Gloria Jean Watkins, better known as “bell hooks” is an African American woman who was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on September 26, 1952. Her face was a custodian and her mother was a homemaker, making them a working class family that held seven children. She grew up in schools that were segregated and many of her writing were about the trouble that came from the integration of the school systems. Her secondary school was far from mediocre, she graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English and received he M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finally receiving her doctorate from the University of California in Santa Cruz.
bell hooks has published over thirty books and continues to be very active in speaking about oppression. Her topics include: racism, social classes and gender identity. Her first work that was written while she was still and undergraduate, is still seen today as an influential feminist book. Her book Ain’t I a Woman discusses black women in history; sexism and racism to media and education ideals on black women. Here books have a wide range of all categories of stereotyping; oppression, sexuality in feminism, and many more. Recently she has devoted her writing to the ability of supportive communities to help stop all oppression. She believes that the ability to understand and use language, and the ability to think are the backbone to making societies that are not defined by things that appear only physically. Her ideas that communities can create a better haven for people that do not meet the “norms” of what society states. That a community that can love blindly and not base opinions on looks but rather the influence that person has is greatly needed in our society. When a community, even as small as a tiny city, can learn to ignore stereotypes and opinions based on things that are uncontrollable by that person, then that idea can grow, it can be passed on and soon it can be a wide held belief.
She has also taken parts in may group discussions and many presentations. In Berea College she joined forces to do a weekly feminist group called “Monday Night Feminism”. She also took part in a lunch lecture called “Peanut Butter and Gender”. Lastly she hosted a seminar titled, “Building Beloved Community: The Practice of Impartial Love”. Her ability to help communities and willingness to get in the nitty gritty and do the work has made hooks a popular appearance.
bell hooks was not a name I knew of in and of my schooling however during my Women Studies class we were assigned to read her book Feminism is for Everybody. After reading her book I found myself enlightened on a few topics of feminism and the history that surrounded her partake in feminism. I think that her ability to overcome segregation and ridicule to become an incredibly intellectual woman that has no fear of speaking the truth about what life is really like makes her invaluable to society. Mainly because we try to sugar coat things and pretend that the evils in this world don’t exist. Her writing is intriguing as well as knowledgeable. However, I do warn that her writing does get some very-not-so-nice criticism. So it should be taken into account that she may offend or push a button. All in all she is a wonderful writer who brings to light many things that have been hiding in the shadows of history.
She has a long list of books available below I will show a list of books, and a few movies she has graced. Happy reading!
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black
Teaching to Transgress: Education As the Practice of Freedom
Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations
Reel to Real: Race, Sex and Class at the Movies
Happy to be Nappy
All About Love: New Visions
Communion: The Female search for Love
The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love
Happy to Be Nappy and Other Stories of Me
Give a Damn Again
Is Feminism Dead
If you would like more information on bell hooks here are a few websites: