If you’re looking for an empowering read, this list about Black women reclaiming their bodies is our gift to you. Black women are increasingly redefining their boundaries, beauty standards, and the way they choose to show up in the world. We want nothing more than to see Black women reclaiming their bodies – and those of their lineages – with a full-bodied sense of ownership.
Black women deserve a safe space to speak about how they feel or wish to feel, in their bodies. These books serve as the ideal place to start those conversations and inspire confidence while doing so. Whether you desire personal reading, are part of a community/sister circle, or even a book club, each book has a message worth sitting with. Here are 5 of our favorite reads that glorify what it means to exist and reclaim the body as a Black woman.
5 books to read about Black women reclaiming their bodies:
Sisters of the Yam by bell hooks
bell hooks has been, and will remain, a staple in the Black community for her generous offerings and insights that transcend time. ‘Sisters of the Yam’ is one of those bell hooks books that you always fall back to. As in, you spend time searching for a quote in one of the many book-marked pages. This particular book wants Black women to recognize the ills that prevent them from healing. It is a reminder that Black women, systemically and routinely, are not encouraged to heal. The 13-chapter book also looks at the effect this has on the emotional body of the Black woman, prompting, in hooks’ loving way, the reader back to a place of self-prioritization.
Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen by Inger Burnett-Zeigler
Inger Burnett-Zeigler lays out the reality of being a Black woman who is unable to experience the full range of emotions, in a world that bets on her anger and distress above all. The book unravels the intersections between physical, emotional, and psychological violence. It crucially highlights how Black women become so used to wearing a mask. Expect ‘Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen’ to guide you back to softer ways of handling the body by rejecting the façade of the ‘Strong Black Woman’.
The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
‘The Body Is Not An Apology’ was birthed from real-life experiences. You can tell this because of the honesty that led Sonya Renee Taylor to reclaim her relationship with her body. The book is a huge advocate of radical self-love and acceptance, which lends beautifully to a lifetime of self-choosing. The workbook for the acclaimed book TBINAA is available here.
Stolen Women by Dr. Gail Elizabeth Wyatt
A classic read to pivot ideas about reclaiming sexuality and identity as a Black woman. As a way of celebrating Black women reclaiming their bodies, we add this book because it is intergenerationally empowering. Each page is dedicated to seizing the power back through your sex life, for good. This book comes for all the stereotypes of Black women’s sexuality. Dr. Gail Elizabeth Wyatt uses Black women’s stories and experiences to bust myths and bring in healthy ideas about true intimacy and healthy sex lives.
It’s Always Been Ours by Jessica Wilson
Named the “necessary book”, Jessica Wilson’s ‘It’s Always Been ours’ is a must-read. The book centers Black women’s bodies in a conversation about reclamation and liberation. Ranging from discussions about eating disorders, self-image, food, and wellness, the book is full of stories and research. Black women in need of a gentle reminder and a witty companion will find comfort, support, and freedom in this love letter to the Black woman’s body.
Which book will be the first on your list?
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