Friday, July 13, 2012

Feminism is For Everyone

Recently, I read bell hook's "Feminism is for Everyone". I had been wanting to read the book for a long time, as I read a lot of feminist theory and also am a fan of hooks herself. So, I decided I would order a copy from my local library.

I was rather excited when I first opened it up. I found myself entering a world of intellectual honesty, hard truths and bravery. The way she presents the material makes you feel like she is both your sister and wise grandmother. She speaks about feminism, race, and history from a very honest point of view. She is willing to go where many feminists are not. She is willing to talk about the mistakes feminism has made. She addresses the seemingly taboo issue of man-hating within feminism. This fact alone put a huge smile on my face! If only she realized the dialogue she was opening, the critical thinking she was facilitating. This was the kind of book that needed to be on every bookshelf.

I was so excited to read a book that had passion and insight behind it. I've read so many other books by feminists that try to dress up the issues, to try and make them somehow easier to deal with. To make the pain and suffering experienced by many less vocal. It was this sort of dishonest rhetoric that has disappointed me time and time again. This book, however has changed all of that. It has made feminist theory and literature once again beautiful to me. It has created a sustaining dialogue that encourages radical thought.

The one major critique I have of this book is its redundancy. Bell seems to repeat herself over and over again throughout. While her points are excellent, they seem to be emphasized again and again. The book itself is only about 120 pages, but with the current content could be cut down to about 70. In fact, I think cuttings its length would strengthen the book. It would make the message stronger, the convictions greater and wouldn't leave the reader lost in redundancy.

Overall, this is a great read for any feminist, or anyone that is curious about feminism. It covers everything in a short, quick read from the basics in feminist theory to history to culture. It's everything you could want in a book about feminism!

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