If you're someone who claims the mantel of feminism, who believes in the innate equality of all genders, who thinks that solidarity among communities of women is a core component of the world you want to live in, I strongly encourage you to read Mikki Kendall's debut essay collection ... In prose that is clean, crisp, and cutting, Kendall reveals how feminism has both failed to take into account populations too often excluded from the banner of feminism and failed to consider the breadth of issues affecting the daily lives of millions of women ... Those already familiar with Kendall as a leader in Black feminist thought won't be surprised that Hood Feminism is grounded in intersectionality ... Throughout, Kendall thoughtfully and deliberately takes mainstream feminism to task for failing to take on the fight of Black maternal mortality, for an overdependence on carceral solutions ... If Hood Feminism is a searing indictment of mainstream feminism, it is also an invitation. For every case in which Kendall highlights problematic practices, she offers guidance for how we can all do better.
... bracing ... Kendall’s argument unfolds across 18 provocative essays ... While the topics tend to bleed into one another and converge in a set of oft-repeated opinions, the book beautifully centers on the experience of women who face an actual battle on the front lines while mainstream feminists clamor for access to the officers’ club ... It’s unfortunate that Kendall’s discussion of it isn’t more disciplined. Her arguments are at times overly generalized, and the writing can be opaque. Cliches drag an otherwise nuanced narrative down ... Despite these flaws, the book succeeds in drawing the ineluctable conclusion that poor and working-class women, particularly when of color, lead a profoundly different life in America than their wealthier and white counterparts.
... powerful and timely ... Kendall provides multiple solutions to
her framing of the problem of mainstream feminism and sparks a much-needed discussion between popular writers and the academy ... Kendall’s book is a great place to begin that conversation— moving forward best practices for the sake of all women.
There will be no reverence here, no tiptoeing around mainstream feminism’s dreams, no grateful acceptance of a black space that is in the gift of white proprietors ... Her book brings it back to the real world, where feminism is about 'food insecurity and access to quality education, safe neighbourhoods, a living wage and medical care.' Kendall uses both anecdote and analysis to make her case ... Kendall’s voice is passionate, and moves easily between the personal and the political. She is at her strongest and most refreshing when rejecting the fetishisation of black women for being strong ... Kendall is often unsparing and honest about issues that aren’t related to racism, pointing out that colourism among black communities predated contact with Europeans. In doing so she pulls off two things at the same time. She exposes the yawning chasm between what constitutes mainstream feminist activism and the urgent needs of women of colour ... And she does so without absolving her own communities, or elevating them into saintly victimhood.
Whether she’s discussing pop music, her patriarchal grandfather, or the number of women of color who go missing, Kendall combines her personal experiences with data and statistics to create a compelling narrative and call to action and change ... A frank account of who and what is still missing from mainstream feminism that will appeal to readers of women’s and African American studies, and readers seeking a better grasp on history.
The author frankly highlights how issues like race, food insecurity, gun violence, and poverty, among others, are all feminist issues, with many of them overlapping or serving to exacerbate others. Using history, pop culture, and statistics along with personal stories, Kendall demonstrates the problems with mainstream feminism’s lack of consideration of intersectionality. She purposefully shifts the focus to women who are generally treated as a footnote and holds up a mirror to feminism’s usual spokespeople by pointing out blind spots in a movement that claims to be for all women but which has shown itself to be exclusionary of most ... Kendall is a highly knowledgeable and inspiring guide, and she effectively builds on the work of black women who have, for ages, been working to better the lives of themselves and their communities. The book is an authentic look, from the perspective of a black feminist, at the ways mainstream feminism must be overhauled, from the personal to the policy level, and a demand that its practitioners do better ... A much-needed addition to feminist discourse.
... searing ... [Kendall's] forays into satire, including instructions for 'How to Write About Black Women,' are less impactful than her autobiographical reflections, but Kendall manages to draw a clear picture of what true intersectional feminism looks like. This hard-hitting guide delivers crucial insights for those looking to build a more inclusive movement.