Friday, November 6, 2009

bell hooks- Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

This book is indispensable in feminist theory and I've just realized it, despite copious amounts of reading of feminist theory on my part. I hadn't ran into bell hooks until three days ago, for some reason (which is more than likely a fault of my own). I was browsing the library, looking for sources on a paper that I'm writing about feminist notions of "sisterhood," when I stumbled onto bell hooks' Feminist Theory: from margin to center; I decided to pick it because at that point I remembered that a friend of mine, who is brilliant, found it odd that I hadn't studied her in my Contemporary Literary Theory class. I decided to take it out and skim it. I soon found that I had read half of the book and that it was entirely enrapturing, finishing it only two days after checking it out (and I'm a slow reader).
Published in the early 80s, this book explains the necessary shift from second-wave to third-wave feminism as it raises issues contained within the women's movement: issues of feminism being a "white, middle-class" movement and its lack of recognition of diversity, the lack of radical politics in feminism, and what I found very interesting, the issue of feminist "man-hating." Particularly interesting to me, being a male feminist, was her analysis of man-hating feminism as well as her recognition that universal support (regardless of "gender") is necessary for the feminist movement to be successful. Also personally interesting was her analysis of power paradigms, specifically within certain second-wave feminist beliefs.
Verdict: If you have a shed of interest in feminist theory, or leftist politics, this is a "must read," as much as I hate that cliché.
What to listen to while reading: Joanna Newsom- Ys