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I picked up a copy of bell hooks’ Feminist Theory since I’ve seen her name come up repeatedly. I’m only about halfway through, but I feel like I’ve seen what I needed to see.
Her own criticisms of “white feminism” are pretty biting, and I have to say it sounds applicable even now, thirty years later. She notes the dogmatism in feminism, the hostility toward men, the lack of definition for the word “feminism”, and so on. I would find her recommendable for that, at least. Hey, she can’t be dismissed as easily as dissident feminists are.
However, this book also establishes her very clearly as a “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” feminist. It’s kind of funny how some of the issues she has as a black woman relating to white feminists sound a lot like non-feminist men relating to feminists, yet it’s not apparent whether the parallel occurred to her. I mean, I realize explicating that would not go over well today, let alone the mid-eighties, but it still falls short of inspiring.* Oh yeah, and she totally quotes Carol Hanisch’s “Men’s Liberation” with some approval, to the end of suggesting that men do not need or should not have a movement outside feminism. It seems like she basically just wants to recruit men to be feminist foot soldiers who possess no intellectual autonomy.
I also have a copy of Millett’s Sexual Politics, which I haven’t read. Good god, she devotes as many pages (60ish) to D.H. Lawrence as she does to the eponymous subject of the book! This is not promising.
*It reminds me of FC’s Daran once categorizing his interactions with Tigtog of finallyfeminism101 as a “win” insofar as receiving basic courtesy from e-feminists is a coup.
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