Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks share a very similar opinion on feminism. Feminism to them is having gender equality. It is a way to find your self and a way to make us women feel more empowered and realize our worth as human beings. Feminism is a way of learning to respect your self and your values. Both authors defend feminism as not being anti men or all of the other negative and degrading stereotypes people portray on them, rather it should be seen as being a movement for equality and female respect and justice. Jessica Valenti argues more on the fact that us women shouldn’t be constantly judged on what people think is the “right way” women should act. She argues that there shouldn’t be any determined way or idea of how a woman should be because we are all different and should all feel free to be who we are. We should feel ashamed or have to be judged by others for not fitting in the false ideal of how women should be because really, there is none and there shouldn’t be any. Bell hooks in the other hand argues for similar women rights but focusses mainly on ending sexism for women as well as men and to defend feminist of different face and groups as well. She believes we all need to work together to not only end sexism, but to end racism, class elitism etc., in order to achieve equality for the sexes. Feminism over all is important to both authors because it helped them find their place in the world and made them become wiser, stronger and more passionate.
In my opinion, a feminist is someone who is tired of women being degraded and put down all the time. A feminist is someone who realizes and understands that women should have all equal rights of men and vise versa. There should not be a gender that is superior to others and there should not be stereotypes on how any of the sexes are expected to act. We are all equal and we should all feel free to act in any way we feel is most natural. Feminist are strong minded individuals who are creating a stronger and more powerful image of what a woman is supposed to be seen and treated as; and it is also for women to realize that we deserve better and to fight for our worth. My idea of feminism prior to reading these texts would be the same, although I do feel a stronger strive and better understanding of the need to support feminism.
A part in the text that made me reflect was when Bell Hooks talks about other injustices we need to end in order to have a peaceful world. She mentions having a world without racism, sexism, domination and so much more. This struck me because I realized if it weren’t for all these injustices and stereotypes, then people would be much kinder and genuine, we would all have a greater human nature to be kind and respectful and to value all that is different. It would be amazing to live in a world that wasn’t affected by all these unethical issues.
Learning about the authors definitely enhances the meaning of these texts because it relates to them through personal experiences of injustice; especially with Bell hooks, her experience was not only to defend feminism, but she also experienced racial issues as a black woman fighting for her rights with feminism as well.