Domestic Violence and Feminism in Bell Hooks’ Theory


Domestic violence is a complicated issue to which people do not always pay adequate attention. However, the feminist movement has revealed and explained several important aspects of this problem. They are profoundly discussed in the book called Feminism is for Everybody that presents hooks’ theory (Hooks 61). The main purpose of this paper is to summarize and assess the ideas of hooks’ theory regarding domestic violence.

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Patriarchal Violence

Domestic violence is one of the most significant issues that feminist activists strive to resolve. They aim at building awareness regarding the subject among the general public. Followers of the feminist movement try to change the way people thinking as well as people’s attitudes and behaviors. Many people have forgotten that feminists were those who attracted significant attention to the issue and revealed its most significant aspects. Firstly, feminists emphasize the problem of male violence against women, but later, they also focus on violence occurring in same-sex couples, and violence against children.

Patriarchal violence is a result of distorted views and beliefs. It takes place when a person thinks that it is necessary to apply physical, psychological, or another type of oppression in order to keep control over household members. The term “patriarchal violence” embraces such types of violence as violence against women, children, and same-sex violence. The definition of this term highlights that all these types are based on the sexist way of thinking. Many people believe that domestic violence is a less significant problem than violence on the streets. However, it is not true as more women are harassed and abused at their homes than outside.

Although most people strongly believe that violent behaviors are inexcusable, they cannot see the connection between sexism and domestic violence. To comprehend such a connection, people should conduct a profound analysis that involves various logical sequences and inferences. Therefore, the main purpose of the feminist movement is to facilitate this complicated endeavor.

Although patriarchal violence encompasses different types of abuse, most feminists prioritize the problem of male violence against women. However, there are many cases when children become victims of violent attacks committed by women. Therefore, it is highly necessary to combine efforts in order to uncover all aspects of patriarchal violence and pay equal attention to each of them. The general public should be aware of the scale of the problem. Otherwise, it will be almost impossible to effectively address it.

Responsibilities of Women

Victims of domestic violence perpetrated by women know that females can be as violent as males. However, various studies demonstrate an opposite opinion. It might be explained by the fact that in most cases, children cannot adequately testify against their mothers or other female caretakers. Also, not many children seek medical help after being subjected to violent attacks. Therefore, there is not enough documented information about cases in which children are victims.

The author underlines the importance of feminist struggle to stop male violence because it eventually will end other types of violent behavior caused by sexist perceptions. However, the fact that most feminists speak out against male violence resulted in various stereotypes that imply that men are more violent than women. Such faulty notions make people ignore the extent to which females are involved in promoting sexist ideas. These ideas justify dominant behaviors and support the use of physical or psychological violence. Most people neglect the extent to which females can abuse their household members. Therefore, in order to reduce the level of violence in society, it is necessary to regard males and females equally.

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Although it is obvious that most women cannot apply violence to have control over men, many of them are sure that an individual who has power can use force to enhance their authority. A great number of parents treat their children aggressively to keep them under control. It manifests itself in different forms of physical or verbal abuse. Since women are the primary caregivers for children, there is a tendency among them to use coercive measures to maintain authority. Such behaviors promote the culture of domination that allows people to approve of violent actions and regard them as methods of social control. Dominators exercise their power using threats and physical punishments when they need to reinforce their hierarchal systems. Such a perception is equally accepted by both genders.

Underlying Reasons

However, violent actions against females are covered more vigorously by mass media. It also contributes to the low awareness of underlying reasons for domestic violence among the general public. Sexist views are widely disseminated and support the culture of male domination, which aggravates the problem. Another cause of domestic violence is white supremacy. The fact that thousands of unemployed people and people who work at low-wage jobs are treated unfairly by the hegemon class leads to domestic violence as it is the way to regain their confidence. In order to feel respect, such people project their dissatisfaction onto household members. The acceptance of domination in the public world is transferred to people’s private lives. In addition, the fact that many women have received high positions in different companies makes some males feel less masculine. They start thinking that violence is the cure for their low self-esteem. Hence, it is necessary to oppose such sexist views in order to eliminate male violence against women.

Another important aspect of the problem is militarism. However, only recently, feminists have focused on the link between military activities and sexist culture. Moreover, many of them even supported and promoted militarism. Until the sexist way of thinking justifies military actions, patriarchal violence will take place.

It is important to mention again that both men and women contribute to the dissemination of sexism that eventually establishes a culture of domination and violence. Women should also take responsibility for their role in this process. In order to effectively address the problem of patriarchal violence, people have to pay equal attention to all its types and avoid emphasizing only some of them. It is necessary to develop policies and strategies that unite both genders to fight sexism. Men and women should accept the fact that violence cannot solve their problems, and it should not be used as an instrument of social control regardless of circumstances. The only way to resolve this issue is to expand feminism into a movement that disapproves of all types and forms of violence. However, specific attention should be paid to parental education as the sexist culture is transferred from parents to children. Therefore, it is necessary to stop this process, using the solution that is offered by feminist activists.

Assessment of Hooks’ Theory

In my opinion, this theory is highly relevant and comprehensive. Domestic violence is a complex issue, and it is necessary to break it down in order to find the most effective solutions to it. The author explains that domestic violence might manifest itself in different forms. However, most people do not pay adequate attention to less well-known aspects. She demonstrates how different stereotypes hinder the progress of the feminist movement. Such stereotypes are very misleading and create distorted perceptions such as only males are responsible for the widespread culture of violence, or domestic violence is a distinct form of abusement and should be addressed differently. I agree with the author that all types of violence are equally unacceptable, and the differentiation between them might only aggravate the situation.

The author also reveals underlying reasons for patriarchal violence. I totally agree that the main cause is the sexist way of thinking. Sexist views are used to simplify complicated issues. They cannot help to adequately assess a particular situation, thus they lead to faulty judgments. Violence is usually a result of dominant attitudes and behaviors. Individuals who hold or promote such a misconception often justify violent actions if they aimed at regaining control over a complicated situation. Examples from real life prove the rightness of this conclusion. Men who feel oppressed at their workplaces often try to compensate for their dissatisfaction by abusing their partners or other family members (Hooks 64). By doing this, they can maintain power and dominance.


Each type of violence eventually enhances the ideas of sexism as it is always based on the culture of domination. The domination of one group over another violates the basic moral principles of humanity. Therefore, it is necessary to oppose such a culture in order to prevent the application of violent measures as tools for social control.

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Work Cited

Hooks, Bell. Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. Pluto Press, 2000.

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"Domestic Violence and Feminism in Bell Hooks’ Theory." StudyCorgi, 5 Dec. 2020,

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Domestic Violence and Feminism in Bell Hooks’ Theory." December 5, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Domestic Violence and Feminism in Bell Hooks’ Theory'. 5 December.

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