bell hooks starts diving into a new issue with the feminist movement, where the spread of their ideologies and thoughts were mostly found in written words – books, pamphlets, and different public papers. This had a direct effect on illiterate women all over the country, especially women who could gain from the movement overall. Education is apart of the feminist agenda but it creates more of a divide between intellectual women and women who are not able to get a seat in these discussions. It was difficult for women to even receive public funding for classes, they were to seek out sponsorships or get help from small literacy programs. The feminist movement was more affluent in higher education, where college students were learning and discussing while other women all over were unable to read and understand these ideas. Charlotte Bunch explains the political importance of literacy, how reading and writing are vital to change; also breaks down the process of where knowing how to read and write can take an individual, when it comes to coming up with new ideas, being able to carry conversation about the movement, and having the ability to think for themselves. hooks brings up the tasks college students within women’s studies courses fulfill to spread the feminist theories in a better way than books, which is word of mouth. At first the women were not comfortable with approaching strangers but in intention to take feminism out of universities these women went door to door to reintroduce feminist politics to a wider audience. Verbal communication like hooks says is the best way to circulate thoughts, soon they started women’s studies courses closer to common folk, like local community centers, YM/WCA and churches. Bringing back up the issue with written works for the feminist movement, hooks adds that leaders and educators within the movement should learn to write and educate in a way where many people can understand and learn from; complex styles usually reach a small audience.
There is a disconnect between feminist intellectuals and anti- intellectuals, hooks calls it a “tug- of- war” between theory and practice. The feminist movement is led by individuals of a bourgeois class background which leads to women in higher education to have more attention than illiterate women in need. The cutoff between ideas and practices creates an issue with participants understanding theories and bourgeois class intellectuals developing ideas without “relation to lived experiences.” hooks leaves off with that women need to embrace education, think critically and systematically about women’s roles, women’s control, and feminism as a whole.
Chapter 9 opens up the discussion of the feminist movement bringing attention to male violence against women; the movement has taken initiative to create shelters for women that were suffering form domestic violence. Feminists believe that this violence is directly linked to the politics of sexism and male supremacy, feeding into the “right” of men to dominate women. hooks adds in Susan Schecter to explain how male dominance in society encourages violence against women; through families, enforced by institutions and economic arrangements. hooks agrees with Schecter but also believes that the violence is apart of many other occurrences between the “powerful and powerless,” she explains that we need to understand that both men and women are capable of violence to avoid the idea of women always being labeled the victim and men the abuser. hooks then tests this concept of men overpowering women on lesbian relationships, if men are the abusers is the argument what do we have to say about same sex relationships; hooks concludes it makes no difference and that our relationships are naturally based on power and domination. hooks uses John Hodges to explain how society accepts the “traditional western family” of having the male dominant and the authoritative rule over others like children in households. Hodges goes on to explain that the accepted norm of adults have power over nonadults and males having power over females, are just examples of how our dualist culture is ironically a hierarchal rule. hooks brings in the patriarchal male rule, how times have changed overtime where men explicitly overpowered women to men turning into “workers” (benefitting the capitalist state) to become more of a provider for families. This follows behind the idea – false narrative – that if you provide for the family you now have the authority; this is tested when women begin to learn to read and write and now can work. hooks talks about a concept of “cycle of violence” where men are at work being chastised by their employers, but are not able to retaliate because of consequences; these men knowing there are no issues in letting anger out at home in their own space, tend to lash out at women because there is no fear. hooks explains there is no surprise because of what is shown by media, she provides examples of magazines and tv shows that affirm that violent men are rewarded and praised when they “save” the women. hooks wraps up the conversation with how the feminist movement must change their ideology of male supremacy is the result of violence against women and understand that to see a change overall they must take initiative to end all types of violence.
What institutions today still implement the heirarchal rule between men and women?
How does sexist ideology play a role in how males are dominating women in sexual relationships?
How is pornography an example of how we have equated violence with love?