I would like to believe that everyone has heard of bell hooks, but the truth is, a lot of people have not. And if you asked me a month ago, I would have been just as much in the dark as many other people. So with a “love slap” and a little push, I read the introductory book to feminism. “Feminism is for Everybody” – Passionate Politics.
Mama bell hooks, the queen, the living legend, activists, intersectional feminists, just like yours truly, was born in 1952. Her name, bell hooks, is the name she adopted from her great-grandmother, Bell Hooks, who was known for her boldness. She since has reclaimed the name and intentionally spells her name lowercase to emphasis the fact that the importance is in her work and not her name.
In 1992, Ernest Hemingway, renowned writer, bets the table of friends ten dollars each that he can craft an entire story in six words. After the pot is assembled, Hemingway writes “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” on a napkin, passes this around the table and collects his winnings. The reason I bring this up is this, people are seemingly impressed when people are able to put so much information in so little words. Just as Ernest Hemingway was able to put such a lengthy story in six words, bell hooks achieve the same goal of squeezing so much information in 120 pages.
In this quick “how-to” guide on feminism for everyone that needs a little “college-bible” on equality. bell hooks define feminism as the “movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” This book is not for the “far along feminist” though it may be a good read, this book is really for the people confused about what feminism is and looks like. Each chapter is a summary of one facet of feminism. This is so important because when trying to explain to people the strife of women, it can be too much of a conversation for that moment. This book will be a good way to have a thorough conversation about the truth of women and other marginalized identities.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is the book on Sexual Liberation.
I have always joked around about how old white men who have never met me, want to regulate what happens in my womb…. Well mama bell hooks, just explained to me why. She explains how the invention of birth control came the inevitable liberation of women. The fact that a woman could have sex for mere desire and not for the mere function of a man’s pleasure, came with great celebration from women, and the same thing is to be said about abortion, not that women are using abortion as a form of birth control, though that’s what legislators would like to believe.
The bottom line is this, and she explains this in her book when women became liberated…. woman start demanding that their husbands could not rape them any longer, to run for president and even reproduce without them. To be human is to be able to engage in healthy sexual desire. It is within a woman’s full rights to control whether or not her womb is the vessel for a new generation of sexism.
bell hooks really did craft a masterpiece with this book. I will suggest it to anyone and throw at others.
photo courtesy of Elizabeth Murray.