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bell hooks

eden chias, matt smits, flor harrs


Who is she?
Gloria Jean Watkins (born September 25, 1952), better known by her pen name bell hooks, is
an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist.

Book, ain’t I got a woman, received much criticism for exposing white feminism

Book: ‘Feminism theory from margin to centre’: summary

Critiques the works of feminists: not all women face the same struggles

Feminism defined: “the struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates
Western Culture as well as a commitment to reorganise society so that the self development
of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion and material desires”.
What does she believe? (Way too much)
Focuses on how racism is the root problem to sexism, classism and female oppression

Throughout the book, ‘Feminist theory from margin to centre’, Hooks uses the term "white-supremacist
capitalist patriarchy" as a lens through which to both critique various aspects of American culture and to offer
potential solutions to the problems she explores.

She addresses topics including the goals of feminist movement, the role of men in feminist struggle, the
relevance of pacifism, solidarity among women, and the nature of revolution.

Hooks can be identified in her discussions of these topics as a radical feminist because of her arguments that
the system itself is corrupt, and that achieving equality in such a system is neither possible nor desirable. She
promotes instead a complete transformation of society and all its institutions as a result of protracted struggle,
envisioning a life-affirming, peaceful tomorrow.

Noting a lack of diverse voices in popular feminist theory, bell hooks published the book Feminist Theory:
From Margin to Center in 1984. In this book, she argues that those voices have been marginalized, and states:
"To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body."
What does she believe?
bell hooks’ feminist theory looks to end oppression by redefining how power is obtained and maintained.
Instead of creating a system where the strongest survives through oppression and coercion, she suggests that
both men and women look to transform societal structures into something that is mutually supportive. In doing
so, the lovelessness can eventually be eliminated and that will promote real equality.

Focuses on how racism is the root problem to sexism, classism and female oppression

Throughout the book, ‘Feminist theory from margin to centre’, Hooks uses the term "white-supremacist
capitalist patriarchy" as a lens through which to both critique various aspects of American culture and to offer
potential solutions to the problems she explores.

She addresses topics including the goals of feminist movement, the role of men in feminist struggle, the
relevance of pacifism, solidarity among women, and the nature of revolution.

Hooks can be identified in her discussions of these topics as a radical feminist because of her arguments that
the system itself is corrupt, and that achieving equality in such a system is neither possible nor desirable. She
promotes instead a complete transformation of society and all its institutions as a result of protracted struggle,
envisioning a life-affirming, peaceful tomorrow.
What does she believe?
Throughout the book, ‘Feminist theory from margin to centre’, Hooks uses the term "white-supremacist capitalist
patriarchy" as a lens through which to both critique various aspects of American culture and to offer potential
solutions to the problems she explores.

She addresses topics including the goals of feminist movement, the role of men in feminist struggle, the relevance of
pacifism, solidarity among women, and the nature of revolution.

Hooks can be identified in her discussions of these topics as a radical feminist because of her arguments that the
system itself is corrupt, and that achieving equality in such a system is neither possible nor desirable. She promotes
instead a complete transformation of society and all its institutions as a result of protracted struggle, envisioning a
life-affirming, peaceful tomorrow.

bell hooks’ feminist theory looks to end oppression by redefining how power is obtained and maintained. Instead of
creating a system where the strongest survives through oppression and coercion, she suggests that both men and
women look to transform societal structures into something that is mutually supportive. In doing so, the
lovelessness can eventually be eliminated and that will promote real equality.
Theory/Theories
1. Feminism in her mind is the struggle to end patriarchal oppression - She wants to try to stop society being
dominated by men

2. She believes that feminism isn’t a lifestyle choice - you have to be politically active and committed

3. Women are not all discriminated against in the same way or to the same extent

4. She wants people to understand that discrimination towards women are closely linked to ethnicity and class
Theory/Theories
Feminist theory: from Margin to centre:

if we can’t define feminism, we can’t develop a theory or practice of it

Most people, she writes, think of feminism “as a movement to make women the social equals of men.” But “which men
do women want to be equal to?” she asks. Men of any race or class? Obviously not.

Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Its aim is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any
particular race or class of women. It does not privilege women over men. It has the power to transform meaningfully all
our lives.

And that’s why, hooks notes, women in those lower-class groups were suspicious of feminism from the get-go: because
they realized the limitations in its definition, which would make it apply primarily to middle- and upper-class white
women.

An “anything goes,” sloppily defined feminism focuses by default on social equality and an individual woman’s right to
freedom and self-determination. Faux feminism being espoused by the Sarah Palin's of the world: Theirs is a sort of me-
me-me feminism that doesn’t recognize the greater need for collective action. It’s a “romantic notion of personal
freedom,” in hooks’ words, and it ignores the need to speak out against race and class oppression as well as sexism.
Quotes:
● "To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body."

● "Many Women active in feminist movement do not have radical political


perspectives and are unwilling to face these realities, especially when they, as
individuals, gain economic self-sufficiency within the existing structure."

● "Women in lower class and poor groups, particularly those who are non-white,
would not have defined women's liberation as women gaining social equality with
men since they are continually reminded in their everyday lives that all women do
not share a common social status."

● “Genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from


lovelessness to loving.”
Look at a text like hooks
When looking at a text, try to see if there are people fighting for equality, fighting patriarchal views in society

When looking at a text that is showing women being discriminated against or oppressed, think about if the
reasoning is tied to their gender or ethnicity