Blog 1: Feminism

To begin, feminism is considered such a powerful movement that has changed the world in countless positive ways for women. It has brought attention to the inequality that has been going on between the two sexes for generations. However, every woman has their own perspective and opinion on this movement that is inspirational for some yet controversial for others.

Firstly, Jessica Valenti and bell hooks have very interesting viewpoints concerning feminism. Valenti believes that it is a way of telling women that they do not need to follow the norms and expectations that society inherently expects them to abide to. She portrays the message that every woman is good enough and that every woman should feel good about themselves and have self-respect. According to Valenti, feminism makes life better, and it is a powerful movement that keeps changing with diversity and uniqueness. In addition, she mentions that the feminist movement comes with many stereotypes and negative biases that were created by people with opposing views to feminism. These stereotypes act as proof that feminism is still present in today’s societies across the globe. To continue, bell hooks gave her share of what feminism is. Her perspective is that it is a movement that drives to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. She conveys the message that feminism breaks the male domination that has been in place for decades. In her opinion, this movement lets women find their true selves which leads them to become fully self-actualized. Once the women has accepted herself, she will have peace and the presence of possibility and everlasting opportunity. She wants everyone to be who they truly are, no matter their gender, race, religion or class. hooks states that all women have their own way of understanding feminism and that creates different types of the movement.

Secondly, it is important to recognize the similarities and differences of both of their perspectives on feminism. The different thoughts of Valenti and hooks demonstrate the diversity of feminism and how it can change depending on each individual. Valenti describes feminism as a movement that revolves around making one feel good and respected. However, hooks’ focus is on male domination and how feminism fights for the abolition of sexism. On the other hand, these two ladies do have many points in common. They both agree that feminism fights for equality between males and females (politically, socially, economically). Also, they both state that feminism results in self-actualization and self-respect. Feminism is important for these two women because they have grown tired of society’s pressure on women which results in the feeling of being inferior. They know that every girl was brought up with the mentality of something being wrong with them and feminism has the power of eliminating those negative thoughts. They find it very important to bring awareness to people about this situation and hopefully, they will get more people to change their behavior concerning this issue.

Thirdly, I see myself as a feminist, however my definition of feminism may alter from what you have previously read. According to me, feminism is a movement whose main goal is to create equality between men and women in every domain. It is a movement that shows men that women have the capacity of doing anything a man can do. Feminism instills courage and hopes to result in both genders being identical. My definition did not change from before reading these two articles to after analyzing them, however it did open my eye to some things that I did not think about before. The section of Valenti’s article that stuck with me most, was the first paragraph where she spoke about the worst names that you can call a man or a woman. The names called out for the women were very hurtful. However, the words for the men were softer and many of them were calling them girls. “The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl.” is the line that struck me and shocked me because of how truthful it is. After doing some research on both writers, I have grown more respect for them knowing that they have done so much for women. They both have written many books to bring awareness to people on the issues surrounding feminism. They have both contributed to help create the foundation concerning this situation and they inspire me to stand for what I believe is right. I consider these two ladies to be an inspiration based on what they stand for.  

Blog 1: The “F” Word

bell hooks and Jessica Valenti both argue that feminism currently has a bad reputation and distinct stereotypes that are incredibly tunnel visioned and inaccurate. People recoil when they hear the word and its often a taboo subject in some circles. Both also argue that women are also complicit in rejecting and demonizing the feminist agenda.

Jessica Valenti effectively dissects some of the most popular feminist stereotypes and explains how ridiculous they are to apply to all feminists. Valenti intends to break some of the stigma surrounding the fear of being called a feminist by debunking some common myths, including the one that says “all feminists are ugly”.

bell hooks graciously shares her perspective as a black woman feminist, emphasizing the importance of intersectional experiences. This article serves to remind the privileged to include and care about how other people might suffer more due to double and triple whammy effects of oppression related to gender, race, class etc. I have known about bell hooks for a while and I have always loved and appreciated her work.

I have been a feminist my whole life but I only started calling myself one for ten years as I was ignorant to what it truly meant to be a feminist. The definition in the dictionary is good but I love bell hook’s definition even better.

My favourite part of the articles was in bell hook’s where she talks about how Christianity is enforcing ideas that women should be subordinate to men. Its heartbreaking that some women feel obligated to conform to such ridiculous notions.

Blog 1: Trying to define Feminism

First of all, everyone has a different definition of feminism. I think that Valenti and Hooks have quite the same definition, but don’t have the same way to express themselves. They both think that feminism is when a women wants to be treated right! No sexism opression, no ideals about what a women should be like, etc. Hooks says that feminism is a movement against sexism, sexism exploitation, and opression. Valenti says that feminism is all about making your life better, which is the same thing as what Hooks said but in other words.

However, Valenti talks a lot about how girls are percieved in our society, and how society wants us to think there is something wrong with us, when there isn’t. Hooks on the other side, talks more about what is feminism, about how people react to feminists, etc. Feminism is important to those authors because it’s not normal that girls still feel opressed, that they are still raped, that some jobs are still less paid to women than men, etc.

Based on what I have read, I would define feminism as the idea that women have to be treated equally to men. This definition is what feminism is and what it has always been. I agreed 100% with both of the texts. Something that struck me is when Valenti talked about the woman who insulted the feminists. It stuck with me because sadly, that woman doesn’t understand what feminism is. If she did, she wouldn’t have said what she said. I just don’t understand how you can hate an idea that’s basically made to defend you! My appreciation of their article didn’t change because of the research I did. I really liked both of the articles, so nothing could change my appreciation of the texts.

Blog 1: The Definition of Feminism

Every human, who possesses critical thinking, has their own definition of feminism. Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks had a definition of their own as well. However, the common misconception about feminism is that it’s an anti-men ideology-mostly misconceived by men. Both Valenti and Hooks targeted to demystify this misunderstanding. On one hand, Valenti used a much more modern approach to it. She used 21st century struggles to further explain her opinion. While reading the text, you feel light hearted because it’s relatable and, quite frankly, comedic. On the other hand, Hooks had a more old-school approach to it. She explores various aspects such as politics and religion. She also explains the struggles she faced in the 20th century. As you finish her text, you feel cultured. The subjects of racism, politics, sexism and oppression as well as the explanation of a “Christian” mindset sparks links readers for readers from Western culture,in some ways, educate you. It’s what differentiates the two authors approaches on the subject. The strongest link I could find between these two authors is that the ideology of feminism set them free. It opened their minds to the endless possibilities that the world could offer them. I strongly believe their new found mental freedom is what fuels their want to explain and teach people the idea of feminism in all its different shapes and sizes.

After a quick look at their Wikipedia pages, they come from different states and times, making Hooks 20 years older than Valenti. It explains the difference between the two essays. Hooks grew up in a segregated town in Kentucky when racial segregation was still in play and sexism was still highly popular. Being a African-American woman in America in the 60s, Hooks was shaped at an early age to fight for her rights as a woman and an African-American. Valenti faced struggles of her own. As she was received online abuse and threat, she still pushed through and published her work. Her work resulted in inspiring many young activist. Both of these woman went through many struggles, they both came through stronger and it is reflected in their work.

Now for my definition of feminism. As a child, boys and girls were at the same level. As a teenager, I was challenged everyday of my life by men and women who wouldn’t let me see both genders as equals. Through the years, I have seen a lot of inequality between genders. Living in a muslim conservative country, travelling to my country every two or three months, coming back to western society, I have seen inequality everywhere. Therefore, my definition of feminism has never changed from when I was a child, it’s as stated in the dictionary. Feminism (noun) : the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. The ideology that women and men are equal, are seen and approached as the same, are treated the same, are seen the same, along with all the aspects. In Bell Hooks’ essay, she says “Feminist politics are losing momentum because the feminist movement has lost clear definitions. We have those definitions.” It made me stop and think after reading her essay and she’s completely right! Women with privilege went into the work field and were just content. As a result, advocated less. This made the unprivileged women having to speak up twice as loud to make up for the loss. Some became radicals- as with every ideology- thus, creating the anti-men stereotypes.

Blog 01: Different Views on Feminism

Feminism is a term that’s brought upon to us in many different forms. After reading “You’re a Hard Core Feminist. I swear.” by Jessica Valenti and “Feminism is for Everybody.” by Bell Hooks I came to a realization that the definition of feminism varies amongst people.  Jessica views it as the “belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes,” while Bell Hooks views it as, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” Although these two definitions are quite similar, they offer different versions of how people portray the word “feminism”. I believe that Jessica Valenti explains that feminism is more than just women wanting to make statements, it’s about women and men being equal on all social, political and economic terms and about women feeling good about themselves like they should be. On the other hand, Bell Hooks explains it more as a way to end sexism due to it being a problem that women can’t truly be themselves. Even though there is a slight difference in how both authors want feminism to be portrayed, they both ultimately have the same purpose of wanting women to express themselves for what they deserve and believe in. Both authors voice that feminism has nothing to do with being anti-man and that even though everyone should be a feminist, they have come to the terms that not all women are. Both agree that true sisterhood will never truly exist considering that not all women agree with the idea of speaking up about feminism, and that’s okay. 

In all honesty before reading both essays I had envisioned a different idea of feminism. I always understood that all women wanted was to be treated equally but, I didn’t fully understand why so many women still felt the need to voice their opinions of “feminism” as much as they did considering so much has progressed over the years. I now understand how many challenges women still go through and how feminism has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to be more powerful than men, it’s simply just about abolishing gender stereotypes and being offered the same treatment as anyone else is, which is completely understandable. 

One section from the essays that really stood out to me was in Jessica Valenti’s introduction. Not only did she start off in a dramatic way to get her points across, but she also mentioned how being called a girl was the ultimate insult. She stated, “Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you call a guy is a girl.” I always knew that comment had been circulating for as long as I can remember, but I never really got to stop and process it. I do believe that in some way society has evolved into genuinely supporting those into being who they truly are, but there will always be some sort of assumption on women just because of that comment. Even if in reality there is nothing wrong about being called a girl, somehow society views it as a way to degrade women into being weak. In my opinion, unfortunately for as long as that comment remains present, there is still inequality between genders.

After discovering that Hooks grew up in a racially segregated town and valenti being a victim to online threats because she spoke freely of her opinion really made me appreciate the wisdom, they both have shared upon their readers. I understand the injustice they both went through, which makes me understand why they even bothered to educate people about the inequality going in the world and why it’s crucial that we at least try to fix it. 

By: Julianna Noto

Blog 1: Feminism has many definitions

Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks both agree that feminism is not hating men and being anti-male. They also agree that it is a movement that is spread and heard about around the world to which there has been many stereotypes sticked to it, one being that feminists are anti-male and or a lesbian. Both of them concentrate on girls being feminists and not males, yet both sexes can be feminists. They are both different as they are similar, Valenti gives the image that the individuals who are feminists seek social, political and economic equality between the sexes, whereas Hooks shows feminism a movement that will end sexist ideas, (such as females cannot play sports), sexist exploitation (taking advantage of women because they are inferior, which comes back to sexism) and oppression (treating women cruelly and controlling them, for example domesticating them and then punishing them for not having prepared a delicious dinner).

Feminism is important to them because they would like to have equality and for feminism to become a part of our daily lives, as in treating one another appropriately with respect, to not harm either men or women and have equal opportunities as well as equal pay in the same work. For me a feminist is any individual who believes that both sexes should have equal pay in the workforce, rights and freedom, and should not be treated unjustly, exploited sexually and oppressed. The definition I held before did not include the part of “being exploited sexually.” In Jessica Valenti’s article many things stuck by me; one being that feminists are stereotyped and one of the stereotypes is that feminists are ugly. I had heard that feminists are lesbians but never heard of feminists being ugly. Another thing that shocked me was that magazines, newspapers kept on talking about how “feminism is dead”. This clearly shows that it is clearly not ended, the fact that it is still a common theme and discussion topic proves that it is still very much present in our day to day life.

I did some research on Bell Hooks and Jessica Valenti and I must say that I agree more with what Valenti has to say about feminism, she describes feminism the way I believe it to be more than Hooks. Finally I love how Valenti described the feminism waves in an interview, she said that every generation could not be separated into waves rather every individual has their own way of becoming a feminist and operating it, taking initiative. I appreciated Valenti’s article much more after understanding her point of view, which is similar to mine.
-Pia Babi