‘Feminism is for Everybody’ Book Review by Bell Hooks
The book, ‘Feminism is for Everybody’, was written by Bell Hooks. Bell Hooks wrote this book intending to explain to society what feminism is and how it benefits everyone. She wanted men to understand that feminism is not about hating men and going against nature but creating equality for all. Feminism should include all in society. The book consists of seven chapters: neocolonialism, spirituality, male feminism, education, marriage and childbearing, male feminism, anti-violence movements, and consciousness-raising (Hooks 2).
Hooks gives a brief history of the feminist movement and some of its disappointments. In chapter one, Hook mainly talks about how the movement changed from primarily concentrating on issues to do with females moving up the corporate ladder. Due to this, some women were excluded from the campaign. The women excluded from the movement included women of color and those of the low and middle classes. All this made it seem that the campaign was all about women acquiring everything men had; for example, their jobs, pension, and opportunities. The movement’s main idea was to put an end to patriarchy and sexism and not compete with men. The campaign was not about attaining what men had. A scenario had been created whereby the privileged and educated women mainly considered the feminist movement leaving out the rest. (Sapp 8). The main reason for this was that women’s interests were divided according to their race and class.
Bell Hooks continuous to say that women need to stick together to achieve our goals. We should only feel free to relax when all of us have been liberated. None of us should be left behind in the course. She also notes that feminism will continue to be worthless unless every woman in society has access to it. The language used should be easy so that everyone in the community can understand it. Books on feminism should also be produced for children to read them and learn as they grow. Failing to make all this information accessible to all, they will get the wrong information from all the misleading sources such as the patriarchal media.
The author states that privileged women’s economic gains are not a good sign for all women, but the working class and poor women also contributed to it. (Sapp 11). She draws this conclusion from the works of Mary Barfoot, Brett Friedan, and Charlotte Brunch. In the book, she tries to convince women to work to enhance the quality of their lives. Work should not be done only to earn money. Working in this way will challenge class elitism as everyone will live a quality life. Feminism is also political action. It will not work unless there is political action. Engaging in political activity allows them to fight for their rights and be heard by the whole world. She critiques the class struggles within the feminist movement. The class struggle is between the highly educated and high-class women to illiterate people and those that belong to the lower class. Class is a challenge that inhibits the growth of the movement.
She also states that the feminism movement has not been successful because there is a lot of competition between women. Instead of this, women should view each other as sisters. Another reason is that women mainly focus on their lifestyle and power feminism such that they fail to see the main goal, which is to end sexism. According to Bell Hooks, feminism will not be successful if men are not included in the course. The reason is that the movement is not against men but the sexist’s behavior by both men and women. (Sapp 67) Learning about feminism can take place both in school and outside school.
Hooks also shows some of the issues that affect feminism today, such as race, class, reproductive rights, and work. When the feminist movement began, it mainly focused on the issues affecting the privileged. They campaigned for sexual liberation. The point of free love led to a lot of topics such as unwanted pregnancies. While the elite could afford this, the lower classes could not. The issues of an illegal abortion caused many deaths and led to women campaigning to legalize abortion and make it affordable. (Hooks 25) The author takes a lot of time to argue that feminism is not all about being hating men and taking over their opportunities. Instead, it should entail providing a good life for everyone by removing the patriarchal society.
The arguments bought forward by Bell Hooks are very persuasive are we can still see some of these things happening today. One of these is whereby the lower-class women feel excluded from the course. You can also see the feminists’ movement refusing to embrace inclusion, although this should not be happening. Instead of viewing this as a competition, everyone should work together to achieve a common goal. The author sends a message to young children that sexism is still an issue that exists, and they should also play a positive role in putting an end to all this. All this will not be achieved unless we imagine a great future for everyone in society.
Although Bell Hooks brings forward excellent arguments on feminism, she does not give any workable suggestions on how we can resolve all this. However, she offers several tips, such as co-ops, with female principles being implemented (Sapp 43). Other recommendations include job-sharing opportunities and paying workers and teachers more. She also gives a solution whereby men will get equal welfare as women. For anyone to bring any change, they must be doing it due to love and care for other people in society. Hooks includes many of her personal stories and uses emotions such that the book is no longer an academic one. However, I find that the language used is very simple and easy to read for anyone. The chapters also talk about one topic in a very detailed manner.
I love the book because the author stresses involving men in the feminist movement. After all, the fight is not against men but sexism. The book also challenges one to think widely about issues that affect the feminist movement. People who are interested in feminism should look at the mistakes that were made previously and avoid them. The feminist agenda will only be achieved once issues to do with class and race are dealt with. Future feminists should look at all of this with other people in mind; otherwise, they will not achieve the goal as it will be from a selfish point of view. It is also important to have everyone included in the course and learn as much as possible to improve society.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is starting to learn about feminism. The book has great insights for both men and women. Feminism indeed involves everyone, and everyone should make an effort to be involved. The book is a great one as it clearly explains all that one needs to know concerning feminism from an honest point of view. If everyone could adopt the theories that Bell hooks explain, then they would understand the issue.