Rating: Three out of five stars
bell hooks set out to write a manuscript that could be easily read, easily spread to inform people of the feminist perspective. She sought to create a definitive feminist piece, opening it without the heavy feminist jargon. In this aspect, this book is not that. The reading is heavy with political and social jargon that is not the norm outside of academia. This results in the failing of the original purpose. I would not recommend this book to others as an introduction to feminism, considering the heightened language may intimidate those who have not yet been exposed to feminist thought.
Grammar and spelling errors (and the vast lack of commas) add a layer of difficulty to the reading experience. This book also portrays outdated language, such as “butch females.” hooks cites herself, but rarely cites statistics with official sources, relying instead on sensationalized language.
If I had never been exposed to feminism before reading this book, I would have become very intimidated by one of the solutions hooks proposes. She prompts the reader to imagine a world in which feminists passed out literature by going door-to-door, like some Christian sects. This was very off-putting, considering the parallelism between radical anything and radical feminism.
As a bisexual woman, it was also off-putting to read the words “lesbian” and “bisexual” as interchangeable, synonymous entities. She furthers the treatment of these words by coupling them with the word “choose,” such as “choosing lesbianism” or “choosing bisexuality.” While she may have meant the choice of partner, her words implied that she believes sexuality to be a choice. Never does she mention transgender individuals.
Even with these faults, valid points exited within her tangents. Not only does hooks point out such problems, such as the fact that both women and men indirectly support violence when in positions of power, but she offers solutions to them as well. While I may not agree with the solutions, hooks does something not many other activists do; she points out a problem, and suggests a way to fix it while opening up the conversation for further dialogue. While I would not recommend this book as an introductory text, I would recommend this as further reading, highlighting the problematic content.
This review can also be found on Goodreads.
Picture from Amazon.