bell hooks, Pathbreaking Black Feminist, Dies at 69

Issue no2
April - May 2022
countryside & biennale guide

bell hooks, whose incisive, wide-ranging writing on gender and race helped push feminism beyond its white, middle-class worldview to include the voices of Black and working-class women, died on Wednesday at her home in Berea, Ky. She was 69.

Her sister Gwenda Motley said the cause was end-stage renal failure.

Starting in 1981 with her book “Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism,” Ms. hooks, who insisted on using all lowercase letters in her name, argued that feminism’s claim to speak for all women had pushed the unique experiences of working-class and Black women to the margins.

“A devaluation of Black womanhood occurred as a result of the sexual exploitation of Black women during slavery that has not altered in the course of hundreds of years,” she wrote.

If that seems like conventional wisdom today, that is in large part because of the enormous impact Ms. hooks had on both feminism and Black women, many of whom had resisted aligning with a movement they felt was designed to diminish their experiences....

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