Gloria Jean Watkins alias bell hooks (without capitals, born 1952) has been writing about feminism since her teens. Three years after her first feminist book Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981) was published, she wrote the first edition of Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984). The second edition appeared in 2000.
In this book, hooks makes you question every aspect of feminism. She is highly critical of “white bourgeouis” women who were only fighting to gain social equality for themselves regarding their male counterparts in their own privileged class. What she does see as an accomplishment of the previous waves of the feminist movement is that is has been able to create an intellectual environment for dialectical critique and exchange. She emphasizes on the fluid nature of a theory in progress: we must necessarily criticize, question, re-examine and explore new possibilities. Forming a theory is important because it can function as a guiding set of beliefs and principles that becomes the basis for action.
Identifying as a feminist is not enough because this restriction creates a false sense that one is engaged in the struggle. Therefore the coins to use the phrase: “I advocate feminism.” With that, you also avoid being categorized in fighting against only one kind of oppression such as racism or classism. Throughout the book, she makes very clear that sexist oppression is very much connected to racism and class oppression. This book offers answers to so many questions you might have about intersectional feminism.
- Read the book
- Feminism is not a lifestyle it is a political commitment
- Feminism is not a way for only one particular female group of race and class to be equals to their male equivalent.
- Feminism is an active engagement Ian revolutionary struggle to completely change society to end sexist oppression.
- It’s impossible to capture this book into a couple of bullet points. Like no other she is able to break down different approaches to the intertwined aspects of gender, race, and class. Just read the book.
And a personal addition: wearing a cap stating “feminist” does not make you a feminist. Wonder why? Read the book.