“The Significance of Feminist Movement” by Bell Hooks

Any reproductive types of speech are aimed to be perceived by the recipient. Therefore, the concept of rhetoric comes forth. Although people tend to think that mere direct address to the audience might ensure the success, there are many examples of successful texts where the author does not involve the reader into the discussion but uses slightly aggressive manner to instruct the recipient, which brings about a positive outcome.

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At the beginning of the 20th century, women’s movement for equal rights happened to spread as an international phenomenon. However, the scale, character, and form of the movement, as well as feminists’ rhetoric, tended to be determined by certain social-political conditions and cultural-historical traditions of particular societies. Nowadays, feminist ideas appear to preserve their topicality. Despite the fact that women have achieved many goals which they struggled for, true equality does not exist in the society yet. In politics and economics, these are men who are acknowledged to prevail, whereas progressive businesslike women are likely to be treated with doubt. Moreover, laws happen to proclaim the equality but only in writing. In reality, ancient principles go on being dominant, with a man ruling at home and in the society (Fuss 24-27).

By the end of the 20th century, the world feminist ideas, as well as the theory and practice of the feminist movement, have happened to become an independent and original way of the perception and explanation of the reality. However, in comparison with any other tendencies of the present-day culture, this movement proves to be characterized by a rather specific feature. Nowhere on the globe has feminism been treated indifferently. The opinions of representatives of various social groups tend to range from the strongest disapproval to the most exalted admiration. It is, therefore, obvious that this mere fact is acknowledged to be sufficient to consider feminist ideas, as well as the practice of the feminist movement, as a question for a profound research. As a matter of fact, the feminist movement and the feminist theoretical thought have been developing separately since the moment of their forthcoming. Apart from that, they tend to have different goals, which are, correspondingly, practical and explanatory. During several decades, discussions of feminism in general as well as its consideration inside the notion have appeared to be topical, which has resulted in a wide range of publications on the theme (Fuss 32-35).

The article “The Significance of Feminist Movement” by Bell Hooks dwells upon the most notable conceptual issues of the notion. Throughout the text, the author is rather persuasive. As for the tone, it might seem slightly aggressive due to the frequent choice of connotative vocabulary. From a structural viewpoint, the text is easy to follow, as it could be oriented on ordinary people who do not have a sophisticated education. The author prefers using explicit sentences for everyone to comprehend the ideas. The paragraphs are organized emphatically. The tone of the essay seems rather emotional. However, the author does not address to the reader directly. Therefore, the reader is not involved in the discussion of the thesis and is able to only follow the writer’s ideas. Yet, she is willing to be heard, since she discusses the topic in thorough detail. The author is supposed to be successful in attracting her reader’s attention to the topic which she has chosen to reflect on.

In its broad meaning, feminism can be defined as women’s active struggle to change their position in the society. The feminist worldview is stated to include the following nine principles. First, feminists refuse to accept the existence of strictly determined male and female roles in the family and the society. Second, they mainly disapprove of the division of the public life spheres into male and female ones. Third, they tend to approve of such an ideal of a woman whose main qualities appear to be vitality, energy, self-confidence, strive for freedom and independence, and activities in different spheres of the social life. Fourth, professional success, career, and self-realization prove to be highly evaluated in women. Fifth, women are expected to prefer relationships where they do not have to devote the whole of themselves to the care about others. Sixth, mothers and fathers are supposed to take equal parts in the upbringing of their child and arrange their child’s activities outside the home. Seventh, they are noted to denounce such an attitude towards women in which they are treated as an object of sexual oppression. Eighth, they are unlikely to accept the double standard of the public morality in the evaluation of the men’s and women’s behavior. Finally, they are confident that it is necessary for women to be aware of their submissive condition, to have the desire to change their social role and realize the importance of the practical deeds to achieve it (Elsen 307-311).

In the article, the author reflects upon the part which the present-day feminist movement has happened to play in the society. It is necessary to point out that, in this chapter, several cases in which women are not treated equally are considered. Besides, the author underlines why it is critical that the movement should exist and develop. Besides, the author points out how the movement has influenced women’s obligations universally. Due to the universal accent on the significance of male domination, the movement happens to have seemed a fight against men but not a battle to overcome sexist oppression. This situation results in the necessity for men and women to alter their viewpoint. There are some extremist ideas in accordance with which men are believed to be women’s rivals, with suggestions to found a country for mere women.

According to the author, these stances happen to attract some advocates to develop the movement, but, in fact, such ideas are not popular with everyone in the society and might affect the reputation of feminism in a negative way. The author assumes that the importance of the feminist movement “is that it offers new ideological meeting ground for the sexes, a space for criticism, struggle, and transformation. Feminist movement can end the war between the sexes. It can transform relationships so that alienation, competition, and dehumanization that characterize human interaction can be replaced with feelings of intimacy mutuality, and camaraderie” (Hooks 34). The author claims that European women with tolerant traditional views have happened to neglect these advantages. They tend to be stick to their submissiveness and unwilling to alter the situation which might prove to appear widespread. Therefore, there is a disagreement inside the concept which makes feminism depreciated in the society as it tends to be addressed to women of a particular kind, ethnic group, and social status.

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The author does not agree with modern feminists who state that sexism is primary for prejudices against ethnic groups. This viewpoint is supposed to result in “a sense of competing concerns that is unnecessary” (Hooks 36). It is known that gender roles have been distinguished since ancient times. However, the author assumes that the existing issue of sexism and racism is entrained by present-day values and beliefs of Europeans and Americans which are based on the church and principles, for instance, “superior should control the inferior” (Hooks 36). Sexist oppression is influential since it is the most widespread of any others.

Since the matter of subjection relies on establishments and systems of public organization, it is unlikely to be withdrawn. The family arrangements provide a good example. The family in Europe and the US is based on two hierarchal oppositions: husband-wife and parent-child. These oppositions happen to be dominant and submissive principles of behavior. So, apart from caring feelings, family life teaches dominance and submissiveness. However, the author thinks that the family is important, and this is sexist oppression that should be excluded from it, whereas other principles preserved.

The author points out that the notion of a family happens to be attacked by feminists. However, advocates of feminism are supposed to admit that the family is necessary for support and upbringing. Besides, feminists are likely to give an insight how to organize family relations which are based on the true equality with rights and duties divided equitably. Apart from that, the writing contains the following profound thought: “In the interest of such a struggle we must, at the onset of our analysis, call attention to the positive, transformative impact the eradication of sexist oppression could have on all our lives” (Hooks 34). The expression “sexist oppression” can be changed into another one denoting any universal matter, for instance, racism. Therefore, the author gives a clear insight into an effective and efficient organization of any movement.

In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that the tone of the article seems slightly aggressive, whereas the text is easy to follow. The author has been rather emotional and persuasive. She is supposed to be successful in attracting her reader’s attention to the topic.

Works Cited

Ensen, Robin E. A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences That Matter. Quarterly Journal of Speech, vol. 102, no. 3, 2016, pp. 307-311.

Fuss, Diana. Essentially Speaking: Feminism, Nature and Difference. Boston, MA: TAYLOR & FRANCIS, 2016.

Hooks, Bell. Feminist Theory from Margin to Center. Boston, MA: South East Press, 1984. Web.

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