Recently, Paper Magazine published an interview between bell hooks and Emma Watson as part of their Girl Crush series, which connects women who admire one another for meaningful conversation. Although Watson is known to millions for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series and for her feminist activism with the HeForShe campaign, hooks is less visible to the average person, but has shaped the face of contemporary feminism for decades through rigorous intellectual and activist contributions. With dozens of books to her name exploring the ways race, class, and gender shape our consciousness and the cultural landscape around us, hooks — who spells her name in lower case letters to divert focus from herself to the substance of her writing — should be on every young feminist's reading list.
As a feminist lecturer teaching college today, I've found that hooks' 2000 publication Feminism Is For Everybody is an ideal way to introduce students to feminist ideology and the many important subsets of feminist theory, from reproductive rights and sexual expression to wage equality and intersectionality. hooks set the gold standard for feminist primers when she wrote this book, and its straightforward yet powerful style is sure to equally inspire those both inside and outside the classroom. Here are eight quotes from Feminism Is For Everybody to give you all the feminist feels:
1. "Feminists are made, not born."
2. "The clothing and revolution created by feminist interventions let females know that our flesh was worthy of love and adoration in its natural state; nothing had to be added unless a woman chose further adornment."
3. "Our experiences counter the assumption that women can only gain economically by acting in collusion with the existing capitalist patriarchy."
4. "Feminist movement, especially the work of visionary black activists, paved the way for a reconsideration of race and racism that has had positive impact on our society as a whole."
5. "In our nation masses of people are concerned about violence but resolutely refuse to link that violence to patriarchal thinking or male domination."
6. "We need an erotics of being that is founded on the principle that we have a right to express sexual desire as the spirit moves us and to find in sexual pleasure a life-affirming ethos."
7. "For there can be no sustained sisterhood between women when there is ongoing disrespect and subordination of lesbian females by straight women."
8. "Feminist politics aims to end domination to free us to be who are — to live lives where we love justice, where we can live in peace. Feminism is for everybody."
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