by The Cultured Marketer
“Feminism needs to learn to listen to the voices on the front lines, to accept that the gatekeepers don’t know everything and in fact largely lack the lived experience to relate to those they claim to represent.“ - taken from Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall.
Be honest, would you proudly describe yourself as a FEMINIST?
Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism is a nuanced analysis into what it really means to be a feminist in today’s often unjust and troubled world. She raises difficult but necessary questions largely left unspoken about and unaddressed by white mainstream schools of feminist thought.
As a black female veteran who grew up poor on the South-Side of Chicago, Kendall’s arguments in the book explore race, class as well as ableism and LGBTQIA+ issues, with her central argument fighting FOR an intersectional approach to feminism, for all.
The story of this book and I begins with my living on various intersections too.
I was keen to learn more from Kendall, especially on how she teaches white feminists to put the hood back in feminism.
Prepare to be uncomfortable and prepare to be challenged. Backed up by dire statistics of today, Kendall snatches the wool over the eyes of those with a privileged pick and mix approach to feminism, making it very clear that the attitudes we thought of as defunct at the turn of the century, racism, sexism…probably most –isms, still exist in our modern day.
This call-out couldn’t be timely enough. We cannot challenge issues, which only directly affect us. And prevailing feminist rhetoric benefits the few and not the many.
Thus Kendall demands the mainstream to support the underrepresented too. She urges white feminists to wipe their eyes and engage with the world, as it is, leaving no woman behind.
The book deals with many hard themes that affect women and the underrepresented, leaving almost no stone unturned, from the rise of gun violence to domestic violence, sexual harassment and abuse, the tangles of patriarchy in action, media and police indifference and the criminalisation of poverty. The chapter that stuck with me the most- Hunger. Stark, raw and timely.
After each chapter, I found myself having to just sit with it. There’s a sharp but simmering power in her words.
Kendall delivers the hard truth. She’s unapologetic and I admire that. There’s an unflinching tone imbued within the pages, delivered as such with one aim, to move that needle.
And in a world full of allies, she argues, what we really need are accomplices. In the hood, an accomplice would lay their life on the line.
So, how can we start to debunk feminist narratives? The best answer might be to start with this book.