In December 2021, the world lost one of its most incredible minds, someone who knew love and wanted to share it with everyone, a beacon of wisdom and integrity—the world lost bell hooks. On International Women’s Day, we feel hooks’s absence more considering her valuable contributions to modern feminism. hooks published around 40 books in her lifetime, each one an important piece of literature or theory. Throughout all her works, regardless of the focus, hooks made sure that the core element was love.
Any student of feminism will come across hooks’s work at some point or another, showing her reach in feminist theory and intellectual spaces. hooks ensured she was as concise and to-the-point as possible in her works, which makes them extremely accessible for new readers. Her publications became some of the most revisited and respectable writings of post-second-wave feminism.
One of hooks’s earlier works, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, made a major impact in feminist theory and cemented hooks as an important figure in her field. This early piece was about Black feminist movements and how mainstream feminist movements had often excluded Black women from conversations. hooks analyzes the lasting impact of slavery in America on the lives of Black women, stating that stereotypes that began during slavery still had strong roots in modern America. She looks back and critiques the first and second waves of feminism, as they both pandered for the rights of middle and upper-class white women in the Americas. These movements did not address the needs of all women and left marginalized women to fend for themselves with no representation in feminism.
Around 20 years later, hooks published All About Love: New Visions, where she dived into how people love and the importance of leading with love in everything we do. Every chapter explores a different aspect of love, including romantic love, familial love, loving through grief, and everything in between.
Another one of her publications, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love, was published nearly 20 years ago and still holds up as one of the most important pieces of feminist theory that specifically addresses men’s issues. hooks points out the lack of importance put on feminism in men’s lives and discusses how everybody suffers under the patriarchy. If you are a man, this book is for you; if you have men in your life that you love, this book is also for you.
hooks wrote for everyone. She wrote so that everyone could change their minds, their hearts, and their lives. She was a gift that we may not have deserved, so let us remember her not only by reading her words, but by living them.
Associate Arts & Entertainment Editor (Volume 48) — Ciera Couto is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Dramaturgy, with minors in both Cinema and Women and Genders Studies. She has been writing creatively for years and has recently been published in different Canadian magazines and journals. Ciera spends her time reading, writing and listening to Taylor Swift on repeat. You can see her portfolio here, connect with her on LinkedIn, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.