Critical analysis of Bell Hooks

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Bell hooks is one of the notable essayist, feminist, and social activist. Her real name was Gloria Jean Watkins. However, she decided to use the pen name Bell hooks derived from her great maternal grandmother who was referred to as Bell Blair Hooks. Born on the 25th of September 1952, she has been a renowned global feminist and an activist with a major in intersectionality of race, gender, and capitalism. Furthermore, her major activist is what she refers to as the aptitude to produce and propagate systems of class domination and oppression. Bell Hooks is a name linked to more than 50 books read worldwide as well as other numerous scholarly articles on social issues and gender oppression. Apart from the articles and many books that she featured, and others penned down by herself, she has also appeared in film media such as in documentaries and lectures.

Hooks has made herself more conspicuous than the other essayists like Cornel West, Derrick Bell, and Michael Erick Dyson due to her dismissal of academic concord, together with her inclusion of self-reflection in her work. Such themes as black womanhood, feminism together with civil rights, as addressed by Hooks, raise numerous significant questions concerning the tension amongst the white and black women in the American society, as well as in feminist movements (Modleski, 133). Bell made some comprehensive analysis of how mainstream media and pop culture portray black women in the American society. In her role in gender equality and racial segregation, Hook seems to disagree with many other activists who lean towards a capitalistic perspective on the issue of white and black women in the feminist movement.

The books as published by Hooks since the year 1984 have been revolving around social justice, feminism, and racial issues. Additionally, she seems to hate the attitude of racial segregation and that of separation by color in her works, though she mainly favors one gender, the female gender. Another thematic concern that seems to appear, or what her books and activism seem to revolve around is the place of a black woman in feminism. For instance, in her initial works, Ain’t I A Woman and Feminist Theory of 1984, she explores the issue of the place of black women in the mainstream feminist movement. Moreover, she tries to trace the oppression that the African American women suffered from the time of slavery and the American civil wars (Hooks 81).

In her subsequent works such as the Talking Back (1988), Hooks seem to have a self-reflection into her work. She explains and describes her own issues to try and expound on her themes in the books. In this work, she infuses her African American life experiences with theories to portray that feminist perception may be important in an assessment of the place of the African American woman in the American society. Thus, as a critical analysis, she seems to use her own life experience to expound on the life of an African American woman.

Thus, in summary, even though Bell Hooks has received many critical responses throughout her career, even up to date, she has maintained her feminist perception and social activism. Since her initial works from 1984, her major thematic concerns have been revolving around women’s experience, mainly black women in the American society. Generally, her works can be critically perceived to try and explain how she felt about the racist notions as well as the bitter feelings of African American women amid the other white women.

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  1. Hooks, Bell. “Ain’t I a Woman Black Women and Feminism.” (1981).
  2. Hooks, Bell. Feminist theory: From margin to center. Pluto Press, 2000.
  3. Modleski, Tania. Feminism without women: Culture and criticism in a” postfeminist” age. Routledge, 2014.
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