On March 29 feminist activist and author Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name, “bell hooks,” spoke in the Ragan Theater to large audience about the true value of feminism. Hooks spent a great deal of her presentation reading from a new manuscript she has written, which explains why she believes that “feminism is for everybody.” According to hooks, feminism is a political movement to end all forms of exploitation, thus “females and males from all walks of life have had their positions improved by feminism.

She described western society as “imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist, and patriarchal” with all these attributes being forms of what she calls “dominator thinking,” or ways that people use ideology to exploit others. Hooks stated that such bold statements concerning our society are often ridiculed in an attempt to deflect attention. Despite having a fiery reputation from her earlier work, hooks explained that “Expressing annoyance and rage at those who remain in denial was counterproductive.” Instead, hooks has begun trying to understand what it is that makes people change. Her conclusion was that accountability and love are the answers. “As we do the work of love, we are working toward ending domination.”

Hooks continued her remarks with concerns about dualistic thinking, the effect of the media, and much of our society is made of overlapping systems of domination. By understanding these systems real progress can be made toward deconstructing exploitation in our society.