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What are the feminist books or magazines you have read? What are the feminist talks you have heard? Who are the feminist activists you know?
The questions above are paraphrased from the first page of feminist writer bell hooks's book "Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politcs".  

Hooks poses these questions to men she has met, and she observes that many of these men are under-informed or misinformed about feminism.  Her book provides a basic, clear introduction to feminist thought, "for men, young and old, and for all of us".  Let me follow her example in this diary: this brief post is for anyone who takes the time to read it, very much including men who don't consider themselves part of the feminist movement (yet).  

In Feminism Is for Everybody, hooks makes a claim that I find very compelling:

Males of all ages need settings where their resistance to sexism is affirmed and valued. Without males as allies in struggle feminist movement will not progress.

bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
A prerequisite for being a good ally and participant in the feminist movement is to be a well-informed person.  We can all stand to better inform ourselves about issues that concern us, and that certainly applies as we talk, share, laugh, rage and argue on DKos about masculinity, misogyny, gender-based violence, and feminism.

There are many different ways to learn and discover, and I myself have learned about feminism over the years from the work of activists, friends, speakers, teachers, artists, family, writers, performers, and musicians. Thanks to the efforts of these countless people, I have been able to better understand, care about, and embrace feminism, committing myself to feminist causes.  

It's been a very busy week for me and I have not had the time to read and digest as much as I would have liked that has been written here, but I have read some amazing, courageous, challenging, inspiring diaries and comments at DKos. Those efforts are truly appreciated, and I really am grateful to all the wonderful people who've shared their ideas, feelings, and stories. Thank you.

The feminism I've grown to know and embrace, my feminist self, co-exists with the other commitments and beliefs I have.  It informs my leftism, my anti-racism, my LGBT activism, my anti-imperial and anti-war dreams.  Feminism shapes my masculinity, speaks to my frailties, my anger, my sadness.  It brings me joy, makes me lighter, pushes me to be compassionate, calls out my incuriosity and my carelessness, liberates me.  Feminism to me is about decency, struggle, compassion, personal growth, friendship, equality, love, social justice.  

Here's my request: if you have a favorite or recommendable feminist book - non-fiction or fiction or poetry - please share it with us in the comments, with a few words - or many words - about what you like about it.  

For me, in addition to Feminism is for Everbody, one book I love is Cynthia Enloe's "The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire." When Enloe says this, it makes me think, intrigues me, makes me want to know more:
"Military spouses," "child soldiers", "factory managers", "sweatshop workers", '"humanitarian aid workers," "rape survivors," "peace activists," "warlords," "occupation authorities." Each of these conventional ungendered terms serves to hide the political workings of masculinity and femininity. Each dampens our curiosity about where women are and where men are, about who put women there and men here, about who benefits from women being there and not someplace else, about what women themselves think about being there and what they do with those thoughts when they try to relate to men and other women.
Here are videos of two great musicians (Ellis and Fatoumata Diawara) to play while you write something about your favorite books!

There are many ways to be careless
Stories that we tell
And even when they are lies we hold them
Like they're fragile
So afraid to break the spell

I want to break the spell


Originally posted to Calvino Partigiani on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 11:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, and Community Spotlight.


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