Hooked on Bell Hooks

Read about three of renowned feminist and writer Bell Hook’s acclaimed novels.

What does it mean to love? Bell Hooks, renowned feminist and writer, spent many years of her career answering this exact question. After only reading two of her books (and recently starting a third), I would consider my mind transformed. If I could add a few of Hooks’ books to LM’s required reading list, I would add the following three.

All About Love. Hooks released a trilogy on love back in 1999, a time where complaining that you felt unloved was borderline taboo. She defines love as this combination of knowledge, trust, respect, affection, commitment and care—she makes it very clear that mistreatment and love are mutually exclusive. I read All About Love at a hard time in my life. I was struggling to accept who I was as a person and failed to make meaningful connections due to this self loathing. Hooks acknowledged my internal anger, and reminded me of the beauty of self love and community. This book helped me see forgiveness in a new light. I’m sure many of us grow up with grudges in our hearts against even the people dearest to us, but we’re taught to cling onto it as a means to “one day get revenge.” Letting go can actually be liberating; I learned that it is not associated with weakness at all. Love will always be stronger than pride. I also learned the most important thing: love is not just a feeling, it’s an action. It is something that you choose to do.

Communion: The Female Search for Love. This is the third book in Hooks’ series about love, and I’m sure I’ll hold the messages from this book in my soul for a long time. Our current civilization stresses the individual in ways that are unhealthy. There are sayings such as “learn not to care,” “move in silence,” and “never be dependent on others,” that are actually extremely detrimental to not only our self progress, but on society as a whole. Community is what keeps us going. It connects us in knowledgable and intimate ways. I’ve always been an introvert, someone that needs hours of alone time each day, but it would be wrong for me to say that I don’t need a strong community in order to survive. Love in friendship is one of the least talked about forms of love, but ultimately one of the most important.

The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. Do you wish that the men in your life were more loving? Do people excuse it and say, “that’s just how men are?” Hooks states in her writing that no gender is biologically more nurturing than the other, it’s all learned behavior. We fail to realize that patriarchy is a system that affects men as well as women. And the word patriarchy itself, what does it even mean? Many people feel lost when hearing this word, failing to support women’s liberation and men’s path to become more loving due to their ignorance. Hooks realizes this as she carefully defines and sets into reality what this word means. No one is taught how to love, and men often have a hard time expressing emotions that aren’t anger because patriarchal views make it seem like it’s not okay. There are also many men that get into relationships with women, but they lack achievements in life. They end up doubting their partners love simply because they believe that love must be earned, and that they can’t be loved for themselves. But it is up to men to ultimately realize that they have the power to love and be loving. 

Graphic by Eliza Liebo ’25 /staff

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