Hook’s definition of feminism encompasses the idea that feminism needs to change the way that we view both genders. It suggests that we need to reduce sexist thinking, but to do this we do not need to highlight the differences between the two genders. Feminism is a movement to reduce the impact that sexist thought has on women, particularly when it leads to sexual exploitation and oppression within society. It differs from the more traditional definitions based around equality because it focuses on how cultural norms for women create inequality and danger, rather than focusing on the gap between male and female lives and the need to close it in the name of equality.
Kimmel (65) suggests that many men feel threatened by feminism, in that they “feel their entitlement being snatched away from them”. This suggests that feminism needs to focus on more than equality because equality is seen as a threat by some men. It needs to focus more on a reduction of the entitlement that men feel just by being part on the system – equality cannot work if men feel as though it is reducing their rights rather than increasing those of women. Kimmel (66) also suggests that women experience “pain…both institutionally and individually from a world dominated by men”, which again backs up the ideas of Hook suggesting we need to focus on more than equality. There is institutionalized sexism that really causes the problem, and this goes beyond equality because it is so ingrained in our society. Women feel pain as a result of this sexism, and just being equal in a physical or economic sense will not do much to reduce the impact of this sexism. In all, there needs to be a move away from the traditional notion of feminism because it is not just equality that is needed, but an overall reboot of the system that causes this pain to women.
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