bell hooks is for Everybody

  • Posted on: 11 February 2021
  • By: Caroline Hughes

Young bell hooks.                       Source:

"Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands." - bell hooks, All about Love: New Visions

When you think of theory, what do you think of? For many people, including myself, theory can be daunting. As a graduate student, I often feel that reading theory is like wading through a thick swamp surrounded by dense fog. There is a common misconception that theory is only for academics and that there's no space for theory in everyday life for everyone else. Part of this misconception stems from the heavy jargon (complicated language used by particular groups that makes it difficult for others to understand) theorists use. Having to look up every other word in a text steers people away. The world of theory is an amazing place of discovery and knowledge, but if it's not easy for everyone to understand, then what is the point?

In the swampy, foggy world of theory, bell hooks is the sunlight that filters through the fog, sparking a light of curiosity and exploration in everyone who reads her works. Gloria Watkins adopted the pen name bell hooks to recognize her grandmother, Bell Blaire Hooks. She intentionally did not capitalize her pen name because she wanted to draw more attention to her ideas. As a feminist theorist, writer, and cultural critic, bell hooks has contributed over 30 books, including a few children's books. She's laid the groundwork for people to explore race, gender, and education. If you're interesting in learning more about bell hooks, check out these books available in our catalog:

All about Love: New Visions

All About Love is a revelation about what causes a polarized society and how to heal the divisions that cause suffering. Here is the truth about love, and inspiration to help us instill caring, compassion, and strength in our homes, schools, and workplaces.

Be Boy Buzz

Here a tight, exuberant children's story from two award-winning creators that captures the essence and energy of what it means to be a boy.

Black Genius: African American Solutions to African American Problems

Black Genius is an exceptional, unique colloquy. Conceived by acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley and sponsored by the New York University Africana Studies Program and the Institute of African American Affairs, this book originated as a series of community conversations where "visionaries with solutions" shared powerful views on personal and communal struggles, triumphs, and aspirations.bell hooks is one of several contributors.

Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life

In this provocative and captivating dialogue, bell hooks and Cornel West come together to discuss the dilemmas, contradictions, and joys of Black intellectual life.

feminism is for everybody: passionate politics

What is feminism? In this short, accessible primer, bell hooks explores the nature of feminism and its positive promise to eliminate sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. With her characteristic clarity and directness, hooks encourages readers to see how feminism can touch and change their lives- to see that feminism is for everybody.

feminist theory: from margin to center

In this beautifully written and carefully argued work, hooks maintains that mainstream feminism's reliance on white, middle-class, and professional spokeswomen obscures the involvement, leadership, and centrality of women of color and lower-class women in the movement for women's liberation.

Grump Groan Growl

A children's book with rhythmic text exposes a bad mood on the prowl, and advises the reader not to hide, but to let those feelings be.

Homemade Love

Another children's book about a girl who is Girlpie to her mama and Honey Bun Chocolate Dewdrop to her daddy savors the warmth and love of her family.

Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem

In Rock My Soul, bell hooks takes an in-depth look at one of the most critical issues facing African Americans: a collective wounded self-esteem that has prevailed from slavery to the present day.

Skin Again

bell hooks finds a new way to talk about race and identity that will appeal to parents of the youngest readers.