Hooks, Bell. Feminism is for everybody: passionate politics / Bell Hooks. techetolyson.cf Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN - ISBN. from the publishers. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data hooks, bell. Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom I bell hooks. colored, they were to my eye the most beautiful objects. We played together with them, often with me aggressively. Understanding. Patriarchy bell hooks.
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bell hooks. I am writing this essay sitting beside an anonymous white male that I long to murder. We have just been involved in an incident on an airplane where. Social commentator, essayist, memoirist, and poet bell hooks (née Gloria Jean Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (), hooks advocates a ". Designed by Jo Anne Meisch. The Library of Congress has catalogued the hardcover edition as follows: Hooks, Bell. Al! about love: new visions I Bell Hooks p.
In part, I began to write books about love because of the constant fighting between my ex-boyfriend Anthony and myself.
We were and at the time of this writing still are each other's primary bond. We came together hoping to create love and found ourselves creating conflict.
We decided to break up, but even that did not bring an end to the conflict. The issues we fought about most had to do with the practice of love. Like so many men who know that the women in their lives want to hear them declare love, Anthony made those declarations. When asked to link the "I love you" words with definition and practice, he found that he did not really have the words, that he was fundamentally uncomfortable being asked to talk about emotions.
Like many males, he had not been happy in most of the relationships he had chosen. The unhappiness of men in relationships, the grief men feel about the failure of love, often goes unnoticed in our society precisely because the patriarchal culture really does not care if men are unhappy. When females are in emotional pain, the sexist thinking that says that emotions should and can matter to women makes it possible for most of us to at least voice our heart, to speak it to someone, whether a close friend, a therapist, or the stranger sitting next to us on a plane or bus.
Patriarchal mores teach a form of emotional stoicism to men that says they are more manly if they do not feel, but if by chance they should feel and the feelings hurt, the manly response is to stuff them down, to forget about them, to hope they go away. George Weinberg explains in Why Men Won't Commit: "Most men are on quest for the ready-made perfect woman because they basically feel that problems in a relationship can't be worked out.
When the slightest thing goes wrong, it seems easier to bolt than talk. The reality is that men are hurting and that the whole culture responds to them by saying, "Please do not tell us what you feel. We construct a culture where male pain can have no voice, where male hurt cannot be named or healed. It is not just men who do not take their pain seriously.
Most women do not want to deal with male pain if it interferes with the satisfaction of female desire. When feminist movement led to men's liberation, including male exploration of "feelings," some women mocked male emotional expression with the same disgust and contempt as sexist men.
Despite all the expressed feminist longing for men of feeling, when men worked to get in touch with feelings, no one really wanted to reward them. In feminist circles men who wanted to change were often labeled narcissistic or needy. Individual men who expressed feelings were often seen as attention seekers, patriarchal manipulators trying to steal the stage with their drama. When I was in my twenties, I would go to couples therapy, and my partner of more than ten years would explain how I asked him to talk about his feelings and when he did, I would freak out.
He was right. It was hard for me to face that I did not want to hear about his feelings when they were painful or negative, that I did not want my image of the strong man truly challenged by learning of his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Here I was, an enlightened feminist woman who did not want to hear my man speak his pain because it revealed his emotional vulnerability. It stands to reason, then, that the masses of women committed to the sexist principle that men who express their feelings are weak really do not want to hear men speak, especially if what they say is that they hurt, that they feel unloved.
Many women cannot hear male pain about love because it sounds like an indictment of female failure. Since sexist norms have taught us that loving is our task whether in our role as mothers or lovers or friends, if men say they are not loved, then we are at fault; we are to blame. There is only one emotion that patriarchy values when expressed by men; that emotion is anger. Real men get mad.
And their mad-ness, no matter how violent or violating, is deemed natural -- a positive expression of patriarchal masculinity. Anger is the best hiding place for anybody seeking to conceal pain or anguish of spirit. My father was an angry man. At times he still is, even though he is past eighty years old. Recently when I called home he said, speaking of me and my sister, "I love you both dearly.
Fear silenced me, the old fear of Dad the patriarch, the silent, angry man and the new fear of breaking this fragile bond of caring connection. So I could not ask, "What do you mean, Dad, when you tell me that you love me dearly? And fear can lay the foundation for contempt and hatred. It can be a cover-up for repressed, killing rage.
And yet women rarely talk to men about how much we fear them. My siblings and I have never talked with Dad about the years he held us hostage -- imprisoning us behind the walls of his patriarchal terrorism. And even in our adult years we are still afraid to ask him, "Why, Daddy?
Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In
Why were you always so angry? Why didn't you love us? As death is swiftly taking him beyond her reach, she sees clearly that fear had kept him away from her all along -- his fear of her being too close, and her fear of seeking to be close to him. Fear keeps us from being close to the men in our lives; it keeps us from love.
Once upon a time I thought it was a female thing, this fear of men. Yet when I began to talk with men about love, time and time again I heard stories of male fear of other males. Indeed, men who feel, who love, often hide their emotional awareness from other men for fear of being attacked and shamed. This is the big secret we all keep together -- the fear of patriarchal maleness that binds everyone in our culture.
Over The Door Hooks
We cannot love what we fear. That is why so many religious traditions teach us that there is no fear in love. We struggle then, in patriarchal culture, all of us, to love men.
We may care about males deeply. We may cherish our connections with the men in our lives. And we may desperately feel that we cannot live without their presence, their company.
We can feel all these passions in the face of maleness and yet stand removed, keeping the distance patriarchy has created, maintaining the boundaries we are told not to cross. In a class with students who are reading the trilogy of books I have written about love, with forty men talking about love, we talk of fathers.
A black male in his late thirties, whose father was present in the home, a hard worker, talked about his f0recent experience of parenthood, his commitment to be a loving father, and his fear that he will fail. He fears failure because he has not had a loving role model. His father was almost always away from home, working, roaming. When he was home, his favorite way of relating was to tease and taunt his son mercilessly, in a biting voice full of sarcasm and contempt, a voice that could humiliate with just a word.
Reflecting the experience of many of us, the individual telling his story talked about wanting the love of this hard man but then learning not to want it, learning to silence his heart, to make it not matter.
I asked him and the other men present, "If you have closed off your heart, shut down your emotional awareness, then do you know how to love your sons? Where and when along the way did you learn the practice of love? I affirm this practice, adding only that it is not enough to stay in the space of reaction, that being simply reactive is always to risk allowing that shadowy past to overtake the present. How many sons fleeing the example of their fathers raise boys who emerge as clones of their grandfathers, boys who may never even have met their grandfathers but behave just like them?
Beyond reaction, though, any male, no matter his past or present circumstance, no matter his age or experience, can learn how to love. In the past four years the one clear truth I have learned from individual men I have met while traveling and lecturing is that men want to know love and they want to know how to love.
There is simply not enough literature speaking directly, intimately, to this need.
After writing a general book about love, then one specifically about black people and love, then another focusing on the female search for love, I wanted to go further and talk about men and love. Women and men alike in our culture spend very little time encouraging males to learn to love. Even the women who are pissed off at men, women most of whom are not and maybe never will be feminist, use their anger to avoid being truly committed to helping to create a world where males of all ages can know love.
And there remains a small strain of feminist thinkers who feel strongly that they have given all they want to give to men; they are concerned solely with improving the collective welfare of women.
Yet life has shown me that any time a single male dares to transgress patriarchal boundaries in order to love, the lives of women, men, and children are fundamentally changed for the better. Every day on our television screens and in our nation's newspapers we are brought news of continued male violence at home and all around the world. When we hear that teenage boys are arming themselves and killing their parents, their peers, or strangers, a sense of alarm permeates our culture.
Folks want to have answers. They want to know, Why is this happening? Why so much killing by boy children now, and in this historical moment? Yet no one talks about the role patriarchal notions of manhood play in teaching boys that it is their nature to kill, then teaching them that they can do nothing to change this nature -- nothing, that is, that will leave their masculinity intact. As our culture prepares males to embrace war, they must be all the more indoctrinated into patriarchal thinking that tells them that it is their nature to kill and to enjoy killing.
Bombarded by news about male violence, we hear no news about men and love. Only a revolution of values in our nation will end male violence, and that revolution will necessarily be based on a love ethic.
To create loving men, we must love males. Loving maleness is different from praising and rewarding males for living up to sexist-defined notions of male identity. Caring about men because of what they do for us is not the same as loving males for simply being. When we love maleness, we extend our love whether males are performing or not. Performance is different from simply being.
In patriarchal culture males are not allowed simply to be who they are and to glory in their unique identity. Their value is always determined by what they do. In an antipatriarchal culture males do not have to prove their value and worth.
They know from birth that simply being gives them value, the right to be cherished and loved. I write about men and love as a declaration of profound gratitude to the males in my life with whom I do the work of love.
Much of my thinking about maleness began in childhood when I witnessed the differences in the ways my brother and I were treated.
The standards used to judge his behavior were much harsher. No male successfully measures up to patriarchal standards without engaging in an ongoing practice of self-betrayal.
In his boyhood my brother, like so many boys, just longed to express himself. He did not want to conform to a rigid script of appropriate maleness.
As a consequence he was scorned and ridiculed by our patriarchal dad. In his younger years our brother was a loving presence in our household, capable of expressing emotions of wonder and delight.
As patriarchal thinking and action claimed him in adolescence, he learned to mask his loving feelings. He entered that space of alienation and antisocial behavior deemed "natural" for adolescent boys.
His six sisters witnessed the change in him and mourned the loss of our connection. The damage done to his self-esteem in boyhood has lingered throughout his life, for he continues to grapple with the issue of whether he will define himself or allow himself to be defined by patriarchal standards.
At the same time that my brother surrendered his emotional awareness and his capacity to make emotional connection in order to be accepted as "one of the boys," rejecting the company of his sisters for fear that enjoying us made him less male, my mother's father, Daddy Gus, found it easier to be disloyal to patriarchy in old age. He was the man in my childhood who practiced the art of loving. He was emotionally aware and emotionally present, and yet he also was trapped by a patriarchal bond.
Our grandmother, his wife of more than sixty years, was always deeply invested in the dominator model of relationships. To macho men Daddy Gus, Mama's father, appeared to be less than masculine.
Reading for 23/3/10 bell hooks - feminism: a transformational politic
He was seen as henpecked. I can remember our patriarchal father expressing contempt for Daddy Gus, calling him weak -- and letting Mama know via domination that he would not be ruled by a woman. Even though many of the works do not directly address postmodernism, they address similar concerns. There are no references to work by black women. This is especially the case with works that go on and on about the way in which postmodernist discourse has opened up a theoretical terrain where "difference and otherness" can be considered legitimate issues in the academy.
Confronting both the lack of recognition of black female presence that much postmodernist theory reinscribes and the resistance on the part of most black folks to hearing about real connections between postmodernism and black experience, I enter a discourse, a practice, where there may be no ready audience for my words, no clear listener, uncertain, then, that my voice can or will be heard.
Certainly many of the ways black folks addressed issues of identity conformed to a modernist universalizing agenda. There was little critique among black militants of patriarchy as a master narrative.
The period directly after the black power movement was a time when major news magazines carried articles with cocky headlines like "what ever happened to Black America? In the wake of the black power movement, after so many rebels were slaughtered and lost, many of these voices were silenced by a repressive state and others became inarticulate; it has become necessary to find new avenues for transmitting the messages of black liberation struggle, new ways to talk about racism and other politics of domination.
Radical postmodernist practice, most powerfully conceptualized as a "politics of difference," should incorporate the voices of displaced, marginalized, exploited, and oppressed black people. If radical postmodernist thinking is to have a transformative impact then a critical break with the notion of "authority" as "mastery over" must not simply be a rhetorical device, it must be reflected in habits of being, including styles of writing as well as chosen subject matter.
Third-world scholars, especially elites, and white critics who passively absorb white supremacist thinking, and therefore never notice or look at black people on the streets, at their jobs, who render us invisible with their gaze in all areas of daily life, are not likely to produce liberatory theory that will challenge racist domination, or to promote a breakdown in traditional ways of seeing and thinking about reality, ways of constructing aesthetic theory and practice.
Endless second guessing about the latent imperialism of intruding upon other cultures only compounded matters, preventing or excusing these theorists from investigating what black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American artists were actually doing. Without adequate concrete knowledge of and contact with the non-white "other," white theorists may move in discursive theoretical directions that are threatening to and potentially disruptive of that critical practice which would support radical liberation struggle.
Given a pervasive politic of white supremacy which seeks to prevent the formation of radical black subjectivity, we cannot cavalierly dismiss a concern with identity politics.
Any critic exploring the radical potential of postmodernism as it relates to racial difference and racial domination would need to consider the implications of a critique of identity for oppressed groups. Many of us are struggling to find new strategies of resistance. We must engage decolonization as a critical practice if we are to have meaningful chances of survival even as we must simultaneously cope with the loss of political grounding which made radical activism more possible.
I am thinking here about the postmodernist critique of essentialism as it pertains to the construction of "identity" as one example.
To take racism seriously one must consider the plight of underclass people of color, a vast majority of whom are black. For African-Americans our collective condition prior to the advent of postmodernism and perhaps more tragically expressed under current postmodern conditions has been and is characterized by continued displacement, profound alienation and despair.
Writing about blacks and postmodernism, Cornel West describes our collective plight: There is increasing class division and differentiation, creating on the one hand a significant black middle-class, highly anxiety- ridden, insecure, willing to be co-opted and incorporated into the powers that be, concerned with racism to the degree that it poses constraints on upward social mobility; and, on the other, a vast and growing black underclass, an underclass that embodies a kind of walking nihilism of pervasive drug addiction, pervasive alcoholism, pervasive homicide, and an exponential rise in suicide.
Now because of the deindustrialization, we also have a devastated black industrial working class. We are talking here about tremendous hopelessness. This hopelessness creates longing for insight and strategies for change that can renew spirits and reconstruct grounds for collective black liberation struggle.
The overall impact of the postmodern condition is that many other groups now share with black folks a sense of deep alienation, despair, uncertainty, loss of a sense of grounding, even if it is not informed by shared circumstance.
Radical postmodernism calls attention to those sensibilities which are shared across the boundaries of class, gender, and race, and which could be fertile ground for the construction of empathy--ties that would promote recognition of common commitments and serve as a base for solidarity and coalition. Specifically in relation to the postmodernist deconstruction of "master" narratives, the yearning that wells in the hearts and minds of those whom such narratives have silenced is the longing for critical voice.
It has enabled underclass black youth to develop a critical voice, as a group of young black men told me, a "common literacy. Working with this insight in his essay "Putting the Pop Back into Postmodernism," Lawrence Grossberg comments: The postmodern sensibility appropriates practices as boasts that announce their own--and consequently our own--existence, like a rap song boasting of the imaginary or real--it makes no difference accomplishments of the rapper.
They offer forms of empowerment not only in the face of nihilism but precisely through the forms of nihilism itself: an empowering nihilism, a moment of positivity through the production and structuring of affective relations. Considering that it is as a subject that one comes to voice, then the postmodernist focus on the critique of identity appears, at first glance, to threaten and close down the possibility that this discourse and practice will allow those who have suffered the crippling effects of colonization and domination to gain or regain a hearing.
Even if this sense of threat and the fear it evokes are based on a misunderstanding of the postmodernist political project, they nevertheless shape responses. It never surprises me when black folk respond to the critique of essentialism, especially when it denies the validity of identity politics, by saying "yeah, it's easy to give up identity, when you got one.
We should indeed suspicious of postmodern critiques of the "subject" when they surface at a historical moment when many subjugated people feel themselves coming to voice for the first time. The critique of essentialism encouraged by postmodernist thought is useful for African-Americans concerned with reformulating outmoded notions of identity. We have too long had imposed upon us, both from the outside and the inside, a narrow constricting notion of blackness.
Postmodern critiques of essentialism which challenge notions of universality and static over-determined identity within mass culture and mass consciousness can open up new possibilities for the construction of the self and the assertion of agency. Such a critique allows us to affirm multiple black identities, varied black experience.
It also challenges colonial imperialist paradigms of black identity which represent blackness one- dimensionally in ways that reinforce and sustain white supremacy.
This discourse created the idea of the "primitive" and promoted the notion of an "authentic" experience, seeing as "natural" those expressions of black life which conformed to a pre-existing pattern or stereotype. Abandoning essentialist notions would be a serious challenge to racism. Contemporary African- American resistance struggle must be rooted in a process of decolonization that continually opposes reinscribing notions of "authentic" black identity.No one can rightfully claim to be lov- ing when behaving abusively.
T h e C i v i l Rights Movement, as epitomized by Dr. That moment of awakening is the moment of heartbreak. Learning to clean up the mess made during playtime helps a child learn to be re- sponsible.
Bombarded by news about male violence, we hear no news about men and love. It is an activity that one may manifest, rather than a prop- erty that one possesses—a thing that one gives or receives.
In The Dance of Decep- tion, Harriet Lerner, another widely read psychotherapist, calls attention to the way in which women are encouraged by sexist socialization to pretend and manipulate, to lie as a way to please.
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