ARC REVIEW: “Feminism from A to Z” Gayle E. Pitman

Feminism from A to Z

Title: Feminism from A to Z
Author: Gayle E. Pitman
Pages: 254

Released: October 23 2017
Publisher: Magination Press
Format: Paperback

Genre: Nonfiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.22 (of 59 ratings)

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Feminism From A to Z is an alphabetical primer on feminism for teen girls. Each chapter examines a topic that offers call-to-action exercises incorporated into each lesson. Together, the chapters take a look at history and current events through the lens of feminist theory and introduce an inclusive and wide range of feminist thoughts and perspectives. Includes an introduction to readers on how to use the book and an alphabetical list of ways to take feminist action.


Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Magination Press and NetGalley. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

I’m only sad that I had to be twenty-two years old before such a comprehensive guide to feminism landed in my lap.

Gayle E. Pitman is right in that an alphabetical guide is an entertaining and clear way to navigate the many concepts that fold into feminism. Each chapter (and thus letter of the alphabet) explores a different aspect of feminism, including intersectionality, the importance of saying “no,” sexism in the workplace, etc. The chapters also end with activities to further the learning, like lessons on embroidery or instructions on how to change a tire.

Pitman provides very clear explanations. Many of the concepts she introduced are ones I have learned in passing (either on the internet, through friends, or in university classes). But to her own explanations she adds personal experiences, anecdotes, occasional statistics (I’ve never been one for a book heavy on stats, though of course they are important), and many excerpts from well-known studies. “Feminism is not something we just made up,” she’s saying. “There’s proof and there’s cause and effect.”

One activity that really stood out to me asked readers to consider how transgender people would feel in various places. For example, would they feel safe in gym class? In a public washroom? At home, on the bus, in class? The goal of the activity was the consider how someone else’s perspective (specifically, a transgender person’s perspective) would differ from one’s own. Pitman’s book does this on several occasions, challenging the reader to look outside their own experiences: because, as she shows at multiple points, feminism is about understanding the experiences of others (not only your own). Her book looks at feminism for women of colour, feminism for plus-size women, feminism for the LGBTQ+ community.

Not only that, but she praises the important of men working for feminism. I’ve always been for men supporting feminism (I know some feminists are not for it, and that can be their opinion). Pitman supports her reasons why men need to be allies and never puts down cisgender male experiences or equates them as lesser.

I do question where this book would thrive. As much as I enjoy it, it’s not what I would curl up with on a Monday night after a long day of work. Perhaps parents should look into having this book in the home for kids to be able to access — because may I just say schools do not cover this content even close to enough. Schools should have this on display for children to browse. But as a leisure reading, no. Not as much. Unless your goal is, indeed, to access feminist theories — which this book covers in spades.


This book has five crowns hands down. Pitman is clear on the content and not only does she teach the material, she clearly understands and lives what she preaches. Her passion for feminism comes through on the page, making me want to share in her love.


Have you learned any feminist theory at school? What does feminism mean to you? Let’s discuss!


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