It’s important to go back to the basics every now and then and remind yourself about what’s important. So for the month of April, NerdLab YYC chose to read Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks.

In her book, bell hooks covers a range of feminist topics including race and gender, global feminism, feminist parenting, feminist masculinity, and more. She offers her views on how feminism as a movement has changed over time, and what’s lacking in today’s feminism.

In our book club meeting, we discussed the important points bell hooks brought up about feminism and how it should be for everyone. We also examined how white feminism has affected the diversity in tech movement.

“Feminism is for Everybody” Book Club Discussion Questions

Source: “Feminism is for Everybody: Further Discussion” from A Year of Feminist Classics

  1. Do you think this book would convince someone who didn’t identify as a feminist why it is important to do so / that they might want to do so?

  2. hooks defines feminism simply as “A movement to end sexist oppression.” What do you think of that definition? Does it work? Why or why not?

Source: “Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks” (edited for NerdLabYYC)

  1. Do women in tech have spaces for “female bonding”? Does it seem transgressive, or is it, practically speaking?

  2. “Imagine a mass-based feminist movement where folks go to [tech events, businesses, clubs, etc.] passing out literature, taking the time (as do religious people) to explain to people what feminism and tech is all about.” What would happen? Would you be prepared to knock on tech doors for feminism?

  3. “Feminist politics is losing momentum because feminist movement has lost clear definitions.” What words do you think should be part of new feminist language? How would you define [them for the STEAM fields]?

  4. hooks is very invested in material culture. Fourteen years after this book was published, should strategies for disseminating feminist politics be still so physical? Does the internet help or hinder the cultivation of feminist language?

  5. Hooks talks about the role of consciousness-raising in feminist politics. Could it inform other politics – do you need to have class/race/gender/identity-based consciousness-raising in addition?
    • What role does consciousness-raising have in the tech community?
    • How do people [in tech] hold each other accountable?
  6. Hooks identifies the shift from more organic and private consciousness-raising groups to institutionalized academic settings as being responsible for the loss of momentum in thinking and strategizing social change. Do you think hooks is right? Is that shift responsible for the loss of momentum?

  7. How do you engage people in consciousness-raising groups who see their fundamental cultural position as under threat by feminism?

Source: “Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics Topics for Discussion” from BookRags

  1. How has the advancement of some feminist leaders to high-earning positions been a detriment to the overarching goals of feminism?

Intersectionality and Tech Questions

  1. bell hooks often talks about intersectionality and the lack of it in mainstream feminism. How has this issue shown up in diversity in tech initiatives?

  2. How can white women in tech and STEAM fields use their privilege to uplift the voices of members from other marginalized communities?

  3. What is the role of men in feminism or women in tech initiatives?

Feminism is for Everybody

Feminism for Everybody is an important primer to intersectional feminism, and we’d recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more. While you’re at it, check out Ashe Dryden’s “The 101 Level Reader: Books to Help You Better Understand Your Biases and the Lived Experiences of People” for more great 101-level reading material.

Next NerdLab YYC Event

Next month, we’re hosting our first ever Feminist Salon. Join us to discuss feminism, intersectionality, and our individual practices and learning experiences.

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