Feminism is for everybody: passionate politics

by Bell Hooks, Read by Robin Miles

Read time: about 5 minutes

It has been long since I read any nonfiction on the theory of feminism. Where ‘We should all be feminists’ was a very basic few pages introduction to feminism, Bell Hookes here has jotted down for us different ways and different spheres of lives that require one to be feminists. Hookes has been manoeuvred to write a guide to feminism by those who think feminism teaches women to hate men. Hookes has tried to dispel the notion that feminists are lesbians, they go against nature and they are harmful for men because they take all white collar jobs away from them.

Bell Hookes has written the book that focuses on mutual development of men and women when there is an equity between the two genders. This book is a concise bible for all those who want to be feminists but have mixed notions about it.

Cover Page

I wanted to read this book for a book club that I have been wanting to be a part of. This book is very expensive in Indian market, even the kindle version, so I decided to listen to the audiobook. The audiobook does not have the regular cover that a paperback reader would find. On the cover, here, are Bell Hookes and her white feminist companion. Inside the book, the author introduces the white female companion as a friend who got interested in feminism and was attending lectures on feminism with the author. The photo dates back to a couple of years.

I like the cover since it belongs to a memory of progress. It says a lot about the racial equity that the author further talks about in the book.

Cover: Feminism is for everybody: passionate politics

Content

It is a common notion that feminists are men hating individuals. Feminists are not angry women who want to be like men. They are just angry and they want equal rights as men. Those who support anti-feminist agenda are not fully convinced by the movement mainly due to the lack of awareness and negative media coverage.

Hookes has devised a simple but very apt definition of feminism. She says- Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.

The definition itself makes it clear that is it not anti-male. It is against sexism therefore against anyone who is perpetuating the sexist thinking. It could be male or female. Female oppression is extensively spoken about in the book. Hookes begins with a clear cut definition and emphasises the importance of spreading the word as a propaganda. The definition should be on advertisements. It should be on bill boards and pamphlets, she says.

Feminism initially started with oppressed women acting out of anger. Male bashing was on rampant increase and that is what the mainstream media concentrated on. However, feminism had changed further on. It was too late then. Feminism had earned a bad name and the actual talks of feminism happened only in closed circuits of academic areas thus preventing it from reaching normal public.

Bell Hookes talks about gender discrimination at work and at home. How females are often the perpetuators of sexism. The lack of reproductive rights for women is further explained as Hookes talks about illegal abortions and those who use contraceptives are considered to be loose women. Lack of proper childcare at work makes it doubly difficult for single mothers to support children, emphasising of the importance of male as a breadwinner at home.

Bell Hookes also talks about race and sexism and how they are related. The mainstream media’s obsession with a white, materially sound, working woman as a feminist is taking the movement a step back each day. It is important to assert that feminism is for everybody.

I learnt a lot about feminism in the book that I did not have clear I understanding of earlier.

There is a lot that Hookes talks about in the book and I can write a thesis on the topic. But I guess reading the book will help one more than listening to someone talking about it. What I like the most about the book is the solutions that the author presents to us. One needs to educate oneself about feminism at home and raise feminist children. It should be spoken about on TV and written in children’s books.

The squint eyed vision of feminism is only harming it. It can only be taken further when men and women come together to eliminate sexism in our everyday lives. Feminism is not restricted to gender, class or race. Feminism is for everybody.

Language

Unlike most scholarly writings on feminism, Hookes talks about feminism in very simple, understandable narration. These are clear ideas that come across as black or white. There are no gray areas in ideas or narration. It helps to further clear the idea of feminism.

Good points

I personally like the cover, not because of its artistic presentation but the meaning behind the photograph. The content got me hooked. It was almost like a revelation. The language is very simple and understandable, devoid of any jargon.

Bad points

In the book the author continuously talks about White supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. It sounds as if it is addressed to only white men in America. Patriarchy exists in other nations as well- developed, developing or third world countries. I am sure Hookes meant it to be a book for everybody, just the narration looks like it aims white people only.

Overall

I am glad to have joined Feminist Orchestra Book Club. I absolutely enjoyed reading the book and listening to others talking about it.

Whom do I recommend this to

This book is meant for everyone- male, females, homosexuals and bisexuals.

Quotable Quotes

Young girls and adolescents will not know that feminist thinkers acknowledge both the value of beauty and adornment if we continue to allow patriarchal sensibilities to inform the beauty industry in all spheres. rigid feminist dimsmissal of female longings for beauty undermined feminist politics.

Join the book club and discussion on Goodreads and discover writings on feminism.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com