Valenti and Hooks, both feminist, have similar and divergent ideas on how to define feminism and what it means to them as individuals. When describing feminism, Valenti makes it feel like it is something for women, all women of course, but exclusive to females. Where as Hooks makes it more unisex, she defines feminism as something everybody can be as long as they stick with the basic idea that sexism, under any form, should end. The way these authors explain feminism is also quite different! Valenti takes the time to explain to her readers that the stereotypes on feminists are false and that they are a great factor why women are reluctant to publicly identify themselves as feminists. Hooks has a different approach, she explains where feminism in America comes from based on historic events including women as well as men from the white, native and black community. Putting aside their differences, these two very eloquent women agree that being feminist is something people should be proud of, and that the stereotypes given to the members of this movement are absolutely false and should not affect them. To them, feminism is important because it aims to end sexism, a concept that refrains, shames and oppresses women unjustly.
Based on my readings and summing up the definitions given by the two authors, I would say that a feminist is an individual that believes that there should be equality of sexes and an end to sexism. Even if it seems quite logical and simple, before reading these essays my definition of feminism was biased by the myths, rumors and stereotypes circulating in our society. To me, a feminist was a radical woman, with very liberal ideas and a modern set of values fighting to be able to whatever she wants to do. I am glad to know now that being a feminist is for everybody and that there is no need for the members to stop wearing bras or stop shaving their armpits in order to be acknowledged as one, which was honestly a big relief, not that there’s anything wrong with people who choose to do so!
I was really pleased by the way Hooks explained feminism as it being a topic linked to racism and segregation. The reason why it paused my reading and made me enter into deep reflexion is because I always say “ I am not a feminist” with the idea in mind that before thinking of the equality of sexes, we should think of the racial equality. I was convinced of this without realising how closely linked these two concepts are and that we can really not separate them! Both movements seek to end unjust behaviours inflicted to them by other members of the society and in every ethnicity there are individuals of the two sexes. I guess my thought has always been that if a black, latina, asian, etc woman gets treated differently from others it is not principally because she is a woman but because she is a part of a cultural minority. And quite honestly, even if these readings opened my eyes into a new way to see the issue, I am still very confused.
After reading briefly about the two authors, I was happy curious to read their essays. I felt like these well informed women could teach me valuable things on the topics they addressed and I was not disappointed at all.