40 pages 1 hour read

bell hooks

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1984

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Chapters 9-12Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary: “feminist movement to end violence”

In this chapter, bell hooks begins by describing the prevailing belief that violence against women is rooted in systems of domination and sexism. She quotes anti-domestic violence activist Susan Schechter’s work Women and Male Violence, which supports this analysis of violence against women, then refutes it by stating that all violence can be traced back to the hierarchical nature of Western societies. According to hooks, domination itself, and not solely sexist domination, is the root of violence against women. Analyzing violence in this way also allows the acknowledgment that women perpetrate violence as well, specifically women who act according to white supremacist ideologies or exert or allow patriarchal violence against their children. Hooks states that if “all our relationships tend to be based on power and domination […] all forms of battery are linked” (120). Violence of every kind reflects the hierarchical structure of Western society, and people’s acceptance of sexist violence only perpetuates society’s culture of domination.

Hooks cites that male violence against women in the home has grown as more women enter the workforce; the assumption here is that men used to their place in capitalistic hierarchies feel compelled to assert their power in the home more often.