While reading bell hooks’ (yes, lowercased) Feminism for Everybody, I was really struck by an excerpt from the chapter “To Love Again: The Heart of Feminism”.
Although the chapter relates to how relationships and feminism should intertwine, hooks portrays feminism to be a loving philosophy. The excerpt states:
“When we accept that true love is rooted in recognition and acceptance, that love combines acknowledgment, care, responsibility, commitment, and knowledge, we understand there can be no love without justice. With that awareness comes the understanding that love has the power to transform us, giving us the strength to oppose domination. To choose feminist politics, then, is a choice to love.”
I never thought about feminism as love. Many think of feminism as a political and social movement for equality. And others may think of feminism based on patriarchal misconceptions as a group of man-hating women burning their bras in the front yard. I never encountered this idea of feminism as love and it is such a easy translated notion.
As hooks’ associates love with enabling our feminist politics, I think of the “personal is political” philosophy. Our love for ourselves, enables our fight and passion for other like us. As a woman of color, the love I have for myself and other people of color including trans people of color enables me to take political action. My personal decisions as a woman of color are political decisions to transform my marginalization into equality.
Also hooks’ said, “…there can no love without justice.” Our freedoms and equality are enabled by love. Marginalization demonstrates our stance in society and equates to the lack of care for the liberties of others. By enabling an individual, it is conveying a sense of love. It is conveying a message of care for their being. Currently, there areinstitutional structures not showing love and care for marginalized bodies like people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, disabled individuals and the intersections that flow in between these identities.
It is a common thought to proclaim like hooks, “If we all give more love to each other, there would be less discrimination and violence.” But there cannot be love without acknowledgement and acceptance. A society cannot begin to love marginalized people without beginning or trying to understand their marginalization. Show marginalized people your love by fighting for us, advocating for us, protecting us and creating laws to enable us. Love is an active notion. Love is not passive.
By giving marginalized people this form of love, it mobilizes us to be the individuals we want to be. But it also, transforms the individuals around us. This form of love is feminism. It transforms our society for the next generations to come. This love can peel away layers of discrimination and oppression in society and hold up a light to marginalized issues.
I suggest everyone to look at feminism as an act of love for our bodies. There is always an opportunity to show love and support through actions on any scale. Start or continue to enable the beings of marginalized people for protection and love in this form called feminism.