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