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Cissy He
Dr. Kendra Parker
ENGL 113-03
September 17, 2016
Critical Summary #2
In Feminist Politics: Where we stand, bell hooks looks back on the history of
feminist movement, during which its objective changed from fighting against the oppression
from men to putting an end to sexism. In the early days of womens liberation movement,
when women first had their consciousness raised about male domination, they generally saw
men as the only group who oppressed women. But as the movement progressed, they started
to realize that women could be oppressors as well, and turned the goal into eliminating
sexism to create gender justice. At this point, some people pointed out that unless inside
problems related to race and classes are confronted, women could not band together to
further feminism. Specifically, hooks argues that contemporary feminists have divided into
revolutionists, who want to transform the patriarchal system and end sexism, and
reformists, who wish to gain equality with men while maintaining the existing system.
While revolutionary feminism was most embraced in academic circles, it remains unknown
and unaccepted to the public for hurting the interest of white and wealthy people. It was
rejected not only by white men, but also by reformist and women who possess economic
power within this social structure. In sum, hooks view is that feminist movement has lost its
definition and momentum, and we need to reclaim these definitions to make it revived.
I have mixed feelings. This reading seems to be making sense to me at first glance, but I
find it difficult to understand it after trying to connect these ideas hooks mentioned. For
example, although she suggested that sexism is on the opposite of gender justice, she did not
give a clear definition to this term. Therefore, I feel confused when she said that reformists
want gender equality, but their vision is fundamentally different from that of revolutionists.
What is the difference between the gender equality reformists emphasize on and the gender
justice revolutionists seek? What does the term gender equality mean? If the difference is
reformists want to retain the existing social system while revolutionists want to change it,
why does hooks think it is related to the topic of gender justice or sexism? This is not the
only question rose during my reading. Why does hooks believe it is feminists responsibility
to solve racial and class problems? Why is feminism losing its definitions? Maybe I need to
have a grasp of the larger context to understand this reading.
The idea of revolutionary feminism hooks mentioned is very inspiring to me. Recently,
the discussion of feminism has been arousing more attention in China. However, Chinese
feminists still focus mainly on advocating equal rights for both genders, and rarely include
the problem of classes and race into discussion. It is not because these problems do not exist,
but because they have not yet been noticed. I have seen girls who live in impoverished rural
area were not allowed to go to school and have to do farm work, because they have to save
the chance of getting educated for their brothers, and earn money for their families. Before
reading this essay, I have never realized that they were oppressed not only because they are
women, but also because of their class. This reading certainly expanded my feminist view.
While thinking of the problem of gender inequality, it might also be necessary to consider if
problems such as class and race play a role in it.

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Works Cited
hooks, bell. Feminist Politics: Where We Stand. Feminism is for everybody: Passionate
Politics. South End Press, 2000. 1-6. Print.