Book Talk: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
"In prose that is clean, crisp, and cutting, Kendall reveals how feminism has both failed to take into account populations too often excluded from the banner of feminism and failed to consider the breadth of issues affecting the daily lives of millions of women. . . . Throughout, Kendall thoughtfully and deliberately takes mainstream feminism to task . . . [but] if Hood Feminism is a searing indictment of mainstream feminism, it is also an invitation. For every case in which Kendall highlights problematic practices, she offers guidance for how we can all do better."
About the Book
A potent and electrifying critique of today's feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in Black feminism
Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord, and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?
In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ A deeply personal portrait of want and a polemic that brings race and gender into the discussion of poverty.”
—The Washington Post
“ A searing indictment of . . . the modern feminist movement’s failure to support marginalized women and to integrate issues of race, class and sexual orientation. ” —USA Today
“ My wish is that every white woman who calls herself a feminist (as I do) will read this book in a state of hushed and humble respect. Mikki Kendall is calling out white feminists here—and it’s long overdue that we drop our defenses, listen to her arguments carefully, and then change our entire way of thinking and behaving. As Kendall explains in eloquent and searing simplicity, any feminism that focuses on inequality between men and women without addressing the inequalities BETWEEN women is not only useless, but actually harmful. In the growing public conversation about race, class, status, privilege, and power, this text is essential reading.” —Elizabeth Gilbert
“ A frank account of who and what is still missing from mainstream feminism that will appeal to readers of women’s and African American studies, and readers seeking a better grasp on history.” —Library Journal
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Mikki Kendall is a writer, speaker, and blogger whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, TIME, Salon, Ebony, Essence, and elsewhere. An accomplished public speaker, she has discussed race, feminism, violence in Chicago, tech, pop culture, and social media on NPR's Tell Me More, Al Jazeera's The Listening Post, BBC Women's Hour, Huffington Post Live, as well as at universities across the country. In 2017, she was awarded Best Food Essay from the Association of Food Journalists for her essay on hot sauce, Jim Crow, and Beyoncé. She co-edited the Locus nominated anthology Hidden Youth, and is part of the Hugo-nominated team of editors at Fireside Magazine. A veteran, she lives in Chicago with her family.