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Feminism is for everybody : passionate…

Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics (2000)

by bell hooks

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hooks has written a short, very readable selection of essays on a variety of topics, from sexuality to domestic violence to intersectionality. This could be used as an intermediate introduction to feminism--maybe what you give someone after they've already ingested the basic facts of current inequalities. [b:Feminism is for Everybody|168484|Feminism is for Everybody Passionate Politics|Bell Hooks|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327933698s/168484.jpg|843092] doesn't make the case for feminism's existence, but rather is a slightly disjointed history of feminism from the 1960s through the 90s and a basic primer on what hooks envisions feminism needs to challenge and produce. We need to document how feminism has helped women, especially older women who have stories about illegal abortions and what society was truly like before feminists started talking about and pushing for gender equality. We need to make sure the movement does not just focus on one gender (include how to raise boys as well as feminist girls, how men can be masculine but not patriarchal, examine and challenge problems men have within patriarchy), sexuality, class, race. (And not let mass media present well-educated attractive white straight women as the only members of feminism, or the spokespeople!)

Overall, feminists need to work to create a mass-based movement that includes visions and models of what non-patriarchal relationships, norms and society look like. We need to communicate those ideas outside of people we already think agree with us, or are like us. Or, in her own words: "While visionary feminist thinkers have understood our need for a broad-based feminist movement, one that addresses the needs of girls and boys, women and men, across class, we have not produced a body of visionary feminist theory written in accessible language or shared through oral communication. Today in academic circles much of the most celebrated feminist theory is written in sophisticated jargon that only the well-educated can read. Most people in our society do not have a basic understanding of feminism; they cannot acquire that understanding from a wealth of diverse material, grade school-level primers, and so on, because this material does not exist. We must create it if we are to rebuild feminist movement that is truly for everyone." ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
After reading this book, I can understand why it's recommended as the best primer on feminism. bell hooks is interested in tracing out an expansive view of feminism, one with the historical understanding of why the movement evolved the way it did, and what should be done to bring it back to its roots. But she manages to do so in some of the most plainspoken language out there. Sure, she'll drop lots of "-ist" language when discussing the issues that often weave through the feminist frame (race, class, gender, etc.) but they're all pretty self-explanatory and she justifies their placement in the text.

So is it really the best first book to read on feminism? Well, yes and no. It's certainly the best intro book on theory out there, but a better way in might be reading a feminist critique of something else. For all bell hooks' amazing efforts at easing the way in, jumping straight into the theory can be rough unless you already agree with some of the major premises. Other books—like The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi—systematically lay out the evidence about how sexism still exists today and how poisonous it can be. Sometimes, more specificity is better. Still, a pretty good book and a really quick read. ( )
1 vote gregorybrown | Oct 18, 2015 |
Very readable intro. I was especially interested by the parts discussing class issues and their impact on early feminism. I'm not sure I agree that going door to door with leaflets is a great idea, though! ( )
  tronella | Feb 4, 2012 |
Everyone should read this book. ( )
  Houseasaurus | Feb 11, 2010 |
I really enjoyed bell hooks' take on feminism, how it can't properly exist without tackling the issues of racism, classism, homophobia, etc. However, I don't think that this book is a good primer for feminism, and I probably wouldn't recommend it to anybody who wants an introduction. (For that I would recommend Full Frontal Feminism A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti.)

I would have given this book 4 stars but the typos and grammatical errors made the book difficult to read. ( )
3 vote lemontwist | Dec 28, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0896086283, Paperback)

A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving....There can be no love without justice.—from the chapter "To Love Again: The Heart of Feminism"

In this engaging and provocative volume, bell hooks introduces a popular theory of feminism rooted in common sense and the wisdom of experience. Hers is a vision of a beloved community that appeals to all those committed to equality, mutual respect, and justice.

hooks applies her critical analysis to the most contentious and challenging issues facing feminists today, including reproductive rights, violence, race, class, and work. With her customary insight and unsparing honesty, hooks calls for a feminism free from divisive barriers but rich with rigorous debate. In language both eye-opening and optimistic, hooks encourages us to demand alternatives to patriarchal, racist, and homophobic culture, and to imagine a different future.

hooks speaks to all those in search of true liberation, asking readers to take look at feminism in a new light, to see that it touches all lives. Issuing an invitation to participate fully in feminist movement and to benefit fully from it, hooks shows that feminism—far from being an outdated concept or one limited to an intellectual elite--is indeed for everybody.

bell hooks is the author of numerous critically acclaimed books on the politics of race, gender, class, and culture. A frequent lecturer in the United States and abroad, she is Distinguished Professor of English at City College, City University of New York.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:53 -0400)

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