Get to know feminism

Get to Know Feminism

Get to know feminism
Gloria Steinham and bell hooks at the bell hooks Institute

Feminism is for everybody

At 19, while a Stanford University undergraduate, bell hooks wrote her first book, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. The book catapulted hooks into the public eye and solidified her place as one of our nation’s most incisive social critics. From Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black to Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, her books are classics, a roll-call of radical Black feminist texts.

hooks wields her pen widely, and little escapes her gaze. Whether breaking down patriarchy (which has no gender), masculinity, mental health or representations of African Americans in popular culture, she always returns to what she maintains is an inextricable connection between justice and love. Believing that true liberation requires a mass feminist movement, hooks published Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics in 2000. The book is a primer for those who are new to or who misunderstand feminism, which she describes simply as “a movement to end sexist oppression.”

The consummate public intellectual, hooks shares her message of equity, freedom and self-actualization with all, despite age. Opposed to patriarchy even as a child, she remains committed to inspiring feminism in young children and has published five children’s books, demonstrating that her feminism really is for everybody.

Berea’s Sixth Great Commitment

The meaning of “gender equality” has changed over time, but Berea College is committed to grappling with gender equity and its consequences. Our commitment means students, faculty and staff enjoy the same opportunities and privileges regardless of whether they are men, women, gay, straight, queer, cisgender, transgender, or otherwise nonconforming.

An Intersectional Approach

Our intersectional approach to Berea College’s Great Commitments is informed by bell hooks’ insistence that we must co-think patriarchy with white supremacy, anti-imperialism, and anti-capitalism. Her feminist insights offer language and tools to upend structures of power that disallow us to “make of one blood all peoples of the earth.”