Feminists are made, not born. One does not become an advocate of feminist politics simply by having the privilege of having been born female. Like all political positions one becomes a believer in feminist politics through choice and action. When women first organized in groups to talk together about the issue of sexism and male domination, they were clear that females were socialized to believe sexist thinking and values as males, the difference being simply that males benefited from sexism more than females and were as a consequence less likely to want to surrender patriarchal privilege. Before women could change patriarchy we had to change ourselves; we had to raise our consciousness.
bell hooks, Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics, p. 7
Romantic love as most people understand it in patriarchal culture makes one unaware, renders one powerless and out of control. Feminist thinkers called attention to the way this notion of love served the interests of patriarchal men and women. It supported the notion that one could do anything in the name of love: beat people, restrict their movement, even kill them and call it a “crime of passion,” plead, “I loved her so much I had to kill her.” Love in patriarchal culture was linked to notions of possession, to paradigms of domination and submission wherein it was assumed one person would give love and another person receive it.
bell hooks, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
We do know that patriarchal masculinity encourages men to be pathologically narcissistic, infantile, and psychologically dependent on the privileges (however relative) that they receive simply for having been born male. Many men feel that their lives are being threatened if these privileges are taken away, as they have structured no meaningful core identity.
Despite popular belief, feminism is not anti-masculism. Feminism is about making men AND women equal. Sexism affects all genders, so the people who attack masculism are NOT feminists. So please, stop accusing feminism of being a hate movement.
Tragically we are witnessing a resurgence of harmful misogynist assumptions that mothers cannot raise healthy sons, that boys ‘benefit’ from patriarchal militaristic notions of masculinity which emphasize discipline and obedience to authority. Boys need healthy self esteem. They need love. And a wise and loving feminist politics can provide the only foundation to save the lives of male children. Patriarchy will not heal them. If that were so they would all be well.
You gotta stop lying to us. We can tell you’re lying to us. Stop telling me, “Well… someone one day will think that crooked nose is just cute as a button,” I don’t want to hear that. I don’t want to hear the only thing that you can reassure me with is based on what I look like.
Stay beautiful. Stay beautiful. Staying beautiful is why I’ve got shaky hands and no metabolism. Staying beautiful is why I keep crying myself to sleep. Staying beautiful to me meant staying empty. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of people who’ve never seen me telling me, “Don’t worry, you’re somebody’s wet dream.” I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be beautiful. I don’t want to be pretty.
Stop telling girls they’ve just got to love themselves because “Everybody is beautiful.” You say the word “beautiful” and we think of magazines. Beauty exists in each person but it’s not because you’ll eventually stumble across someone who finds you attractive. Love your body because it’s flawed, love yourself for your heart. Beauty exists in you, I promise.
It’s because when you breathe in, sweetheart, you’re swallowing four million words you could have said but when you exhale, you choose the ones that are kindest. It’s because you’ve got sharp teeth and round hips and a good grasp on video games. You’re beautiful because they’ve knocked you to your knees and you keep wiping the blood out of the corners of your mouth and getting right back to your feet. You’re beautiful because they told you that you couldn’t succeed so you strapped yourself into the fastest car you could find and told them to fuck off, that you were running away to somewhere their venom couldn’t pierce through your fingertips - you’re beautiful because you’ve got stories stacked up your spinal column, not because some dude one day is going to say, “Huh, I’d fuck her.”
Stop preaching the same few words to us. Stop saying, “You’re beautiful,” because yes she is but she’s only going to hear, “I’m only saying this because I feel bad and I have nothing else to say.” Stop talking down to us. Instead start giving out compliments that mean something. Tell me I dress like I’m a queen. Tell her that you’re more than willing to punch somebody who asks, “But weren’t you born a boy,” tell her that you are willing to protect her. Tell her you’re happy she’s alive, not that you’re happy about how she looks.
Baby girl, look down to your hands, because these are the bones that will build and break nations - stay strong, stay wild, stay free, but don’t stay beautiful. Get ugly. Get hair in your mouth and sand in your eyes. Bite the people who hurt you, draw blood. Have sex in public restrooms, laugh about it, keep notches in your belt. Kiss the girl in your class with blue eyes you can’t stop staring at, get her lip gloss all over your collarbones. Skin your palms. Moan loudly. Stop getting quiet when obnoxious people interrupt you, talk over them, talk while staring them down, show them you don’t give a shit whether or not they like what you’re saying, you’re going to finish it. If somebody calls you a bitch, wink. Be ugly. Stop tearing your sandwiches apart under the table so you can eat like a fairy. Stop trying to be dainty. Cut your hair. Pierce everything you want, tattoo the rest, roll your eyes at your parents. Don’t hide your hurt, wear it, stop thinking you’re going to inconvenience everybody. Take back this world you gave up. Make it yours. Don’t go down without screaming.
You don’t need to be beautiful. You are not somebody’s art piece. Baby girl, look down to your hands.
What’s important is that you can do anything. You have so much potential and that’s what makes you important. You are so much more than your cheekbones or the width of your thighs.
What’s beautiful is that you can make anything happen. Stop being beautiful. Get ugly.
Go be alive.
Be alive, be glorious, be good at sex. Be so much more than just plain “beautiful.” /// r.i.d| inkskinned
All white women in this nation know that their status is different from that of black women/women of color… . 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 that they are in denial.
bell hooks, “Race and Gender” from Feminism Is For Everybody (55)
Feminism is anti-sexism. A male who has divested of male privilege, who has embraced feminist politics, is a worthy comrade in struggle, in no way a threat to feminism, whereas a female who remains wedded to sexist thinking and behavior infiltrating feminist movement is a dangerous threat. Significantly, the most powerful intervention made by consciousness-raising groups was the demand that all females confront their internalized sexism, their allegiance to patriarchal thinking and action, and their commitment to feminist conversion. That intervention is still needed. It remains the necessary step for anyone choosing feminist politics. The enemy within must be transformed before we can confront the enemy outside. The threat, the enemy, is sexist thought and behavior. As long as females take up the banner of feminist politics without addressing and transforming their own sexism, ultimately the movement will be undermined.
bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
just going to emphasize that last sentence again: As long as females take up the banner of feminist politics without addressing and transforming their own sexism, ultimately the movement will be undermined.