Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot

by Mikki Kendall

Paperback, 2021

Status

Available

Publication

Penguin Books (2021), 288 pages

Description

Politics. Sociology. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ??The fights against hunger, homelessness, poverty, health disparities, poor schools, homophobia, transphobia, and domestic violence are feminist fights. Kendall offers a feminism rooted in the livelihood of everyday women.? ??Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of  How to Be an Antiracist, in The Atlantic ??One of the most important books of the current moment.???Time   ??A rousing call to action... It should be required reading for everyone.???Gabrielle Union, author of We??re Going to Need More Wine A potent and electrifying critique of today??s feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on reproductive rights, politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the… (more)

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Rating

(151 ratings; 4.3)

Media reviews

19 BLACK FEMINIST BOOKS YOU NEED IN YOUR LIBRARY

User reviews

LibraryThing member spinsterrevival
Extremely beneficial and enlightening read (or listen as I had the audio—great reading by the author).
LibraryThing member ASKelmore
Best for:
People who consider themselves feminists.

In a nutshell:
Author Mikki Kendall shares a variety of essays covering topics and areas that very much fall under the concept of feminism but that are often left out of the discussion by mainstream white feminists.

Worth quoting:
“Girls like me
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seemed to be the object of the conversations and not full participants, because we were a problem to be solved, not people in our own right.”

“We have to be willing to embrace the full autonomy of people who are less privileged and understand that equity means making access to opportunity easier, not deciding what opportunities they deserve.”

“We must move away from the strategies provided by corporate feminism that teach us to lean in but not how to actually support each other.”

Why I chose it:
I follow Ms Kendall on Twitter and saw that she had written a book. Given what I’d seen in her tweets, I knew I’d want to read her work in longer form.

Review:
I am a feminist. I am interested in fighting for equal rights, opportunities, access, and freedoms for all women. What that has meant in practice, however, has often been fighting for the things that are most affecting ME, and not the things that impact women facing more serious challenges.

Ms Kendall’s argument is that white feminism has been very narrowly focused on what white, middle-class women want, and she offers up many areas where white feminism needs to get its shit together. Whether looking at racism, misogynoir, ableism, white supremacy, or examining the challenges of housing insecurity, poverty, education, or reproductive justice, Ms Kendall points out what some of the real struggles and challenges are, and how mainstream feminism has failed - and could start - to provide support and take action.

One big component of all of this is looking at who an action or policy or work centers. Take reproductive health and reproductive justice as one example. Yes, of course I want all people who can give birth to have access to abortions and birth control. But for many pro-choice activists, that’s where it ends. Whereas Ms Kendall makes the case that reproductive justice means so much more - it means access to full healthcare, and it means receiving the support that is needed once someone DOES have a child - food, housing, childcare, education, etc.

The issues Ms Kendall discusses in this book can be fixed, but it takes serious work, work that the people who are experiencing them are already doing. It’s important that the feminists she’s speaking of don’t look at the issues and decide to get all white savior-y on them; a key thing this book has reinforced is to look at who is already doing the work and see how to best support them.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it
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LibraryThing member Narshkite
Kendall is a good writer, and much of this is a compelling argument. However, intersectionality does not mean that every issue is a feminist issue, even if the issue impacts women, even if it disproportionally impacts women. One example off the top of my head; mental health care access is not a
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feminist issue.

When feminism is stuffed full with issues outside of eliminating gender bias and curing the damage of past and present gender bias it loses focus and loses power. That feminism has abandoned black and brown and trans women is indisputable, and that is a great failure of feminism. Equal access to education, wealth, reproductive choice and the democratic process, those are fundamental feminist issues, and statistically women of color and trans women are more likely to have that access curtailed or withheld. Kendall makes these points really well and provides personal stories which supply context and illustrate the truth of these principles. Just because mental health issues or mass incarceration of black people in the US intersect with women's power that does not make them feminist issues. We as feminists might (and should) work to end the criminalization of blackness, but that does not make it part of the liturgy.

Lots of good stuff here, but Kendall comes to a pile of conclusions that have zero support and that harms the whole. She expands the definition of feminism so greatly it loses all meaning. Also, she rejects personal responsibility at every turn. One example, if poor people were given access to quality, healthy, affordable food we need to accept they might not find it palatable and therefore it is fine they don't eat it. You think anyone prefers kale to mashed potatoes? And how is that even something to be addressed by feminism?

Lots of good stuff here and it is great to hear from someone who has been a single parent, has lived in public housing, has received SNAP. If all of this had not been set forth as feminist theory, had instead been identified as cultural commentary through a feminist lens, it might have been a 4 star. It is worth the read, but solid scholarship, and a more defined and sensible big picture were missing for this reader.
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LibraryThing member NeedMoreShelves
This book was an uncomfortable but necessary read. Mikki Kendall does not pull punches, and reveals a whole lot about white women that we most likely won't want to hear. I think it's one I will return to several times. Very much recommended.
LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
This was a sweeping overview of the multifaceted ways white feminism has harmed Black people and other folks of color. I particularly appreciated Kendall's inclusion of the impact on the trans community and how she structured each topic/essay with an experience (or experiences) of her own.
LibraryThing member eas7788
Everything she says is worth saying and important to say, but I was not the ideal audience because I was already convinced. There were some issues she raised, mostly in later chapters, that I had not been as aware of. I found the chapter organization hard to follow sometimes and there was some
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repetition.
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LibraryThing member Bodagirl
An excellent primer for intersectional feminism and activism. It might seem remedial to those working in these spheres, but Kendall touches on so many points of intersection (i.e., housing, parenting, beauty norms, food insecurity, racial stereotypes, and allies) that I think everyone will take
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away at least something from this text.

I began reading a hardback version and ended up listening to the audio book. The one critique I have of the audiobook version is that the editing of the audio spliced between at least two different takes of the author reading, which was noticeable when the narration's pitch changed just enough to distract me from the content.
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LibraryThing member KallieGrace
This gives so much good perspective. I don't have much to say, because this feels like a book where I just need to sit down and absorb, and then put into practice.
LibraryThing member greeniezona
I LOVED this book when I was reading it. Shortly after finishing it I posted on Instagram "amazing! so necessary and authoritative and ferocious!" I then saw a criticism of this book that it was not written for Black women, or even for women well-versed in intersectional feminism, but for Well
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Meaning White Women, and I immediately began questioning everything about my experience of reading this book.

But picking it up again, reading the cover copy, the blurbs, flipping through and reading snippets of the essays, I think that this is exactly what the book sets out to be. It is a reminder of who mainstream feminism does and does not serve. A reminder that looking out for the most marginalized ALWAYS benefits us all. A reminder about intersections — particularly those dealing with skin color. If those aren't reminders you need, there might not be much new in this book for you. But some of us need those reminders periodically, and I found this effective on that front.
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Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2020-02

Physical description

288 p.; 7.72 inches

ISBN

0525560564 / 9780525560562
Page: 1.7494 seconds