Video lecture on bell hooks’ Educating Women_ a Feminist Agenda
Hey everybody. So in this video, I’m going to go ahead and talk about Bell, hooks have educating women, a feminist agenda, and go into unpacking that and just discussing a little bit of the essential aspects of this essay. So just a few things I want to contextualize about this piece because this piece is responding to a kind of environment where feminism was sort of when the essay was published.
Asked and the particular concerns that Bell hooks have about feminism, and we’re familiar with where she would like to see it go in the future, she feels like that. So there’s some they’re sort of at a crucial Crossroads, maybe we’re, but there are some significant problems they’re having, and they need to try to address these. And so I think that this essay is talking about, and it’s an interesting essay because it also ties in. I think in many ways, what we saw going on in the Wollstonecraft essay in some exciting ways but in a very different space, right? So we’re talking in a very different space from a writer who writes with a different plan. But there are some exciting ways they talk to each other because women write both essays. So who has a feminist agenda essentially?
And they are trying to kind of direct things in a particular way they feel would be most helpful to women in the time they’re living and very different periods. Mary Wollstonecraft spread in the late 1700s and early 1800s. And I think when variables are uptight, she died in the late 1700s. Yes, she didn’t even live to see the 1800s, but that’s one time. And then, Bell hooks was writing in the 1980s. So this is a much more recent essay in a much different environment. And we in between those two spaces, there’s been a lot of change, a lot of change involving the situation. Women find themselves in society.
But also, There’s been multiple waves of women’s movements. So we get this different feminist movement, taking place between the time of Mary Wollstonecraft and the time that Bell hooks is writing in the 1980s. This particular essay was also, I believe, slightly revised and reissued around the early 2000s, but it sort of, I think, speaks to that time. So although Bell hooks are talking about it, many of its lessons are probably still applicable.
All today and can talk to challenges that feminism still faces in many ways, right? So we’ll talk about that, but they are both interested in women’s education. So we see Wollstonecraft and Bell hooks talking about the necessity and importance of education. Education is sort of like one of the Critical elements of a person liberating themselves from social and political oppression, right? And that, that, that becomes part of educating yourself about the environment that you live in. The social, political, cultural, and financial environment you live in and understand, right? And understanding. See where you fit into that, and then once you have understood that, then use that knowledge, that education to liberate yourself and try to escape from those hierarchies and things that keep you in a particular place, right? One of the goals of feminism is to help women get out of the social And political hierarchies that they have been sort of are preventing them from living lives that are as accessible and fulfilling as they might be right that these hierarchies are restricting women’s freedoms. Right? And that’s what we’re talking about here. That is, by the way, they should be our It is the ending of feminism and feminism’s goals. Feminism is a movement that seeks to allow women greater access to rights and freedoms that seek social and political equality, proper with men, right? Because we live in a system, That has existed for an extremely long period; it is called pH patriarchy. And it is a system that privileges men over women and that, that’s that the process of understanding that, that, that hierarchy and how that hierarchy works, and how it works to particularly, in the case of women, to limit and control them And to restrict their lives in various ways, that process of sort of understanding that and then figuring out how to dismantle those systems that prevent them from being able to attain equality, right? Like how do we do this? How do we unpack? All of these systems are preventing us from being able to attain equality, right? And there isn’t an agreement with NASA. Lie about the Way to do this or what areas we need to focus on, but one of the essential elements is education. Educating women about the systems and hierarchies and societies and things in those systems keep them where they are right and prevents them from attaining that equality, right? And to sort of understanding, suitable? That. And this is what’s interesting is that Bell hooks are Talking about women mainly in this; in this particular piece, she does mention, just as a side note, that men who often get exposed to this material too often. Also, I see their perspectives changed, right? You know about, you know, sexual and political hierarchies that they to rights. Come to a different understanding about their son. Place in all of this, suitable? And that can be, you know, really good for men because we all live under patriarchy and in a way suffer from it, you know, and suffer. It’s, you know, and how do we make the system? We live in a fairer, more equal system, and I would also return to Wollstonecraft. So, the point that I mentioned to you guys, The other video, right?
That man would be happier, probably in a system where women were more equal and happier, right? And that men would benefit from this liberation of women. Many men, of course, feel very invested in patriarchy and are deeply threatened by the idea of women and women being liberated from that kind of traditional system, right?
And I think, That you know and you see that happening, and feminism has had a continual struggle, sort of back-and-forth. We usually get sort of feminism coming into some kind of it, making some progress. But, you know that that happens, and there’s often a backlash and a sort of regression that happens, and you see this sort of back and forth, but we steep we keep trying.
Is it going to push things forward, right? That that’s the idea that feminism is doing is that they’re trying to continue to move things forward and get us to a better place where women can be, you know, equal, but this is a long-term process. This is not something that will be attained overnight, so this is something that needs to be worked at continually. That is the
The ISM overall plan seems to be what is going on. And let’s keep in mind that it isn’t right when I talk about feminism as some monolithic institution; it isn’t right. And that’s very much reflected in this essay because it’s just different groups of women trying to work on these problems. And often not just not agreeing with each other or seeing things from very different perspectives. So there isn’t a singular feminine.
Some right. There’s a sort of feminism, I suppose you might say, and reflect the different perspectives these women have, right? And I think our understanding of this kind of thing has become more complex as years have gone on. So, like, even when Bell hooks are writing this, we now live in an era where a lot of feminists have absorbed things like Bell hooks’ essay, and they have a different understanding about what it is they’re doing and what they should be trying to do. Because, well, folks at Bell, her writing became tremendously influential. She became sort of one of the most critical voices. I think not only just in feminist studies but in just Academia and general. I think in the last, you know, 30, 40 years,
Okay, so let’s talk about Bell. She hooks a little bit here and talks about what her specific concerns are. Okay.
So, the essay called educating women, a feminist agenda, was part of the book she wrote. And one of the things. So let’s talk a little about the environment she’s responding to, particularly when this comes out. This is key to understanding this key. I think one of the key elements here is that in the middle 80s, feminism had there had been the kind of women’s
Movement of the 60s and 70s. And there had been various other women’s movements before that. We had the suffragists and various other women’s movements earlier in the century. Still, the specifics of the 1980s situation came out of the women’s movement of the 60s and 70s, and that movement shaped many women. Many of them have moved into Academia and now have our experiences, attitudes, and assumptions about feminism and feminism’s goals. So inform a lot of their perspective. So we see that the discourse prevalent amongst feminists at the time seems to be primarily concerned with, Or at least it is sort of blind to the fact that it is leaving out a relatively sizable group of women, particularly women of color, right? So women of color are not, according to Bell Hooks and her observations of what’s going on; they feel left out of feminism’s particular discourse and concerns and that of women of color.
Particular feel alienated by essentially white feminists and their control of that discourse. That is this very academic kind of discourse. And so you have this kind of bifurcation happening here, which is something that Bell hooks notes, right? That you have a kind of distrust of that discourse by feminists. Were women of color who look at the kind of academic discourse that’s happening surrounding feminism? That’s essential, as I said, controlled by white academic feminists, and they look at that and feel like that has very little to do with the practicalities of their lives, and they see this discourse happening over here. And yet they see women of color over here in their communities. People around them. People with practical, real-world problems, suitable? They’re trying to solve and struggle with the right inside of patriarchy.
And they’re trying to solve these problems, and they feel like these assumptions made by the academic feminist establishment, so to speak, aren’t addressing the needs and issues of particularly women of color. So many of those women of color, as I said, they feel alienated from that. And they have ultimately pulled away from that. And Bell hooks is concerned about this because she’s herself a woman of color, and she’s concerned that there’s a kind of reflexive response. That is like an anti-intellectual response because there becomes a kind of deep-seated sort of distrust of intellectualism.
That is because what they’re seeing is that there’s a lot of talk being made and a lot of intellectual and academic discussion that feels very alienating to them. And so they feel like these women are not helping them. So they’re saying, ” Okay, well, they’re not helping us. They don’t seem like they want to help us. So their concerns seemed to be very different from my life. So I’m just going to go over here and try and
And solve my problems and, you know, forget about them and, there’s a sort of like as I said as that goes on a kind of distrust of intellectualism and distrust of that. They’ll see that as a relatively corrosive and wrong thing. Because she says that, that, that anti-litter anti-intellectualism will ultimately hurt those. Women who even, even though they might have good reasons,
To distrust a reject, what they see going on right with the sort of the white feminist sort of center of the movement, and I guess that. That’s, that’s probably, that’s, that’s a Miss shouldn’t even say that writes, the center of the movement, those women, what I should say is that those white feminists perceived themselves as the center of the movement, right? And they set the agenda, And women of color found themselves frustrated. And so they just kind of left left left left the situation to the white academic feminists who then got to set the agenda and that that becomes part of the problem. Billhooks has now thrown down this essay to say, hey, everybody, I’m a woman of color. This is a particular community that the feminist sort of discourse is completely ignoring right or mainly ignoring, and we’re not talking about their needs in particular. We are addressing their educational needs. We make assumptions about women and women’s lives based on who many of these sort of Feminists she’s talking to.
She talks about the fact that this isn’t just. There wasn’t just a racial component here. It’s not just about white feminists versus feminists of color, but it is also a class issue, right? So that she refers to bhujbal feminists, right? Sorry, my phone is ringing. So we’ll have to kind of sit through that while that rings.
Okay, good. But the Bourgeois, but Bourgeois, I mean, unpack that word that that is a word. That is a French word, and it essentially means middle class, but what it means is specifically often we’re talking about the owners class. So these are significant people who own.
Businesses, factories, all of that kind of thing, to people who own property and real estate, and the kind of financial class basically and to some degree the Elite Class, that’s kind of who we’re talking about here. Excuse me. So that’s who she’s addressing, and many of these women come from that class. And these feminists
It’s so they’re coming from a very privileged background and making certain assumptions about the people they’re interacting with. They are making any assumptions that are damaging to the community having a community at large, right? Because they, Without Really realizing it, have alienated certain groups. One of the ways they do this is through academic discourse, right? And that’s something that Hook specifically mentions, right that academic discourse is alienating academic discourse. So this is how academic texts are written and communicated. And the Way academics even talk to each other can be very alienating. So it’s gatekeeping in a sense like, because they’re sort of like, hey, if you don’t know the lingo if you don’t know the jargon and the term My knowledge. He’s if you were in this field, you don’t get to come in here, right? So, there is a kind of gatekeeping element there. It’s also like, you know, the secret handshake. When I write a paper, if I’m an academic, I put in certain kinds of terminologies and jargon, and things like that, to demonstrate to everybody that, hey guys, I know the secret handshake. So I know these secret words to say, right, and that is part of the problem, according to Bell hooks, that, that, that, that prevents in particular.
Regarding feminism, which has a broader political agenda, the right to get the message out to people about how to, you know, understand the systems that may be hurting them. Write that while doing that, right? Feminism, blunt itself. If it sticks to this academic discourse, it will become less communicative.
To just ordinary people, suitable? People who aren’t participating in that academic world, right? So, Bell hooks, for example, talks about that when she had to give a talk, right? And she was giving a talk to a group of women and men in the black community, mainly who she realized. These people are not academics. They don’t participate in the discourse that I participate in. Bell hooks herself. Academics. She functions in that world. And she’s a black woman, but she’s like, hey, we have our own kind of Way of talking to each other. How do I talk to just people? Do you know? And so, she has to recalibrate her way of communicating. And she realizes that like, wait a minute. I have to, like, talk like an average person. You know what? I communicate to the P, these people.
No, because that’s going to help. Write to me and discuss things that I think are important, right? Rather than using all this kind of academic discourse, which will alienate everybody and not allow them to have the understanding they want to communicate to them. And so that’s interesting, and I think it was probably relatively.
In the 1980s, Academia had become significantly enamored with specific theories and ways of expression. And it had become, I would think was becoming increasingly removed kind of from everyday concerns, you had things like post-structuralism, and you know, in this kind of thing and all this postmodern, kind of discourse happening and while that Can help with exciting and valuable in some ways, it also was not something that that you know a person just off the street was going to be able to come in and be able to like yeah I went on like talk about post-structuralism or you know, this kind of theories about you know, I like you know. Anyway, those subjects were dominating at the time, and they were this theoretical kind of model and were not really accessible to the public. I read a couple of essays when I was In graduate school by people like Lacan and people like that, and it was only when we were given the essays to read that they seemed pretty opaque to me. I had some accurate trouble understanding. What if he’s even going on in them? And I realized only as we discussed the pieces when one of my instructors informed us that, no, no, these pieces were not written to be accessible. They were written for a particular group of people and used very particular terminology and discourse. That is meant to be alienating like they do not want you to come into the clubhouse. They’re putting the gate up and saying no, no, no, you don’t come in here unless you know what we’re talking about and want to understand our particular terminologies. That’s highly alienating. And so they did. So Bell hooks are the whole thing.
Here is if feminism is doing that, right? That is a problem. That is a problem. And remarkably, if feminism is doing that inside these class hierarchies, racial hierarchies, and privileging certain groups over others, suitable? Even unconsciously. Right, it’s just doing that because these academic feminists have not stopped and looked at the Practical concerns of many women, right? And it’s a group of women that Bell hooks are a member of and that she has particular concerns for, so she wants to make sure to get the message out to everybody. So how do we educate women who aren’t, you know, from that privileged world?
You know necessarily, so that becomes part of what she says, ” Hey, she said she was trying to sit; Reese reframed the plan to say, ” We should be trying. You talk to everybody. We should not be communicating in ways that are alienating. We should win. So Bell hooks herself and tries to write her essays in a way accessible to everyone. She is like she’s putting her money on the line here. Right? She’s saying, this is what I think and what I think we should do.
I’m going to do it. So when you read her piece, it’s very accessible. A lot of ways are very well written, right? But it’s not written in a highly jargony academic manner. Undoubtedly not the kind of readings I was talking about earlier with Lacan, correct? I was probably reading it because I think it is French, so we’re reading this like a translation, but even if the translation was opaque, is it suitable? But she’s saying, ” Hey, we need to be so when we write, we should be writing in a way that is more accessible, right? And that that only is going to help us, right? If we do that, it also speaks to one of her main concerns, sir, to dismantle established hierarchies.
And so one Way of reframing this whole thing and resetting the plan a little bit is to say, hey, this is something we should be doing. We shouldn’t be doing these things over here. And that, I think, was a critical moment. Where we kind of people sort of had to sit up and think about the assumptions that they had made and what they were actually doing right inside of Academia and then also trying to look at those groups of Feminists, who were women of color, who had felt alienated from that institution. Those institutions discourse because the other side of this is that she was also saying, like, look, you have to have both sides working together. You have to have the discourse and the people who have the practical. Let’s go out into the community and help these women. This kind of impulse has to be married to the overall discourse that is going on inside Academia. So if those two things work together, the movement is much stronger. Feminism would ultimately be more vital if those two things worked together rather than separately or entirely apart, right? So she’s trying to pull those things back together. You know, and I’m not sure that they were ever really fully together, but like she’s saying, the problem is That if they were ever together, they have drifted apart at this point. So I’m trying to pull them closer because we need everybody on the team to work together toward this. And this is important that that that we do that Okay.
Okay, that’s mostly everything I wanted to say. This essay has a lot of exciting stuff, and it’s a critical essay, as I mentioned. So hopefully, you guys got something out of it, and it went on to be a, I mean, Bell hooks are highly intellectual. I mean influential rather than writers in the last 30 or 40 years. She’s had a significant impact on Academia and the academic approach.
Things and I think that that process is still kind of ongoing because we’re still asking ourselves who it is that we might not be, that we might be making assumptions about students. We might be making assumptions about people that we might not even be aware we’re not addressing. Some of These issues and so that like being able to have that conversation and be able to talk about like, let’s make sure that we’re trying to help everybody. Right. And that. And, you know, what is the best way to do that, right? So I think those are the kind of the more significant kind of, kind of takeaway here in some ways.
But regarding feminism, We the specifics of how we go on to educate all women. Not just select the specific groups of women. So that’s that, that sort of, let’s reset the schedule, so we’re doing that. And that’s something that Mary Wollstonecraft would have been very much in favor of. And so it’s necessary that certain voices come along at various points and speak to the kind of power structure and say, hey, these People over here are not still there. Their needs aren’t being met, and we are leaving them behind. And we need to rethink what we’re doing so that people must come along and do things like that now. So all right, well, I think I will call it there. Hopefully, you guys found the reading exciting, and I know we’re wrapping up the class, so I will probably have One more video where I will give my sort of final sign-off, and that’ll probably go up on Wednesday or Thursday. So just as we’re finishing the class, I’ll be a sign-off video, so, okay. Take care of her buddy, and see you in the next one.