Feminism Is For Everybody
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Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by critic, academic, and writer bell hooks is described by the author as a primer, a handbook, even “a dream come true” (ix). In the Introduction to the book, hooks describes her labor of love in writing this brief guide to feminism, and she employs a concise style that does not waver from her goal of educating readers about the fundamentals of feminism. This book is the product of the many conversations bell hooks has had with men and women who ask her the fundamental question: “what is feminism?” (xii) In brief, hooks explains, at the start of the book and again at the end in its concluding chapter, that “[f]eminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (xii).
In the preface to the new edition of Feminism Is for Everybody, hooks addresses the problem of academic jargon that afflicts many feminist texts available to readers who want to learn more about feminism. She describes “fe[eling] that somehow the movement had failed if we could not communicate feminist politics to everyone” (ix). This feeling inspired hooks to “write an easy to read book that would explain feminist thinking and encourage folks to embrace feminist politics” (ix).
hooks chooses to write in the first person throughout the book, blending first-person singular with first-person plural to engage readers with a conversational tone. The first-person voice gives hooks’s writing a natural feel when she incorporates anecdotes and memories into her writing alongside the details and facts that explain the history of feminism. Her style and tone are straightforward, to best meet the needs of a readership who “have been socialized from birth on to accept sexist thought and action” (xii). hooks is aware that this readership includes men and women, debunking the myth that feminism is a movement “for women against men” (xiii) even while discussing challenging and sometimes controversial topics.