If you’ve missed the discussion on this title so far, do check out the introduction and discussion posts to see what participants have been saying. Though work has been busy and I’ve not had time to respond to everyone or interact as much as I wanted to, I’ve loved following the points that everyone has been making.
Here I’m going to talk a bit about some of my favorite parts of the book, and I hope that you will do the same in the comments! I’d love to discuss further. Remember of course that these are my own thoughts only and I share them not as anything other than my own, and to get discussion started!
I really enjoyed the read, and while I thought it didn’t quite reach her stated goal of being a primer or introduction for those who don’t know about feminism, I think it definitely works well as a book showing an overview to those already familiar with the basics of and reasons for feminism. I like her definition which is short and to the point, and which acknowledges the fact that feminism isn’t about putting women above men, it is about ending sexist oppression – any form of sexist oppression, and that women can be just as sexist as men sometimes. We all need to acknowledge the ways in which we oppress other women, she says, and work to eliminate that in ourselves.
Personally, I just love intersectionality. Nothing gets me as excited as books that deal with them full on and dissect and discuss multiple issues and oppressions – because that is how life is. Life isn’t compartmentalized so how can we theorize as such? I loved the way hooks discusses how feminism needs to consider the intersectionality of other identities and oppressions. I find it hard to understand how you can stand up against one type of injustice while turning a blind eye to others. Clearly if we all stand together we have a much better chance, and we are all suffering in some way be it via sexism, classism, racism, homophobia, or anything else. If we say we don’t care about any issue but the one that affects us, we lose the chance to make allies who can also be there for us when we need support. If we care only about instances where we are oppressed without caring about instances where others suffer similar oppressions, how can we not be seen as being hypocritical in some way, seen as showing that ending oppression isn’t our goal, but rather only furthering our own interests?
Another part I loved was the section on global feminism and the way hooks discusses the issues inherent in the way that many American women think of feminism around the world, and try to control the discussion and the issues. I’m so glad that through this project we’re learning more about feminism around the world and from various voices. I would agree with what she says too on the importance of consciousness raising groups… while I’ve never been a part of one, discussions online have definitely helped me to see so much more than I would have myself. In fact, perhaps this site functions like that in a way, allowing us all to learn more about various feminist issues and ideas and discuss them together.
bell hooks is an author who seems to always get me thinking. After now reading two of her works I’m looking forward to reading more by her. Anyone have some favorites by her they might recommend to me?
What about you, what was your favorite part of the book? (Also, please leave links to your review in the comments!)