ve done all this before in relationships and I’m tired. Would love some recommendations. Thank you.
posted by bigyellowtaxi to Human Relations (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, it's not feminist in focus, but the book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment is an excellent read on these kinds of patterns in relationships and why we sometimes fall into the same behavior patterns over and over again. I'd also put Terry Real's Fierce Intimacy in this category.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:05 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


If you aren't already reading Captain Awkward's advice, there's a ton of relevant posts for you! Check out the posts tagged relationships, and feminism.

Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist is not specifically about relationships, but I think would be helpful.

I would also suggest reading Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister, and Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly, which are bracing reminders that women's emotions are powerful and worthwhile (reviews of both).
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:47 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Best answer: bell hooks’ All About Love is what you need! It changed my life.
posted by stellaluna at 7:19 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


It sounds like one of your concerns may be setting boundaries, and Nedra Tawwab has a book that might help with that. I have not read this book yet but I follow her IG and I think it would be a helpful read, I'm probably going to get a copy for myself.
Sex From Scratch by Sarah Mirk is more about relationships and communication than it is about sex. Reading it helped me think about relationships in a new way because it talks about different structures and it helped me see that the way I thought relationships should work was not the only way they could work.
All About Love and Communion by bell hooks are classic feminist books about relationships.

I was somewhat disappointed in Attached, it did not have much to offer me. The Personal Development School has some good videos about similar topics that I related to more.
posted by arachnidette at 7:22 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Run, don’t walk, to the bookstore to get The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Range
Renee Taylor!
posted by spindrifter at 3:00 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I think boundaries are a useful framework here, but not just setting them yourself - respecting other people’s boundaries and understanding when they are in conflict with yours is really important.

In my experience of relationships, there can be a lot of conflict and resentment around availability and frequency of communication. Some people really can’t do or really hate a frequency and regularity of contact that others find essential.

I’ve often experienced the person who needs a lot of contact saying they respect the boundaries of their partner around communication frequency and expected availability and then they cannot and do not.

When someone tells you that they have a boundary that conflicts with something you need, accept that boundary in them and yourself and either find a clever and kind way to resolve the conflict or leave.

I found Native Tongue and To the Lighthouse both really helpful for learning to see the labour of communication and availability and audience we expect of others in relationships, which helped me be clearer and more intentional about the labour I request and give which helped me do that labour with love and generosity, to refuse it with love and respect, and to accept both its proffering and refusal from others the same way.
posted by congen at 7:16 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Charlie's Toolbox has a number of articles about decentering men, as well as a book. I think she's done a talk. She's very easy to reach on social media.

You also may want to consider reading Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change.

I second the Personal Development School's website as well as their YouTube linked above. Limerence and putting others strongly hints at unmet needs. Once you discover your attachment style, PDS has videos on limerence that may help.

(Feel free to send me a MeMail anytime, I have more resources on this.)
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 9:39 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Best answer: A lot of good recommendations here already! In addition to Rage Becomes Her, I fully recommend Valerie Rein's Patriarchy Stress Disorder and Pauline Harmange's I Hate Men. Rein's book is great if you have been spending a lot of time trying to "fix" your attachment style, codependency, etc. Harmange is just funny, and the audiobook is only an hour long. I listen to it when I find myself ruminating about my ex.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 7:30 PM on July 16


Response by poster: All really helpful answers, thank you! The Body is Not an Apology was excellent, would recommend to anyone.
posted by bigyellowtaxi at 1:02 AM on July 20


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