Feminist Feature: bell hooks
bell hooks was an American author and feminist theorist, and cultural critic best known for her writings on feminism, race, and class. A few of her books include Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984), Killing Race: Ending Racism (1995), Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Back (1989), and Ain't I a Woman? (1981). She died on December 15, 2021, at the age of sixty-nine.
According to hooks, the purpose of feminism is to end oppression, sexism, and exploitation. Feminism is supposed to be a political movement that involves everybody, and not a cause for division between the sexes. In hooks' experience with how people view feminism, she has spoken and written about how people often mistake the feminist movement to be about women's hatred of men. Many people often learn about feminism from what other people have told them, rarely through reading books and forming their own opinions. bell also understood that books on feminism and feminist theories often tend to be densely packed with academic language. In an effort to create easier access to this knowledge, many of her books were written in easy-to-read essay formats that readers can easily digest and understand.
One important aspect of hooks' feminist theory is that while the patriarchy is primarily oppressive for women, many men are also disadvantaged by sexism. In Feminist Focus on Men: a Comment (from Talking Back), hooks addressed the necessity of utilizing feminist teachings and scholarship as a space for dialogue between men and women. Indeed, it is difficult to break free of the stereotype that all feminists hate men when feminists do not create a space where men can be comfortably involved in the fight to end sexist oppression. hooks' suggested the creation of a space where women can talk to men without the shadow of oppression and as equals. This suggestion is the type of radical thinking that might just be what the feminist movement needs to effect cultural change.
bell hooks was a true gem whose legacy has ensured that feminism can be viewed as a positive political movement that is meant to serve everybody. Today, we celebrate and remember that legacy.