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Feminism: Woolf’s account and Hook’s definition Essay

Feminism has many definitions depending on who is talking. Bell Hook’s recognizes this fact when she wrote `Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression`. Indeed, as the title presuppose, Hook defines feminism as the struggle to end sexist oppression. She established this definition by looking back at how the liberal and/or bourgeoisie feminism presents inappropriate current definitions of feminism. Hook argued that ‘it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western Culture on various levels (Dilk et al. , 2001)’.

Such ideology that she referred to includes capitalism, supremacist and patriarchal ideologies that eliminate women’s perception of equality as a group. She further elaborate that the definition deals with a ‘commitment to reorganizing society so that self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion and material desires (Dilk et al. , 2001)’. Hook’s focus on self-development highlights the fact that it is not only biological similarity that group women together rather there is an undermining reason that most women share in common which is greater than social status alone.

Hook further stress that individual feminist should acquire a political consciousness based on the ideas and beliefs to end sexist oppression (Dilk et al. , 2001). Hook view feminism as a political perspective, which contemplates the different standpoint of the society and the global revolutionary politics. She concluded that the aim of feminism is not solely for women but a struggle to transform the lives of different individuals in a meaningful way.

Hook believes that the ‘foundation of feminist struggle must be solidly based on a recognition of the need to eradicate the underlying cultural basis of sexism and other forms of group oppression (Dilk et al. , 2001)’. Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of Our Own’ illustrate that the reason that men and women differ significantly has its root in money. Money is tantamount to power and/or ability to influence other people. Indeed this is a very liberal way of contemplating the status of woman.

It is the primary difference that a white bourgeoisie woman can identify and blame for whatever oppression that she feels or experience. However, Hook believes that this interpretation or suggestion is weak and only put forward the needs of white colored feminist. Hook further argued that men differ in social classes, in race and/or color, in ethnicity and supremacy. White women singularly focus on the need to liberate themselves from societal discrimination against women, but discriminates other women based on other standards aside gender (Dilk et al. , 2001).

Woolf described in her essay the different instances that show how women are kept away from several privileges. She metaphorically used the lawn grass in the beginning of her essay to describe how much privileged men are and how they keep and/or construct rules so as to keep women out of the their way(Dilk et al. , 2001) . She also identified several instances in history, using real and fictional characters, which demonstrate how women treated and kept in the dark, as well as how their ideas are loss and are not acknowledge due to the sole fact that they are born women.

Woolf’s argument about change display her belief that inequality and social discriminations are prevalent due to the continuous oppression of women, which dates back since the beginning of time. She elaborated the fact that giving women a rooms and money of their own is a great change in history that instrumentally give way to the possibility of creativity. Thus, ‘A Room of One’s Own’ (argued that change should be geared towards something that is good in itself. Hook also put forward that the ‘ability to see and describe one’s own reality is a significant step in the long process of self-recovery (Dilk et al.

, 2001)’. This can be reiterated in how Woolf conducts her argument. She first try to describe what it is about women and fiction that bothered her or how she see these terms in the context of her reality. However, as most white feminist argued, Woolf also portrays the thought that the status of being woman is a common experience, in all women, which separate them from man. In the way Woolf relay the story of the narrator in the essay, she present how reality is shaped and dominated by males.

With this regard, both Hook and Woolf advocate the fact that women oppression does not result from biology, rather there are political, economical and cultural factors that affects women status. Nonetheless, they differed significantly on how the issue shall be resolved. Being a white bourgeoisie, Woolf is somehow ignorant of the type of oppression that colored women experience. However, the mere fact that white women, despite having their status and privilege during that time, already experience and feel that they are oppressed and that they are in dire need to be liberalized proves that oppression is blatant and harsh.

Hook questions the view of Liberal and bourgeoisie feminist because it does not give a full account of what feminism should address. Instead, it leads to women discriminating other women based on other factors beside social equality with men. A woman identity, which is describe by Woolf, is presented by Hook as lacking and insufficient to voice out and group women together under one name: feminism. Work Cited: Dilks, S. , Hansen, R. and Parfitt, M. Cultural Conversations: The Presence of the Past. Bedford/ST. Martin’s. 2001.


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