Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics

by bell hooks

Paper Book, 2000

Status

Checked out

Publication

Cambridge, MA : South End Press, c2000.

Description

"What is feminism? In this short, accessible primer, bell hooks explores the nature of feminism and its positive promise to eliminate sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. With her characteristic clarity and directness, hooks encourages readers to see how feminism can touch and change their lives--to see that feminism is for everybody"--

User reviews

LibraryThing member gregorybrown
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.
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LibraryThing member jgeneric
This book is a nice short read covering the basics of feminist theories and detailing bell hooks's experience in becoming a feminist. She touches on a variety of subjects and how they relate to feminism in practice. Class, work, race, bodies, relationships, sexuality, and others are all touched upon. It's pretty good, especially for a beginning text.

I picked it up because I thought I could use a little brushing up on some feminist theory, and I always prefer the basic theory stuff as opposed to the thick theory stuff. While I don't find some of hooks' stuff about the battles in Academia all interesting, I do like the points she makes about how many reformist feminists have stopped fighting for the rights of women after they got some money as high level managers, or how many white feminists used white supremacy in achieving gains. Instead, feminist organizers should make alliances with other intertwining causes like race, class, sexuality, since ultimately they all are related.

She also points out that patriarchy, which feeds into capitalism and other forms of oppression, is a system, and not an individual action, and men acting as allies are needed for any real change to happen (though men shouldn't lead it.) If you want a good primer on why feminism is truly a philosophy of liberation, and isn't anti-male or anti-sex or just limited to educated white academics, I would recommend you check this out.
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LibraryThing member noodlejet22
Great little introductory book to feminism or a reference and a quick read. If you've ever wondered or just wanted to clear some things up for yourself or for someone else, YES! this book is for you :-)
LibraryThing member Othemts
This book is a short primer on feminism that bell hooks always wanted but had to write it since it didn't exist. hooks lays down the basic concepts and theory on feminism and how it intersects with race, class, and lesbianism, among other things. It's a book that at times is also very critical of some ways in which feminism is practiced. hooks makes an interesting distinction between feminism that seeks to advance individual women in careers, education, and politics without challenging the system within which they exist - what hooks defines as "reform feminism" and notes is beneficial mostly to privileged white women - and a "revolutionary feminism" which seeks to overturn patriarchal systems and create feminist alternatives. It's also a personal book as hooks recalls her own feminist journey from the earliest consciousness raising through various conflicts. It's a great introduction to feminism if you're interested in learning more about the theory and practice, especially since feminism is all too often defined by its opponents.

Favorite Passages:
From the outset, reformist white women with class privilege were well aware that the power and freedom they wanted was the freedom they perceived men of their class enjoying. Their resistance to patriarchal male domination in the domestic household provided them with a connection they could use to unite across class with other women who were weary of male domination. But only privileged women had the luxury to imagine working outside the home would actually provide them with an income which would entitle them to be economically self-sufficient. Working-class women already knew the wages the received would not liberate them. - p. 38

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 an accessible language or shared through oral communication. Today in academic circles much of the most celebrated feminist theory is written in a 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.

Feminist advocates have not organized resources to ensure that we have television stations or consistent spots on existing stations. There is no feminist news hour on any television or radio show. One of the difficulties we faced spreading the word about feminism is that anything having to do with the female gender is seen as covering feminist ground even if it does not contain a feminist perspective. We do have radio shows and a few television shows that highlight gender issues, but that is not that same as highlighting feminism. Ironically one of the achievements of contemporary feminism is that everyone is more open to discussing gender and the concerns of women, but again, not necessarily from a feminist perspective. - p. 112
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LibraryThing member tronella
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!
LibraryThing member ahgonzales
This book is great for introducing someone to feminism and particularly how racism plays a part in the "mainstream" movement, which is Bell Hooks' intent. For anyone with more then a beginning understanding of feminism/womanism it's only a repetition of key points. I've lent this book to a few friends to get a better understanding of what the movement is about (or should be) being that it's very short and to the point.… (more)
LibraryThing member SonoranDreamer
The best introductory book to feminism I've read.
LibraryThing member catnips13
Leaves you wanting more. Very theoretical.
LibraryThing member WeeTurtle
I'll be re-reading this book as it's been some time, but of all the readings from my women's studies courses this one sticks out. It's on the simpler end of academic books, and more of a general introduction as to what feminism is and how it came to be. It's a book I would give to someone who asked me "what's the deal with feminism?"

Hooks talks about things like monogamy, patriarchal society, etc, but without the tones of anger, and takes the approach that I think is very important, the separation of "patriarchy" from "men."

I've heard mixed reviews on this books, perhaps as sounding too lofty, or not academic enough, or too jargon filled. Regardless, I think it's strength is as a launch point into a topic that gets a lot of tangled press these days.
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LibraryThing member beau.p.laurence
hooks writes with an academic voice, no doubt, but this is one of her most accessible (and relevant) works
LibraryThing member lydia1879
bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics is a brilliant book.

The reason I love this book is that it's short, it's sweet and it's accessible. Anyone (and everyone) should read it. The chapters are short and while it can be a little bit wordy, the concepts she addresses in her book are familiar.

She's critical without making you feel guilty about any transgressions. hooks moves not only to celebrate the feminist movement but to also deconstruct the problems within it and to provide solutions for the future.

If you're not sure where to start with feminist books and you want to read something that looks at a lot of aspects of feminism, this is a good place to start. If you want a book written by a woman of colour who addresses classism and racism and the exclusivity of the feminist movement, this is a good place to start. If you think that feminist books really aren't for you because they're too difficult or too upsetting to read, this is a good place to start.

This book is powerful, bell hooks is powerful, and I certainly plan to read more of her work in the future.
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LibraryThing member ladypembroke
Good primer for feminism albeit a tiny bit dated. Sadly, not dated enough. If you're looking for a basic introduction to the real concept of feminism, I would recommend this book. However, if you like commas, you will be wondering where they all went. There are definitely some sentences that are difficult to read due a serious lack of punctuation. The book could have stood to have a round of editing by someone who doesn't hate commas so much.… (more)
LibraryThing member kemilyh1988
Read this for an intro level women's studies course in undergrad. hooks came to talk to us about feminism and a student asked her on a date; she said yes. So there's that . . .
LibraryThing member willszal
bell hooks was recommended to me about a decade ago. As this book is now available as an audio edition, it the first I've gotten around to.

I've identified as a feminist since I know what feminism was (sometime in high school). In a patriarchal society, feminism is not just about women—it is about arriving at a societal dynamic whereby everyone is respected.

The title pretty much sums it up. This is a primer on feminism, and it is for everyone (especially white men). hooks explores the ways in which patriarchy is bad for everyone, even the "winners." I happen to be reading Derrick Jensen's "A Language Older Than Words" simultaneously; in it, Jensen speaks of being molested by his father. It is the sickening illustration of the truth to hooks' words.

There are some elements of the book that were surprising to me. For example, hooks draws links between abortion rights and birth control. I hadn't previously heard abortion described as a standard birth control method.

In our current era, with Trump as president and the Me Too movement, now is a great time to read this book.
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LibraryThing member magonistarevolt
This is a wonderful beginner's guide to Feminist thought and theories. It is really phenomenal for this purpose.

As a reader who already considers himself a feminist, I felt as if the book was an introduction: a thorough introduction, sure, but at the end only an introduction. bell hooks leaves the book at just over a hundred pages. Thus, if you aren't interested, it is over within a reasonable time; If you are interested, it ends way too soon. For this reason I will be picking up some other bell hooks books in the near future.… (more)
LibraryThing member jakebornheimer
Really enjoyed reading this book. Expected a primer on Feminism and actually got a bit of a critique and history of the movement which turned out to be exactly what I wanted. While hooks may sometimes (actually rarely) stray into assertions I am uncomfortable accepting, a little contemplation on my part often reveals a core of truth in each. And for the most part, I find her to be a very convincing, erudite, and interesting writer. I'd recommend this book to just about anybody because its material addresses forces which affect everybody brought up in capitalist patriarchal society.… (more)

Language

Original publication date

2000

Physical description

x, 123 p.; 23 cm

ISBN

9780896086289

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