Black "Her"story Month — Bell Hooks

Gloria Jean Watkins, otherwise known as bell hooks, is an author, professor, activist, and feminist who was born during a time when the United States was experiencing lots of change. These changes and their lasting impacts became the topic of many of her writings and professional career. Her unique perspective has given readers insight into how race, gender, and class intersect and shape each person in society. 

Before we dig deeper into her work, we must share the fun fact about her pen name “bell hooks.” Her publishing name comes from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks, and was chosen because she was known for her sharp tongue which Gloria loved. Although she took on her great-grandmother’s name, she wanted to distinguish herself by using only lowercase letters because she felt it was the content of her writing that was important, not for people to praise who she is. We love a humble intellectual woman.

After studying and graduating from Stanford University with her BA in English and then the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her MA, hooks went on to teach at many universities and began to release her writing while she worked on her doctorate. (She’s mega impressive, we know). 

The reason we love bell hooks is her love for knowledge and for sharing knowledge in an inclusive and non-confining way. Her feminist theory is just that. She is an advocate for women to be a part of a sisterhood that is not blind to differences, but to see those and to accept one another. She takes a closer look into intersectionality of gender, race, class and sex. She believes men play an important role in feminism because it creates camaraderie and a better understanding of the movement. Dive deeper by exploring some of her work:

Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity