Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists Forgot by Mikki Kendall
Hood Feminism was written by essayist, speaker and blogger, Mikki Kendall and published in 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing. It speaks out about the shortcomings of mainstream feminism, a movement that is centered around the social and political welfare of middle-class white women and that ultimately fails to recognize the marginalisation of all types of women, from black and brown women to sex workers. Hood Feminism was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Non-fiction in 2020 and was named on the Time “100 Must-Read Books of 2020” list.
Hood Feminism is an impassioned and straight-talking address directed towards mainstream feminism. I love the way Kendall structures each essay in terms of different social issues i.e. gun violence, housing, education etc. and then links it back to the underlying issue throughout the book. In so doing, she details exactly how various factors can affect certain groups of women more than others and she candidly questions the efforts that are being put forth by those at the center of the movement to campaign for those most vulnerable.
Kendall also discusses many of her own personal experiences, such as her upbringing and the women she viewed as role models growing up, as well as the more serious moments in her life including her experience in an abusive relationship. This gave the book a memoir-like feel but also gave weight to her argument, for example in the chapter Reproductive Justice, Eugenics and Maternal Mortality.
At times, I had issues with how some of the essays were written. I believe that many of the paragraph long sentences could have been condensed into more concise, simplistic sentences, however I think that the relevancy and rigour of her general argument more than compensates for this.
Hood Feminism definitely left a deep impression on me, particularly in the way it argues the redundancy of respectability politics, by rightly acknowledging the fact that “Respectability has not saved women of color from racism…” I think this book is the epitome of what a truly inclusive feminist movement should look like.