Victoria Bromley,
“Still Struggling: Making Change”

In this assigned chapter—the concluding chapter to her 2012 book Feminisms Matter—Victoria Bromley describes the ways in which gender inequalities continue to impact women’s lives. Her focus is on violence against women, reproductive rights, paid and unpaid work, and broad feminist struggles for equality. Though the chapter emphasizes how inequality persists in Canada and the United States, she also makes a concerted effort to explore how these issues affect women globally.

As you read:

  • Draw on what you have learned in this course to identify the cultural narratives or stories that contribute to inequality
  • What other forms of inequality and oppression matter for contemporary feminisms?

Find the Bromley reading here.

bell hooks,
“Visionary Feminism”

Movements for social justice that hold on to outmoded ways of thinking and acting tend to fail.

bell hooks, “Visionary Feminism” in Feminism is For Everybody, 2000, pp.110

We’re reading the final chapter of bell hooks’ book, Feminism is For Everybody. In the introduction of this book, which was published in 2000, hooks describes her desire to share ideas about feminism with the people she encounters everyday. She points out that many of the people in her life are barraged by negative representations of feminism and feminists. She hears that feminists hate men, turn against nature, and want to take away all the good jobs from men. Her book, Feminism is for Everybody, was written in response to the misunderstandings that so many people have about feminism and feminist politics.

In this last chapter of her book, titled “Visionary Feminism,” hooks outlines what she describes as the inherent radicalism of feminism. From her perspective, far too much of what passes as feminism today is simply reforms to existing systems. A truly radical and visionary feminism means to tackle domination and inequality head on. Radical visionary feminism “. . .encourages all of us to courageously examine our lives from the standpoint of gender, race, and class so that we can accurately understand our position within the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (p. 116).

In this description of radical visionary feminism, hooks reminds us all to consider the ways in which we are implicated in existing systems of domination. Her chapter critiques those of us who promote reform within systems of domination—reform might be one step in feminist transformation, but to stop at reform too often means to give up on social justice.

As you read:

  • Pay attention to the ways that hooks describes the distinction between the reformist and radical/revolutionary stages of feminist movement
  • Hooks wrote this chapter twenty years ago; is it still the case that radical visionary feminism is needed? Is it still the case that feminism is mis-represented or under-represented in popular culture?

Find the hooks reading here.