Friday, December 18, 2015

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by Bell Hooks

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by Bell Hooks forced me to think about feminism in a different way. It pushed me to examine my attitudes toward equality in a new way. In many ways, Hooks ideas about feminism made more sense to me than other books and articles I've read. She brought into play the effect of class on the feminist movement. I grew up in a farming community where everyone worked in the fields and then the women also cooked and cleaned. I never thought that was fair, but it was the way life was. Hooks delves into the way the women's movement was based on people who were financially well off enough to not need to work rather than addressing the needs of all women including those who had always worked just to make ends meet but had been unpaid fairly and treated unfairly in the workplace. The more I read, the more I realized just how multifaceted the struggle for equality is. Hooks brings the reader into the lives of women of myriad classes, backgrounds, and cultures while pointing out how the movement has worked and how it has failed. She offers suggestions on how to be more cohesive and how to honor the experiences of all women. At times I cringed as I identified with some misconceptions and nodded as I identified with others. Feminist Theory shines a light on how sexism, racism, and class-ism are much more intertwined than most of us truly understand. Hooks deftly but unapologetically brings to light the idea that to address one of these, all must be addressed while never denying the complications created by the place where myriad inequalities intersect.

 

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