Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall is a riveting series of essays centered on the feminist movement in the United States and its failure to be inclusive to all women.

She asks the tough questions and addresses the awkward elephants in the room. Is feminism leaving out most women? I think readers will agree the answer is a resounding Yes!

Touching on topics from race to education to beauty, Kendall proves that there is a whole lot more to feminism and gender equality than the modern movement presents.

Women are diverse. Their needs are diverse. And their lives are diverse. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to feminism.

So why are so many women left out of the conversation? Why are so many women told they don’t deserve the same rights?

I think the easiest way to show potential readers the wide range of topics discussed in Hood Feminism is to just list the Table of Contents:

  • Solidarity is Still for White Women
  • Gun Violence
  • Hunger
  • Of #Fasttailedgirls and Freedom
  • It’s Raining Patriarchy
  • How to Write About Black Women
  • Pretty for a …
  • Black Girls Don’t Have Eating Disorders
  • The Fetishization of Fierce
  • The Hood Doesn’t Hate Smart People
  • Missing and Murdered
  • Fear and Feminism
  • Race, Poverty, and Politics
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Reproductive Justice, Eugenics, and Maternal Mortality
  • Parenting While Marginalized
  • Allies, Anger, and Accomplices

Are you overwhelmed yet? I was.

Kendall shows that there are so many aspects of life as a marginalized woman that she nearly runs out of room in her book! We all know that feminism and race are complex issues, but it is wholly overwhelming to see all of these components listed out so candidly. She did an amazing job choosing some of the most prevalent and difficult topics.

I personally learned a lot from listening to her point of view. There’s a lot to learn for someone wanting to be a positive part of the feminist movement if you aren’t coming from the same set of circumstances as Kendall. There are so many situations and lives out there that’d it’d be insane to assume that all women need the same feminism.

Kendall calls out the people who aren’t helping as much as they think they are, and that might be hard for some readers. Go into this book with an open mind and be willing to admit you have room to grow. It’ll make for a better world for everyone if we hear from as many voices as possible. Don’t worry if you feel shame or embarrassment when you get called out. That just means you’re willing to admit ignorance and are ready to grow. We’re all only human after all.

The essay-style format keeps things colloquial and digestible. I think it makes the reader more willing to read and listen because it’s a conversation, not a lecture. So a really good style choice from Kendall.

There was some repetition throughout that may be bothersome if you are reading the whole thing in just a few sittings. But they also act as reinforcement reminders throughout the book. It points to the most important ideas and shows their interconnectedness.

This is the kind of book that for the people who want to read it probably don’t learn much new, but the people who don’t want to read it could benefit the most from reading every word.

If you aren’t familiar with Mikki Kendall by name, you might know her by her works. She’s written for many newspapers, magazines, and blogs. She’s appeared in interviews on popular TV shows and spoken at many venues.

Kendall is a veteran of the U.S. Army and holds a Master’s degree in Writing and Publishing.

She is a mother, a writer, a feminist, an activist, and a speaker.

Make sure to listen to her interview with NPR from May 2020: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/05/850963562/what-does-hood-feminism-mean-for-a-pandemic

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