A few weeks ago, I wandered into a bookshop as I am apt to do (something about the siren call of untouched books) and was thoroughly shocked to see the number of books available centered around feminism. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it. But I was surprised. I remember days when trying to get an unabridged copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex) was an adventure in itself. Today, you can find it abridged, unabridged, in every language, with pictures, with ribbons, with cake.
In a way, I am pleased that feminist literature has become so mainstream. It is reassuring to think that the feminist plight is gaining traction – after all, publishers wouldn’t publish such books if they didn’t think people weren’t going to read them.
But there seems to be such an influx on feminist books today and I worry that navigating through and finding true gems can become difficult in an increasingly saturated genre. So in honour of International Women’s Day, I thought I’d share ten of my favourite books. It’s by no means an exhaustive list of the great literature out there, but they’re ten books that I enjoy and often return to. It’s a good starting point if you’re new to the party – it’s the Feminist Starter Pack! I get a lot of questions about the books I’m reading and why, so I hope some of these titles will pique your interest and help you decide where you stand on the topic.
It’s 6:00. AM. That’s in the morning. My glutes are on fire and as I waddle my way to the bathroom, I’m wondering why I’m awake. Every muscle in my body aches. I can barely lift my toothbrush to my mouth, but a few minutes later, I’m out the door to get to Frame for a 7:45 Box-Fit class.
I used to have a habit of wandering around Shoreditch in search of really snobby coffee. And by “I used to…” I mean, “I still do.” But about a year ago, I stumbled across a hidden cave of wonders on my quest for the perfect flat white. What probably attracted me was the colourful painted wall. Painted on it were the words, “BE BAD UNTIL YOU’RE GOOD.”
Intrigued, I scurried in to the warehouse space under an Overground overpass following a group of young women decked out in the brightest coloured Sweaty Betty, LuluLemon, and Nike. Noticing the coffee machine, I cautiously approached the bubbly lady at the front desk and asked, “Are you guys a cafe?”
She laughed and said, “Kind of, you can grab a smoothie or coffee or any juices there. We’re a health and fitness centre.”
“So you’re a gym?”
“Erm… not really,” she replied. She continued to explain what Move Your Frame is and now that I’ve been attending classes for close to a year, I will vehemently defend Frame against anyone that calls it a gym, because it’s not. Frame is really a health and fitness centre offering mostly group exercises classes. Frame has everything from Pilates and every kind of yoga flow, to barre and boxing, to TRX and HIIT PT, to dance cardio and music video, to my favourite Body and Total Body by Frame.
The best thing about Frame is that even if you only take a 30 minute class, you’ll feel it the next day. It burns, but it burns so good. It reminds me of that line from Legally Blonde when Elle Woods chipperly quips, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make people happy, (happy people just don’t kill their husbands).” But it’s true, ever since I started regularly attending Frame, I have felt such a lift in my overall mood. I’m happier and am less prone to anxiety. When I’m feeling stressed or angry, I immediately sign up for a Box-Fit class with Andrew to punch it out. When I’m feeling pensive, I opt for a more low-key (but still effective) barre class with Lisanne or Gede.
Frame is about embracing the burn and more importantly, embracing your body. Frame teaches you to work for that better version of yourself while respecting the limits of your body. Every class begins with a brilliant instructor asking if there are any injuries he or she should be aware of. The instructors are fantastic by the way, and if you’re heading in to the Shoreditch studio, I recommend taking a class with Gede, Lisanne, Andrew, Keith, Ianthe, or Nathalie. Legends.
While I initially joined in that deluded let-me-drop-20lbs-in-a-week frenzy we all know too well, I’ve stuck around not because I’ve lost any weight (I actually don’t know if I have, I can’t remember the last time the battery in my scale actually worked!). What keeps me coming back is how I feel. I am physically stronger, my energy levels are higher, my body is firmer with muscle. Pillsbury Dough Boy I am no more! There are times when I sniffle at the price, especially as a full time student with zero income. But I assure you, it is worth it and obviously my fellow Framers who I see week after week agree.
I am not a fitness guru. I do not know how to grow that booty, nor do I intend to enroll in the next CrossFit Games. That’s just not my thing (books are my thing – unfortunately a rather sedentary thing). But I’m happier and full of Framer protein smoothies, so my non-existent husband is safe… for now.
Photo from Instagram @moveyourframe
Frame Studios can be found in Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Victoria, and Queen’s Park. Their timetable can be found here. You can find them on Instagram @moveyourframe. Move Your Frame is located in London, but who knows maybe they’ll be coming tor wherever you are someday soon!