Chapter Eight – Feminism is for Everybody

bell hooks Exercises

bell hooks

Part One

Explain why men can be feminists and women can be sexist and uphold male domination.

Part Two

Hooks is very interested in media representations of womanhood/femininity, feminism, and patriarchy. Provide one contemporary media representation of these concepts and explain how the example you chose affects popular understandings of the concept which it represents.

Part Three

Read the following:

The Black Feminist’s Guide to the Racist Sh*t That Too Many White Feminists Say by Maisha Z. Johnson

Cite at least four common phrases used by White feminists that offend or disempower Black feminists. Explain why these phrases, concepts, or ideas are indeed offensive.

Part Four

Read this short, early piece on the murder of Trayvon Martin. The article was written a month after his murder. Later, and after a lot of pressure and street protests, George Zimmerman was brought to trial only to be declared innocent under Florida’s “stand your ground” laws.

 Walking While Black: The Killing of Trayvon Martin by Amy Goodman

Read bell hook’s text below and answer the questions that follow:

      “White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged to feel sympathy for the white male homeowner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; the narrative is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to ‘protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat.’ This is what the worship of death looks like.”

hooks, bell. All About Love: New Visions. New York: William Morrow, 2000. Print.

1. Explain and evaluate hooks’ argument as to how multiple systems of oppression -including capitalism, patriarchy, and masculinity- played a role in the murder of Trayvon Martin.

2. According to hooks, how does the media shape the way we think about what happens when a black person is killed by police and vigilantes? How could an alternative (feminist) media inform viewers differently?

3. Present the information in some interesting form such as Powerpoint, short video, poetry, spoken word or something else.



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