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.