The main purpose of this chapter is a call to rebuild political solidarity within the feminist movement (which I’ve noticed hooks only ever calls “feminist movement” without an article such as “the” or “a” – I wonder what that is about). She describes how the early movement placed an emphasis on creating a “foundation of solidarity between women” that was built upon questioning and unlearning their internalized sexism (which we spoke about in the last chapter).
we had been socialized by patriarchal thinking to see ourselves as inferior to men, to see ourselves as always and only in competition with one another for patriarchal approval, to look upon each other with jealousy, fear, and hatred.
It was feminist thinking that for hooks allowed women to unlearn this self-hatred, and made possible female solidarity. As hooks describes it, in order to fight for reproductive freedoms, to combat rape and sexual harassment, this solidarity was critical. Lobbying as a group was required, and “challenging and changing female sexist thinking” was the first step to making this collective action possible.
hooks describes how this solidarity was weakened through the ’80s as women began to turn their backs on one another. From the first chapter of this book, hooks has continued to point out how privileged, mostly white, women who gained power thanks to changes brought about by feminism often turned their backs on women with less privilege who were still left behind due to their lack of power. hooks appears to feel that she and other “radical groups of women” were betrayed by women “who opportunistically lay claim to feminism.” That these women took up the feminist banner but did not make the commitment to rooting out internalized sexism, and as a result the movement was weakened, the idea of sisterhood abandoned.
Political solidarity between women which had been the force putting in place positive change has been and is now consistently undermined and threatened
hooks calls to renew the message that “sisterhood is powerful” and suggests that radical groups of women are ready to do this.
Previous: 2 – Consciousness Raising
Series Guide: Feminism Is For Everybody