Bell Hooks' Feminist Goals

The definition of ‘feminism’ varies from person to person, this may be due the fact that many people are not well educated about feminism, or have misinformed preconceived notions about it defines feminism as, “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” Many people, men and women included, shy away from feminism, because they think being a feminist requires, in some degree, in sexism towards men, Feminism, however, doesn’t require any sexist thoughts or actions at all; in fact, one of feminism’s goals is to eradicate sexism in every form‘ Many influential feminists, such as Bell Hooks, further explain and detail the term, coining feminism as, “a movement to end sexism, oppression, and sexual exploitation” Feminism first began during the time of the second World War‘.

While the men of America were off engaging in battles and combat, women were called upon to rise to the challenge of fulfilling the occupational gaps that the drafted men had left in the economic system Many women took up laborious jobs, and they quickly became accustomed to holding an occupation, gaining a sense of ambition, and cashing their weekly paycheck However, when the war ended, the males returned to reclaim their previous jobs, leaving women to reclaim theirs: cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, and looking beautiful while doing it all, Though many men had just finished fighting a strenuous, long battle, women were now fighting their own.

After tasting freedom, many women found themselves growing bored of mundane housework and, as a result, began to feel empty inside (Freidan, 1963).

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So they began to proposition for the opportunity of good, stable occupations in the work force again, as well as the basic rights that men had (although they had gained the right to vote a little over twenty years prior) Women wanted more than housework, and they wanted more than a low-ranked job (the most common, if any, jobs for women during this time was working as an operator) This was the beginning of the feminist movement that is still around today. I identify as an equalitarian, because I believe in equal rights and opportunities for people of all races, genders, beliefs, religions, and cultures. I don’t believe that anyone deserves to be oppressed, sexually exploited, belittled, or ostracized because of the gender they identify as I believe in the ideals of second-wave, classical feminism.

However, it’s difficult for me to say without restraint that I am a contemporary, “third-wave” feminist, because many women who claim to be feminists today do perpetuate the negative stereotypes that revolve around feminism, such as hating men simply for the reason that they are men Many modern “feminists” are uneducated about the goals of the movement, and choose to reject and ignore the struggles and oppressions of male class; there is little equal representation of each gender’s problems Men, women, and all other genders, in a legal sense, are equal and each have the same rights, Similarly, in modern society, both sexes are still being oppressed Men can be raped, harassed, and over 40% of domestic violence victims are men (Campbell, 2010), Men can be objectified, oppressed, and are held to many societal norms very similar to how women are. Feminism is designed to help us achieve equality, but how are we supposed to achieve equality when we only focus on one gender’s issues, and ignore the others?

It is impossible to achieve full, social equality if one entire group’s issues are not well represented and/or ignored, Disregarding someone’s problems simply because of their sex perpetuates sexism, which is exactly what the feminist movement is trying to eradicate, I do believe in the goals of feminism (fighting against and ending oppression, sexual exploitation, and sexism) and I agree with the values and morals of classical feminism. However, there are common qualities associated with modern feminism that I don’t agree with These qualities arise from the ignorance and stereotypes circulating around feminism (ignorance that comes from both men and women), and don’t accurately represent feminism and its purpose. When feminism was first forming, consciousness-raising groups existed to help educate women and men about feminism and its goals, demonstrating that it wasn’t a sexist movement against men.

These groups no longer exist, but we still seem to badly need them. Feminism is facing the same problems today as it was in the 1900’s; false representation. These misrepresentations are causing feminism to gain a bad reputation, In 1968, during the Miss America protest, many women took off their bras, accessories, jewelry, and make-up and threw these items into a trashcan (deemed the Freedom Trashcan, as it was a symbol of throwing away the items that bound women to a society that judged them solely on their gender and their appearance) However, the media that covered the protest claimed that instead of throwing away their brassieres, the feminist women lit them on fire and allowed them to burn in the trashcan (Jennifer Lee, 2014) This, of course, was a blatant lie, as it was illegal to start fires on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, but unfortunately, many people read about the bra-burning and believed it. This lie gave early feminists the reputation of being dangerous, radical, ignorant. Feminists today are still facing problems like this. Feminism is rarely supported, because of the myth that all feminists are ”feminazis,” and that feminism supports sexism against males.

The Meriam-Webster‘s Dictionary defines a ‘feminazi’ as, “an extreme of militant feministt” This is an inaccurate definition, because feminism supports equal rights and tries to eliminate sexism. These women (it’s extremely rare to hear a man being called this name) are said to think all men are disgusting and wretched; perpetuating sexism and, therefore, are not actually feminists. These women want to live in a society that is not utopian (as feminists do), but in a world whose structure is a reverse-patriarchy, How can feminism flourish in a society that, when someone feels strongly about the movement, they are insulted and called names that are unfair, degrading, and erroneous, and that associate them with the soldiers who engaged in mass genocide? Bell Hooks, the author of many books describing and explaining the feminist movement and theory, makes the claim that many women and men are uncomfortable associating themselves with feminism, because they believe that to be a feminist, one needs to feel animosity and disgust towards much or all of the male class.

Bell Hooks disagrees with this assertion, saying that feminism is not anti-male at all. Hooks states that men are not the problem; sexism is the problem, I agree with her, because by oppressing any gender, we are not promoting the eradication of oppression or sexismr Equality means equal rights, not that one gender towers over another. Men are being held to societal standards too, In the documentary, Miss Representation, feminists talk about how contemporary media hyper-sexualizes and objectifies both men and women. Ads (ones sponsoring real and legitimate businesses such as Geico insurance and Trojan) depict men literally as pigs. Media is not only hurting women; men are also being objectified, hyper-sexualized, and even dehumanized in advertisements every day, The media attempts to create the belief that every woman is beautiful, young, sexy, and sexually available. It attempts to create the belief that men are strong, masculine, ”emotionally constipated,” and consumed by thoughts of sex.

Modern society is unfair to everyone; feminism is trying to create justice, but we can‘t find justice in a world where genders are constantly pitted against each other, The feminist movement understands this, which is why it’s not antiemale. Feminism, when it was first created, was very popular and appealing to many people of various genders, races, and cultures. In recent years, however, the movement has lost some of its appealr This loss of appeal is mainly due to the fact that it’s misrepresented and has several incorrect myths circulating it. Feminism is not anti-male, and all feminists do not hate men based on their gender, Feminism is a movement that is anti-sexism, anti-oppression, and anti-sexual exploitation.

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Bell Hooks' Feminist Goals. (2022, Nov 20). Retrieved from

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