18. All about Love: New Visions by bell hooks

       hooks’ writing strongly resonates with me: her prose is clear and simple, and her ideas have fundamentally shaped the ways in which I view feminism and its place in my life. I first read her book Feminism is for Everybody a few years ago, and hooks’ straightforward definition of feminism and her reasons for its necessary prominence raised my awareness of the ways in which feminism and the lack thereof have shaped the world around me. Feminism is for Everybody is a short book but an essential one that I frequently return to.

In All about Love, one of the three books that hooks has written about her search for love and healthy relationships, she describes her personal struggles to find love and she also presents personal musings on popular culture and the pervasive themes of love in American society. The book veers between autobiographical reflections and self-help, but never settles on a genre, as is common with hooks’ writing. Personally, I find her style refreshing, and her combination of personal memoirs and broader observations about American and western culture appeals to me. However, I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, even though I wish I could without any hesitation. It may seem silly to read books about loving and how to love, but the more I read of hooks’ writing, the more convinced I become that hooks’ theses are correct. We have no cultural outlets to learn about healthy and loving relationships. In our society, I feel like finding true love is often so highly valued – more so than financial success or other tangible goals. Yet, we are supposed to learn how to love and to find love by example – through our parents, and other role models. Many of the mainstream TV shows and movies and books don’t display the kind of healthy partnership I hope to one day build with someone. Too often, mainstream media reinforces tired gender stereotypes of both men and women. While we know that these TV shows don’t depict a good reality – and while I realize that the kind of relationships that hooks describes make for less compelling TV watching , it would be nice to see that kind of reality depicted more frequently in the media, and not just on the sidelines.

As an avid reader of hooks’ work, I absolutely loved this book, and thought that hooks raised excellent questions about the state of love in our lives. I wish that more people would write about their search for fulfilling, feminist oriented relationships (and get more press for it). That being said, this candid discussion of love, relationships, and hooks’ search for a new kind of love is definitely not for everyone, even though I think that most readers could take away something new.

 

Pages: 237/4637

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~ by lefaquin on October 18, 2012.

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