Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

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Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
Feminist Theory, From Margin to Center.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Authorbell hooks
CountryUnited States
SubjectFeminist theory
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center is a 1984 book about feminist theory by bell hooks. The book confirmed her importance as a leader in radical feminist thought. The "margin" in the title refers to hooks' description of black women as existing on the margins and their lives hidden from mainstream American society as well as not being part of mainstream feminist theory.[1] The book was published in French in 2017.[2]

In the Preface to the New edition of the book, hooks outlines how she wrote the book as a response to the need for theory that took into account gender, race and class. A need that came from the women's liberation movement being primarily structured around issues relevant to white women with class privilege.[3]

In the first chapter hooks critiques Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) as being a limited one dimensional perspective on women's reality even if it is a useful discussion about the impact of sexist discrimination on a select group of women, college-educated, middle- and upper-class married white women, namely housewives. hooks argues that Friedan does not include the lives, experiences or needs of women without men, women without children, women without homes, non-white women or poor women.[4]

hooks uses the term white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy as a lens through which to both critique various aspects of American culture and to offer potential solutions to the problems she explores. hooks addresses topics including the goals of feminist movement, the role of men in feminist struggle, the relevance of pacifism, solidarity among women, and the nature of revolution. hooks can be identified in her discussions of these topics as a radical feminist because of her arguments that the system itself is corrupt and that achieving equality in such a system is neither possible nor desirable. She promotes instead a complete transformation of society and all of its institutions as a result of protracted struggle, envisioning a life-affirming, peaceful tomorrow.[5]


  1. ^ Mehta, Aasha (1987). "Book Review: FEMINIST THEORY: FROM MARGIN TO CENTRE". Agenda. 1: 45–46. doi:10.1080/10130950.1987.9674676 (inactive 28 February 2022) – via Taylor and Francis.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of February 2022 (link)
  2. ^ Hooks, Bell (2017). De la marge au centre : théorie féministe. Grüsig, Noomi B., Hedjerassi, Nassira. Paris: Cambourakis. ISBN 9782366242485. OCLC 980347246.
  3. ^ Hooks, Bell (2015). Feminist theory : from margin to center. New York: Routledge. pp. xiii. ISBN 9781138821651. OCLC 882738733.
  4. ^ Hooks, Bell (2015). Feminist theory : from margin to center. New York: Routledge. pp. 1–3. ISBN 9781138821651. OCLC 882738733.
  5. ^ "FEMINIST THEORY FROM MARGIN TO CENTER". EIGE (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2019-02-13.

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