1. According to Hooks and/or Your Notes from Class, What Is the Definition of Feminism? What Parts of the Definitions Do You Agree with or Disagree with? Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist after Truly Understanding the Definition? Why or why not?
According to Hooks, feminism is a movement aimed to eliminate sexism as well as sexist exploitation and oppression. This movement does not involve exclusively anti-male attitude. In fact, it regards sexism as a major problem. In my opinion, true feminism exactly coincides with how Hooks views it. However, I used to see feminism as an aggressive movement, which combines both the struggle against sexism and radical views concerning the gender issue. Hence, if I take into account Hooks’ definition, it turns out that I am a true feminist. I am a person who believes that all people should be treated equally in spite of the difference in their gender, race or faith. Thus, treating women in a different way because they are not men is intolerable.
2. According to Hooks, how Do People in the World Generally View Feminism?
As a rule, the majority of people in the world perceive feminism as a negative phenomenon. They view feminists as women who have unreasonable aggression towards males. This stereotype prevails in the society, and people have negative associations with this movement. According to widespread perception, feminists can be described as radical, angry, and quick-tempered people. The majority of them are lesbians who demonstrate the open hatred towards men and believe that all men are the root of evil. Such women are disappointed in life and direct their anger at other people, especially men.
Moreover, there is a common stereotype that feminists try to avoid everything that other women do to be attractive for men; they do not use make up, do not shave their legs, and do not wear bras. They do not try to be more gentle and womanly because it is not the appropriate behavior for a strong and independent woman. These stereotypes are the most common among the average citizens, though they demonstrate only some radical positions but not the movement in general.
3. According to Hooks, What Is Internalized Sexism?
According to Hooks, there are the unconscious processes that make women sexists. During the whole history of a mankind, females were influenced by patriarchal thinking. Males make women feel that they are the part of their interior and they should be attractive and pleasant in order to make this interior brighter (Hooks, 2000). There is a stereotype that women see each other as competitors but not friends. Hence, they look upon each other with fear, hatred and jealously. The sexist way of thinking makes women judge each other and be the silent enemies.
4. According to Hooks, What Is the Main Reason Feminism Cannot Move Forward? (pg.3)
The main reason why feminism cannot move forward is the lack of the world support. As it was mentioned above, the majority of people perceive feminism as a negative phenomenon and thus, they believe that it is the act of intolerance and aggression rather than the struggle for women’s rights equality. Moreover, some of the feminism followers have radical views and unfortunately, this position is often perceived by other people as the general idea of the feminist movement.
According to this fact, the world’s misunderstanding of the basic feminist principles and the existence of pseudo-feminist activity, which creates the wrong image of the feminism, are the main barriers for the feminism further movement.
5. How Do Women Use Class, Race, and Socioeconomic Status to Keep Each Other Down?
Hooks states that the influence of patriarchic domination has left its footprint on the females’ perception of each other. Women view each other as competitors and a possible threat. According to this fact, they use various methods in order to demonstrate that they are better, prettier, and more desirable than other women.
The competence occurs on all levels; however, it mainly concerns the social class. If a woman is a representative of a middle class, then all other women who are from the lower class are automatically worse than she because the woman from a middle class can spend more money on her personal demands, she has better house or even personal car. Hence, her social status as well as her own perception of her importance are higher.
Race also plays a crucial role in determining the women’s superiority; white women are always perceived as the first class representatives, while all other races refer to the lower class. Despite the fact that racial issue is not as strong today as it was fifty years ago, this stereotype still exists.
6. In Chapter 10, Hooks States “All White Women in this Nation Know that Whiteness Is a Privileged Category. The Fact that White Females May Choose to Repress or Deny this Knowledge Does not Mean They Are Ignorant: It Means They Are in Denial.” What Are Your Thoughts and Feelings Regarding this Quote?
I agree with this quote and believe that the feeling of superiority often exists even if a person does not consider himself/herself as a racist or a representative of an upper class. The unconscious realizing that one refers to a privileged category gives him/her a sense of power over others who are not from the same cast. The same situation happens when one talks about the privilege of being white among women. The stereotypes that have been existing for hundred years cannot vanish in few decades. Despite the fact that the society becomes more tolerable and promotes the principle of justice and equality, the “white status” still exists and becomes visible only in extreme or conflict situations, when people forget about the norms of behavior and act according to their personal principles and truth in which they believe.
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