If white American feminist theory need not deal with the differences between us, and the resulting difference in our oppressions, then how do you deal with the fact that the women who clean your houses and tend your children while you attend conferences on feminist theory are, for the most part, poor women and women of Color?
What is the theory behind racist feminism?
If you actually cared about men’s issues, you wouldn’t tack them on as an afterthought to a woman’s conversation: You’d instead be actively engaging in dialogues that explore the nuances of men’s problems in society. You wouldn’t simply wait until a woman is speaking and then shout “Yeah, men too!” You’d talk about these things independently and give men the attention that they deserve as individuals, instead of waiting for a woman to do the work, shouldering her aside and then insisting that men be given a spot on the stage too.
If you actually cared about women’s issues, you wouldn’t demand that they give up their space. You’d recognize that conversations by women and about women are perfectly valid. When a woman is talking about her personal experiences and the way social pressures have affected her life, you wouldn’t allow her to be interrupted or derailed. You wouldn’t actively talk over her or steal away attention, focusing on issues that are outside of her point, until the conversation drifts so far away that you aren’t even discussing women anymore.
So both now and in the future, my answer here is going to remain the same: Can we talk about everyone?
We’re still talking about women right now.
I just needed to give a special shout out to how great & useful these words were(via newwavefeminism)
Some of the work bell hooks’ has done as available on the internet for personal education and reference. Certain books that were up are gone and I’m looking about finding them again. In the meantime if you need them, contact me by leaving a message with your email address in the submissions box and I’ll email them to you. If you find anything, please contact me as well. The most updated version of this list will always be here.
- Ain’t I a Woman (pdf)
- All About Love: New Visions (pdf)
- Art on my Mind (ask through email)
- Beauty Laid Bare: Aesthetics in the Ordinary (google doc)
- Black Looks: Race and Representation (pdf)
- Black Women Intellectuals (pdf) (from Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life with Cornel West)
- "Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness" (pdf) (from Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics)
- "Cool Cynicism" (pdf) (from Reel to Real
- Cultural Criticism and Transformation (youtube video, part 1)
Also: Transcript (pdf)
- Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance (page 366 or type in page 406 of 795)
- Ending Domination: The Struggle Continues (youtube video, full)
- "Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression" (pdf) (from Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center)
- Feminism Is For Everybody: Passionate Politics (pdf)
- "Feminist Class Struggle" (article, though pdf download available through the link) (as I understand, excerpted from Feminism is for Everybody)
- "Feminist Theory: A Radical Agenda" (pdf) (from Talking Back)
- "Ice Cube Culture: A Shared Passion for Speaking Truth" (ask through email) (chapter 12 from Outlaw Culture, an interview with ice cube)
- "Is Paris Burning?" (pdf) (Chapter 9 of Black Looks: Race and Representation
- Killing Rage: Ending Racism (pdf) and the opening essay (pdf)
- Love as the Practice of Freedom (pdf)
- "Marginality as site of resistance" (pdf)
- Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (pdf—parts of the book, anyway)
- "Postmodern Blackness" (pdf) (from Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics)
- Remembered Rapture: Dancing With Words (pdf)
- "Romance: Sweet Love" (pdf) (from Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions, 4th Ed. By S. Shaw and J. Lee)
- Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace. (pdf)
- "Straightening out Hair" (article)
- Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (pdf)
- Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (pdf on the web!)
- The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators (pdf)
- Understanding Patriarchy (pdf)
- Where We Stand: Class Matters (pdf) Also here.
- We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity (pdf).
- Her talk at Louis & Clark college from 1 February, 2006 here.
To note, this is meant in particular for those people who’d like to educate themselves but don’t have the resources to get these books for themselves. bell hooks has put a lot of work into these, and it would be horrible if you could afford to buy the books and didn’t.
More online resources here.
Edit as of 23rd June, 2014: list updated (and alphabetized). Many thanks to wretchedoftheearth, elainecastillo, grim-dark, erosum, mmmajestic, andreaisace, ebookcollective, cantbereallif, ericstoller, sittinghereinbluejayway, nebulaemporium and other people through emails who all helped add links and resources.
And: this is a killjoy formulation. I learnt this from being a killjoy: so much of what I learn begins with this experience. So: there is a disagreement. Say two parties disagree; they do not affect each other well. They argue, perhaps. And: she becomes disagreeable. That this becomes her quality teaches us how we can receive qualities by those with whom we are in relation. Yes, rather like things. Qualities can stick; they become sticky. Once a quality is sticky, she is stuck with it. She becomes “known” as disagreeable. When she is stuck with it, she is stuck. Once she is stuck, and there is a disagreement, stickiness becomes quickness. She is quickly assumed as the one behind it.
Another way I have put this: there is a social agreement around who is the cause of disagreement. When things are in agreement, they tend to recede from view. To become a cause of disagreement is to block what is assumed as the flow of communication. There she is: the feminist killjoy. In the way, getting in the way. She stands out; she stands apart.
And so: she has a quality of being disagreeable, a quality that becomes hers. She acquires the quality of a relation when the relation is negation. She too becomes hard, we might say. She becomes no, not. To avoid being the quality of a bad relation (in order not to be a bad relation) she might have to become more agreeable. She might have to soften her character. She might have to become more pliable. I have called this duty “to become agreeable” the happiness duty.
THE FEMINIST UTOPIA PROJECT: A FORTHCOMING ANTHOLOGY FROM THE FEMINIST PRESS
Too many of us know too intimately the ways sexism constrains our lives, limiting our opportunities, harming our bodies, reducing us. Often unspoken, though, is the way misogyny limits our imaginations. The ubiquity of sexism comes to feel like the inevitability of sexism. Electoral politics narrow our ambitions to preserving the rights we are told we can have rather than mobilizing for what should be.
So where and when do we envision?
The Feminist Utopia Project pushes us to dream bigger. And weirder. To want more. To move beyond critique and to imagine omnivorously.
We are currently compiling radically imaginative essays, short fiction, poetry, and artwork that answer the question of what a feminist world would look like. These contributions will root themselves in history and experience to invent and demand a better future. We hope that this anthology, in offering a diverse collection of utopias, will inspire American feminists (as well as potential feminists) to imagine their own visions and reach for unprecedented possibilities.
People, not ideas, will build our utopias. But the first step toward a feminist world is to imagine it collectively. Join us.
Omfg the whole bad bitch aesthetic on here has gone way too far like she works for drug cartels?? They exploit poor women as drug mules then slaughter their families when they get caught at customs and go to prison for the rest of their lives wtf she isnt some icon this shit isnt admirable at all
this is like peak liberal choice feminism tbh
the drug cartels have murdered literally tens of thousands of people in Mexico over the last decade and a good portion of the country is basically living in a war zone right now but hey, one of their hired killers apparently murders people in lipstick and heels so naturally why talk about systemic violence and the U.S. demand for drugs keeping the cartels in power when you can talk about WEAPONIZED FEMININITY!!!1!! instead
All the talk about consent in u.s. feminist discourse should be discarded altogether and replaced with a more fruitful term that takes institutions customs people situations into account; ‘consent’ is literally the most fragile inadequate vacant concept because a) it’s Kantian in a way that is not salvageable, the concept presupposes that there is an act one assents to and that the assent or agreement is what determines the legitimacy of the act - this carries social contract baggage about individuals entering into an agreement about some relation or other they are about to /but have not yet/ create(d). Does no one see how outdated and wrong this is. People can consent to whatever the hell they want - they can consent to exploitation that’s what the whole point of ‘free labor’ is and like wow sorry to bring up Marx but remember how in one sphere of society, I.e. the market - the surface area, workers and bosses seem to be entering an agreement, but in another sphere, production (as well as social reproduction for women) there is exploitation at its barest form? Why is there exploitation (not *what* is exploitation but *why* does it happen)? Because people aren’t encountering society as atomized subjects making choices there are also property relations and someone who owns capital has the power to create terms of agreement that you appear to be consenting to. You are consenting yes because you either work or starve. Why is patriarchy any different? Why is market logic permeating all of your feminisms? Rape isn’t about consent it is about access to bodies and power over these bodies and this oppressive phenomenon happens to be gendered as well as many other things
God I’m so sick of garbage feminism
Someone should put this into simple terms so I can understand it better maybe I’m dumb idk
OK I’ll take this on. You’re not dumb, you just aren’t familiar with the concepts being used here yet. There are some big steps to work through so let’s see if I can manage it…
The concept of consent depends on a few basic assumptions that are pretty questionable. It begins with a certain understanding of what individuals are, and how they enter into relationships with one another and the world around them. It assumes that relationships between individuals are based on something called the “social contract.” The idea of the social contract presumes that individual subjects are completely free agents who agree to certain rules of conduct for the sake of mutual benefit, and it assumes that what an individual subject desires is completely transparent to themselves, that individual desires unproblematically “belong” to the individual, and doesn’t account for how desires are actually formed in relation to history and to other people. There are at least two key problems with this way of understanding the relationship between individuals and others:
1.) It doesn’t take into account that subjectivity and individual desires are actually formed through relationships, through pre-existing realities that they could never have consented to.
2.) It presumes that individuals are fundamentally driven by calculating self-interest, and that we enter into the social contract consensually because it maximizes potential well-being, wealth, and security.
To make a long story short, these assumptions are the basis of the liberal capitalist worldview. The OP is arguing that this way of understanding relationships completely misses the mark. We can all “consent” to just about anything, but that doesn’t account for where desires come from and how they’re formed. By uncritically adopting this framework, feminists reproduce capitalist social relationships instead of challenging them.
Feminism that uncritically adopts liberal capitalist understandings of the basis of social relationships doesn’t far enough in terms of understanding or challenging the basis of gendered oppression. It perpetuates it. Oppression is “structural,” it’s built into the fabric of existing social relationships, so if we uncritically adopt the basic framework for explaining and navigating relationships we just prop up the very structure of gendered oppression. If we want to challenge structures of oppression we need a more incisive understanding of the relationship between individuals, and the formation of subjectivity. Consent isn’t good enough. Of course that doesn’t mean we should just throw it out the window (no still means no), but it’s just not the golden ticket to developing non-oppressive relationships. We have to go deeper than that.
The Trouble Between Us: An Uneasy History of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement
Segregated Sisterhood: Racism Politics American Feminism
Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism
Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment
Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
Feminism Is For Everybody: Passionate Politics
The Womanist Reader: The First Quarter Century of Womanist Thought
Black Feminist Voices in Politics
Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968–1980
I feel some kind of way about all these white women writing poems and posts about “feminist dragons” and “monstrous femininity” without
a) acknowledging how Black women have been writing and theorizing and making art about these concepts for a long ass time
b) recognizing the intersection of race and sexuality on which all womanhood and femininity hinges
c) considering the role of colonialism in crushing (and now usurping) the myths of sacred feminine power and/or monster women in various non-Euro cultures
d) bothering to nod at the “Dragon Lady” stereotype that’s been deployed against East Asian women to strip them of humanity and agency
e) thinking about why it’s so easy for white women to give up princesshood for dragonhood when a lot of us weren’t given a choice
basically, this is all in the vein of “weaponized femininity” and the other feminist catchphrases that white women both on and off tumblr pretend to have pulled out of thin air with no sense of accountability or history. smh.