Jessica Valenti believes that every girl is a feminist. It doesn’t matter if you try and say you’re not, you are. If you have a problem with something that society says or does that would make a woman feel degraded, you are a feminist. Feminists come in many different ways and it doesn’t always mean you are anti-man, it simply means you just want what you should deserve as a woman and as a human being. Hooks’ definition of feminism is a movement to end sex oppression. Both authors make it clear that women shouldn’t be scared to admit that they are feminists. They are both proud to call themselves feminists and believe the rest of humanity should do the same. In both essays, it’s mentioned what society defines as feminism, as people who hate men. This statement is cleared up by both authors and define feminism as not hating men but wanting women to be treated as equals. The term sisterhood is also trashed by both authors, they both seem to believe that it’s not a real thing or something people should follow. Some differences in these readings are that Valenti’s tone is much angrier, you can tell that she is really affected by what people think about feminism and she is very passionate about the topic. It was more interesting to read her essay as it felt like I was talking to a friend rather than reading an informational article like Bell Hook’s.
Before reading the two essays, my definition of feminism was for people of all genders to be treated equally. I believe that no matter how you identify there shouldn’t be a difference in how you are treated. Even after reading these two essays, I still stand by my definition. Now that I am more enlightened by the readings, I can add on to the definition without changing it completely. Just because you are a feminist you shouldn’t be anti-man or anti-everything. As Valenti mentioned, it is progressive and as a society we can abolish the typical feminist stereotypes.
Something that really stuck out to me in Valenti’s essay is how she referred to the word “feminist” as the “F-word.” A lot of people are ashamed or scared of using the term feminist because they fear what society might think about them. Stereotypically as mentioned by the author, “feminists are supposed to be ugly. And fat. And hairy!” People might look at a feminist and think that they are weird just because they want to be treated with respect and be treated equally and they are scared of using the word feminist because people might get the wrong impression. It’s a term people don’t like to use or call themselves because it’s a “bad word.” I liked how Valenti called it the f-word. I know a lot of people that struggle with admitting that they are feminists because people will judge or look at them weird. I believe people shouldn’t even have to tell people that they are a feminist, we all should be and not have to explain ourselves. But even though I believe this, feminism shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing and if you are a feminist you should embrace it and not hide it.
After doing some research on both authors, I was particularly fascinated by Bell Hooks. She grew up in a middle-class family and lived in a segregated town. She also attended racially segregated schools and wrote about her transition into an integrated school and her struggles of being a black female. By learning this information about Bell Hooks it made me appreciate her views more and understand her views on white supremacy.