“Feminist thinking teaches us all, especially, how to love justice and freedom in ways that foster and affirm life.” – Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
bell hooks is an influential and controversial feminist, theoretician, public intellectual, author, poet and professor of literature.
While an undergrad at Stanford University, bell began writing her landmark book, Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, an intellectual pursuit devoted to black feminist theory. Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, is titled after Sojourner Truth’s famous speech which was delivered at the 1851 Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. Published in 1981 when she was only 29 years old, bell’s thesis examines, racism, feminism; racism within the feminist movement, sexism, intersectionality and the lower status of black women throughout American history and in contemporary popular culture.
Since the publication of Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, bell has written and edited over 40 books on patriarchy, media representation, love, racism, activism as well as memoirs and volumes of poetry. Her main thesis continues to be on feminism and black feminist theory, and her books, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity are commonly taught in philosophy, Black studies, and women and gender studies.
In 2001, the highly quoted social critic published All About Love: New Visions, a book about the impossibility of love within patriarchy, power struggles, inequality and racism. Writing beyond the boundaries of romantic and hetero-normative love, bell hooks discusses platonic love, love towards your community, parental love, gender roles, commitment and the radical notion of self-care and self-love.
In the fall of 2013, bell became a resident scholar at the Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts in New York. So popular were her public conversations with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry that bell hooks returned as a resident scholar two more times throughout 2014. Her conversations included panels with Gloria Steinem, Laverne Cox, Marci Blackman, Lisa Fischer and more. The topics explored the protection of black girls, liberating black female bodies, and listening to black female voices.
Gloria Jean Watkins was born to a working-class family in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Her pen name, bell hooks, was adopted from her grandmother, whom the iconic feminist scholar said “was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [she] greatly admired”.
bell hooks was born on September 25, 1952 and she’s this week’s Woman Hurrying History.
Narrated by Elysse Cloma
Music by Ketsa