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Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism Paperback – July 1, 1999

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A fiery piece of polemic filled with merciless criticism of feminism and black activism alike for their neglect of black women's rights ... provocative and inspiring ... visionary. -- New Statesman One of the twenty most influential women's books of the last twenty years. -- Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

bell hooks is the author of numerous critically acclaimed and influential books on the politics of race, gender, class, and culture. She is the author of several other books, including Feminist Theory (Pluto Press 2000), Sisters of the Yam, Black Looks, Yearning, Talking Back, and Breaking Bread (with Cornel West). She is currently Professor of English at City College, City University of New York. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089608129X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896081291
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bell Hooks is a cultural critic, feminist theorist, and writer. Celebrated as one of our nation's leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly, as well as one of Utne Reader's 100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life, she is a charismatic speaker who divides her time among teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. Previously a professor in the English departments at Yale University and Oberlin College, hooks is now a Distinguished Professor of English at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of more than seventeen books, including All About Love: New Visions; Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work; Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life; Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood; Killing Rage: Ending Racism; Art on My Mind: Visual Politics; and Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A T Baugh on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book 6 years ago on holiday and I couldn't put it down. I tell you this just to let you know that although the subject matter may appear "heavy", hooks style of writing makes the most complicated theories and intellectual of thoughts on Womanism/Feminism easy to understand and entertaining.
This a thought provoking read. For example her theory on the propagation of miscegenation ( the law that banned interracial marriage and our current negative attidudes towards this today) really made me think. Briefly, she theorised that as white men held the key to power the law was brought in not to protect white women from black men but to stop black women marrying white men. If say a black woman married the President she would also have access to power via her direct access and ability to influence the most powerful man in the world.
hooks as a writer is brilliant, she's inspiring, informative and imaginative. Which must be quite difficult given the subject matter she deals with. Start with Aint I a Woman and you'll go onto read her whole library. Enjoy.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on April 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Those who would dismiss Hook's scholarship and arguments as substandard are truly threatened by the radical observations she makes about the world and black women's relationship to it and in it.

The "Clif Notes" version Hooks has been maligned for by her critics have been practiced openly by white feminists (and predominantly white groups) so I honestly cannot see what the criticism is about unless it is the particular ideas themselves and not the way they are phrased. Hook's work is radical because it forces readers to deal with the less than favorable aspects of American history.

Confronting the real truth about America and the way it has historically treated and maligned women of color (and how they moblized against this) can be a challenging read, but only if the reader comes in with a defensive mind, prepared to discount the work anyway. Individuals with an open mind should love the pages of this now-classic work.

I have always loved this book and it's practical insights on gender roles and a multifaceted approach to reproductive rights. Although Hooks is pro-choice, she reminds us that legalized abortion should be only one aspect of reproductive rights, and freedom from sterilzation abuse and full information on contraceptives is also important. It is a testament to Hooks and other activists that this paradigm has been adopted by the general feminist movement.

True women's liberation involves the liberation of all women from all artificially constructed notions about gender and ethnicity. While we as a nation have historically seen the civil rights movement as primarily for black men, and the feminist movement as being for white women, we have silenced and subjugated the black feminist who has one foot in each of these communities and is going to weave together her own experiences.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By KJay on July 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My mother and I have always wanted to read a book together, partly for personal gain and partly because a few years back my dad and I nearly read the entire Harry Potter Series together when I was in grade school and it made her a little jealous. I am 20 and in college (where I read a lot) and she's 50 and employed and has never been a heavy reader(literally reads mostly magazine articles about interior design). I found that we would often have conversations about race, gender, sexuality and the intersection of these identities that we inhabit daily as black women, but the conversation always felt lacking to me, and I'm sure my mother shared in my sentiments. We read the first 28 pages of this book and the conversation was lightening, finally breathing force and life into every argument we'd ever taken a stance on in family discussions and every conversation we had had but never could find concrete words with which to support. In case she wasn't enjoying the read already (which she thoroughly was), my dad walked in 30 minutes after we started with large eyes and a not so subtle wanting look for inclusion, peeping over my shoulder to discover the title of the work that had us shouting, audibly "oohing and ahhing", and even laughing in the next room... and that there was enough to incite an air of commitment to this roughly 200 page read that I've never seen my mother possess approaching anything but a Spring issue of Veranda. We'll be reading a little bit of this book everyday for the next week or two. It is a very fulfilling, enlightening and self-strengthening read. Thank you bell hooks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
Hooks' book gives the beginning student of African-American women's history a strong and solid foundation upon which to build their knowledge. The book's contents bring to light many historical details that have been left out of American history courses but their effects are still present in our society. Hooks establishes the historical reason for the rift between White feminist and Black women, and does so without blame.
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Format: Paperback
bell hooks clearly illustrates how the black woman is the dual embodiment of racial and gender injustices. This is the author's forum to address significant social and political issues that continually render African-American women invisible and devalue their experiences collectively, as well as individually. She manages to do this in a effective and unbiased fashion. hooks' delivers an irrefutable arguement that will encourage readers to open their hearts and minds to confront their own internalized racism, sexism, and classism.
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