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The Significance of the Feminist Movement

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I believe hooks feels men will simply gain knowledge. For so long, they had been blindly suppressing women, simply because that is what they were taught to do. They grew up in a society, just as women did, where they were taught negative values. The feminist movement, as described by hooks, is a level ground where both men and women can finally look each other in the eye. Women are the fighting oppressed while men are the resistant oppressors. Of those labels, one is not deemed lower than the other, and so, can speak eye to eye. It’s a ground where conversation of criticism, struggle, and transformation can occur. The feminist movement can transform those considerably toxic relationships into something far more beneficial for both sides. Therefore, not only women would benefit, but men as well. Men will be able to experience a new kind of intimacy and mutuality. It’s the kind of experience that has been being stripped from both men and women all their lives, without them even truly knowing it.

Hooks appears to view the family structure as a building ground. The structure of a family entirely depends on the way society is, which in turn, affects the members of said family. The family you’re brought up in teaches you the values in which you’ll believe to be ‘natural’. For example, the relationship of a husband and wife will teach their children the way males and females socialize with one another. If a husband oppresses his wife, their children will be brought up in such a way that they’ll believe that’s how all men should treat their wives. Family structure puts thoughts and experiences into our heads. The atmosphere we live in directly affects us, both in our morals and views of society. It can also affect how we view each other. One man’s views of women can differ greatly from another man’s, simply because of the way he was brought up. Family life is one of the most influential forces on a person’s mental and moral development. If they were brought up in a family that functions a particular way, it’s likely their own, future family will be the same way. Family is almost like a smaller, personalized society. It can affect people in the same way society does.

The difference hooks stated existed between white and black feminists regarding to family was that it was actually a safe haven for African American women. For white women, the home was the battleground. The home was where they were completely controlled and dominated by one superior figure, which was the white male. For African American women, however, home was the place they could escape to and shield themselves from discrimination. Unlike a white family, African American families suffered from racism. African American men and women were already considered equal, simply because they were both being suppressed and shared the same sufferings. There was no sense in an African American male suppressing his own wife. In that sense, he would be hypocritical. He would be putting his own wife through what society was putting them through in the first place. The white, male figure was the top dog in this time. He felt he had the right and power to suppress those different from him, either it be because of their gender or the color of their skin. African American men feel no such thing. Their egos were never inflated by society. They were not brought up in such a way where they were told they were the dominant ones. African American women had no reason to fear their home life. It was simply not the same atmosphere because the one causing the liberation struggles was not waiting for them at their own house.

As a woman, I believe one of the most important aspects of the feminist movement was how it demonstrated an act of unity. With the exception of radical feminists, even men were able to join the feminist movement and contribute to the force that was trying to eradicate suppression. Women of all classes, all ethnicities, and of all education levels were able to partake in something that mattered to them. No one, not a single person, was rejected or unaccepted. Instead of this movement stooping down to the same segregation it was attempting to destroy, it did the complete opposite. It became something so much better than the society that was fighting them tooth and nail. “Building a mass-based women’s movement was never the central issue on their agenda. After many organizations were established, leaders expressed desire for greater participant diversity; they wanted women to join who were not white, materially priviledged, middle-class, or college-educated. It was never deemed necessary for feminist activists to explain to masses of women the significance of feminist movement. Believing their emphasis on social equality was a universal concern, they assumed the idea would carry its own appeal” (Hooks 825). Equality for all was the true goal of the feminist movement. At that time, not only women were being oppressed, but African Americans and people who belonged to specific social classes as well. The idea that the feminist movement was not only fighting for women, but for all the oppressed, was an adoring act. Many movements that took on this goal were received more positively by the world, simply because it displayed a desired equality for all. The moment you consider the suffering of others, the more people who join your side. Therefore, it not only gains the admiration of future generations, but benefits the feminist movement itself.

I believe this would be beneficial to me simply because acts of discrimination and oppression still exist to this day. The feminist movement was such a display of equality, it can sometimes help to open people’s eyes. I know when I read about movements so great, I get inspired and feel stronger. It shows me there are people out there who are willing to fight not only for their own rights, but for the rights of others. However, I do not exactly believe that sexist suppression is the root of all suppression, as stated by hooks herself. I also do not believe to end all other forms of oppression, sexism must be eradicated first. The acts and crimes related to racism seem far worse in comparison



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