The Theory of Feminism

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Feminism is the theory of ‘social, political and economic equality of the sexes’ (Mathews, Class Notes, slide 3). Bell Hooks, more formally know as Gloria Jean Watkins born September 25th in 1952, is an American author, social activist and Feminist. Watkins took her pen name ‘bell hooks’ from her great grandmother Bell Blair Hooks, but uses the name in all lowercase letters to distinguish herself from her great grandmother. She held a leading role in the Second Wave of Feminism which lasted from the 1960’s to the late 1980’s, it dealt with issues of legal, cultural and gender inequalities. Hooks is most well known for her first published piece of feminist text ‘Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism’. She has gone on to write and publish over 30 books which have greatly influenced postmodern feminist thinking. As well as having written many books, she has also appeared in a variety of documentaries, held numerous lectures and published mainstream magazines. Bell hooks is an all round feminist, after reading her work I do not believe she fits in to one category of feminism but her writings take liberal, radical, cultural, socialist and black feminism equally into account. Hooks also realises the importance of male involvement in the feminist movement and that in order to make a real change men must also do their part. Bell Hooks does not view feminism as the need for women to be equal to men. In her article Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression, she states that women do not have a clear cut definition of what feminism is, she admits that this is because women do not ‘share a common vision of what equality means’ (bell hooks, 1984 p23). However she believes that feminism ‘is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression’ (bell hooks, 2000). Her writings focus on this belief as well as intersectionality, putting an end to discrimination and overall equality. Her writings set out to explain the theories and perspectives of feminism to...
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