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12

July 2020

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Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women White Feminists Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
People who consider themselves feminists.

In a nutshell:
Author Mikki Kendall shares a variety of essays covering topics and areas that very much fall under the concept of feminism but that are often left out of the discussion by mainstream white feminists.

Worth quoting:
“Girls like me seemed to be the object of the conversations and not full participants, because we were a problem to be solved, not people in our own right.”

“We have to be willing to embrace the full autonomy of people who are less privileged and understand that equity means making access to opportunity easier, not deciding what opportunities they deserve.”

“We must move away from the strategies provided by corporate feminism that teach us to lean in but not how to actually support each other.”

Why I chose it:
I follow Ms Kendall on Twitter and saw that she had written a book. Given what I’d seen in her tweets, I knew I’d want to read her work in longer form.

Review:
I am a feminist. I am interested in fighting for equal rights, opportunities, access, and freedoms for all women. What that has meant in practice, however, has often been fighting for the things that are most affecting ME, and not the things that impact women facing more serious challenges.

Ms Kendall’s argument is that white feminism has been very narrowly focused on what white, middle-class women want, and she offers up many areas where white feminism needs to get its shit together. Whether looking at racism, misogynoir, ableism, white supremacy, or examining the challenges of housing insecurity, poverty, education, or reproductive justice, Ms Kendall points out what some of the real struggles and challenges are, and how mainstream feminism has failed – and could start – to provide support and take action.

One big component of all of this is looking at who an action or policy or work centers. Take reproductive health and reproductive justice as one example. Yes, of course I want all people who can give birth to have access to abortions and birth control. But for many pro-choice activists, that’s where it ends. Whereas Ms Kendall makes the case that reproductive justice means so much more – it means access to full healthcare, and it means receiving the support that is needed once someone DOES have a child – food, housing, childcare, education, etc.

The issues Ms Kendall discusses in this book can be fixed, but it takes serious work, work that the people who are experiencing them are already doing. It’s important that the feminists she’s speaking of don’t look at the issues and decide to get all white savior-y on them; a key thing this book has reinforced is to look at who is already doing the work and see how to best support them.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it

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