Title: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot
Author: Mikki Kendall
Thoughts: Considering I recommended this book to one of my best friends before I was even finished with it, I know this is going to be a book I bring up constantly. Kendall explores feminism and how white feminism does not just ignore the issues facing women of color, it often actively works to harm them. I listened to the audiobook version of this, but I went through GoodReads to pull the quotes below, because I think they’re so impactful. Feminism has to be intersectional—it has to work for all women. Otherwise it simply isn’t feminism.
There were so many parts of this book I absolutely loved, and as a white women who very much considers herself a feminist, it has given me a lot to think about. No matter how “good” we think our activism may be, it can always be better, more inclusive, more nuanced.
“We rarely talk about basic needs as a feminist issue. Food insecurity and access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues.”
“Respectability narratives discourage us from addressing the needs of sex workers, incarcerated women, or anyone else who has had to face hard life choices. No woman has to be respectable to be valuable.”
“The sad reality is that while white women are an oppressed group, they still wield more power than any other group of women—including the power to oppress both men and women of color.”
Title: The Mothers
Author: Brit Bennett
Thoughts: I really wanted to love this book, because I really liked Bennett’s recent book, The Vanishing Half. But The Mothers, Bennett’s debut novel, just didn’t do it for me. There’s just SO many characters and SO many plot lines and all of them are wonderful individually, but together seem a little…claustrophobic? There’s just a little too much happening and I didn’t really feel fulfilled by the ending.
“Her father propped his sadness on a pew, but she put her sad in places no one could see.” (p. 5)
“She licked cinnamon sugar off her fingers, sun-heavy and happy, the type of happiness that before might have felt ordinary, but now seemed fragile, like if she stood too quickly, it might slide off her shoulders and break.” (p. 27)
“Grief was not a line, carrying you infinitely further from loss. You never knew when you would be sling-shot backward into its grip.” (p. 57)
“Monique and Kasey’s love for Aubrey hung in their eyes, and even though it wasn’t meant for Nadia, she inched closer, holding her hands up to the warmth.” (p. 79)
“It was strange, learning the contours of another’s loneliness. You could never know it all at once; like stepping inside a dark cave, you felt along the walls, bumped into jagged edges.” (p. 94)
“The pier was nothing but a long piece of wood that kept crumbling until it was rebuilt, and years later, she wondered if that was the point, if sometimes the glory was in rebuilding the broken thing, not the result but the process of trying.” (p. 169)