At age 69, bell hooks—aka Gloria Jean Watkins—has died.
And my feminist heart aches from this tremendous loss.
bell hooks was not only a feminist, social activist, and compelling author, but she was a powerful voice in the Black community who transformed our understanding of intersectionality, the marginalization of Black women, and radical feminist theory.
She was a hero and absolute legend who will be—and already is—deeply missed.
But her powerful words in the many books she has written and events she has spoken at will continuously influence and define what it means to be an intersectional feminist. She will forever be the voice of the feminist movement—and the voice we all desperately needed.
Thank you, bell hooks. We love you. Rest in power.
And because we must continue to learn and expand our understanding of intersectional feminism, here are 10 times bell hooks was the voice of radical, lasting, powerful feminism:
“If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.”
“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. I liked this definition because it does not imply that men were the enemy.”
“Sexism has never rendered women powerless. It has either suppressed their strength or exploited it.”
“The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.”
“Feminist education—the feminist classroom—is and should be a place where there is a sense of struggle, where there is visible acknowledgment of the union of theory and practice, where we work together as teachers and students to overcome the estrangement and alienation that have become so much the norm in the contemporary university.”
“Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Its aim is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any particular race or class of women. It does not privilege women over men. It has the power to transform meaningfully all our lives.”
“Feminist thinking teaches us all, especially, how to love justice and freedom in ways that foster and affirm life.”
“As long as women are using class or race power to dominate other women, feminist sisterhood cannot be fully realized.”
“The soul of our politics is the commitment to ending domination.”
“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this ‘In order to love you, I must make you something else.’ That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake, and recast you.”