Essay African Women And Black Women

Essay African Women And Black Women

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Bell hooks said feminism should be thought of as the “struggle to end sexist oppression,” instead of the movement to make women equals of men, as the rhetoric of the latter definition implies that it is always men who are oppressing women (26). For example, John Stuart Mill wrote that historically, the “subject-class” of women (166) were dominated by men, and power was “common to the whole male sex” (165). He only focused on the domination of women by men, and ignored how non-white and poor men have faced discrimination that rich white men did not have to endure, and therefore the former feels “powerless and ineffectual in relation to ruling male groups” (hooks 18). Mill also neglected to mention that black women are often victims of domination by both white men and white women and black women.
For hooks, it’s crucial to examine how race and class are important factors in sexist oppression. A strength of her essay is it challenges the popular definition of liberal feminism by replacing it with a meaning that would benefit non-white and poor women, not just rich white women. She thought it was especially important to acknowledge that middle-class and upper-class white women have enjoyed privileges lower-class and non-white women have not had. For example, although some feminists have advocated for alternative, women-centered spaces, these supporters are usually middle-class, unmarried white women who are unencumbered with the responsibilities that working-class and poor women – who are laborers, homemakers, parents, etc. – must take on (27).
Sojourner Truth’s speech exemplifies hooks’ point that white upper-class women receive privileges that non-white, poor women don’t, but those marginalized women still deserve rights. Truth sai...


... middle of paper ...


...imination or feminism but can only do so through storytelling and giving speeches – they simply don’t have the money or education to enter academia or develop feminist theories. Although feminists should encourage more non-white women to pursue academia and develop theory, it does not mean they should feel discouraged to share their personal stories, and hooks failed to address this dual possibility.
Overall, hooks’ essay does a lot to challenge inadequate notions of feminism that do not address race and class as factors in oppression, since this ideology only benefits rich white women and leaves out poor and non-white women. However, she also excludes the struggles of poor and non-white women by devaluing the significance of individual female experiences and stories, since some women do not have the education, money or resources to develop theory or enter academia.

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