These bell hooks quotes from the author of All About Love will inspire you to love more.
bell hooks is the pen name for author, activist, and professor, Gloria Gean Watkins. Most of hooks’ work has focused on feminism and gender, intersectionality of race, capitalism, and classism in society.
She has written and published more than 30 books discussing those subjects, given public lectures, appeared in numerous documentaries, and taught at a number of colleges, including the University of Southern California and Yale.
Her book, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminisim is considered a major contribution to the feminist movement.
We hope you are inspired by these bell hooks quotes.
Don’t forget to also check out these love quotes to best express deep feelings.
bell hooks quotes on love
1. “Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust.” — bell hooks
2. “Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment…’dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love — which is to transform us.’ Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.” — bell hooks
3. “Women are often belittled for trying to resurrect these men and bring them back to life and to love. They are in a world that would be even more alienated and violent if caring women did not do the work of teaching men who have lost touch with themselves how to love again. This labor of love is futile only when the men in question refuse to awaken, refuse growth. At this point, it is a gesture of self-love for women to break their commitment and move on.” — bell hooks
4. “All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way.” — bell hooks
5. “Imagine how much easier it would be for us to learn how to love if we began with a shared definition.” — bell hooks
6. “The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.” — bell hooks
7. “A generous heart is always open, always ready to receive our going and coming. In the midst of such love, we need never fear abandonment. This is the most precious gift true love offers – the experience of knowing we always belong.” — bell hooks
8. “Young people are cynical about love. Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart.” — bell hooks
9. “The light of love is always in us, no matter how cold the flame. It is always present, waiting for the spark to ignite, waiting for the heart to awaken and call us back to the first memory of being the life force inside a dark place waiting to be born – waiting to see the light.” — bell hooks
10. “If only one party in the relationship is working to create love, to create the space of emotional connection, the dominator model remains in place and the relationship just becomes a site for continuous power struggle.” — bell hooks
11. “How different things might be if, rather than saying, “I think I’m in love,” we were saying “I’ve connected with someone in a way that makes me think I’m on the way to knowing love.” Or if instead of saying “I am in love” we say “I am loving” or “I will love.” Our patterns around romantic love are unlikely to change if we do not change our language.” — bell hooks
12. “The practice of love is the most powerful antidote to the politics of domination.” — bell hooks
bell hooks quotes on feminism
13. “Radical militant feminist believes that women of color and Black women, in particular, have written the cutting edge theory and really were the individuals who exploded feminist theory into the directions that has made it more powerful. So I see us as the leaders not just of Black people and Black women in terms of feminism but in terms of the movement as a whole.” — bell hooks
14. “Feminism as a theoretical enterprise is approached differently by Black women depending on where we are. There are more reformist Black women who tend to use the phrase “Black feminism”.” — bell hooks
15. “Power feminism is just another scam in which women get to play patriarchs and pretend that the power we seek and gain liberates us.” — bell hooks
16. “Individual heterosexual women came to the movement from relationships where men were cruel, unkind, violent, unfaithful. Many of these men were radical thinkers who participated in movements for social justice, speaking out on behalf of the workers, the poor, speaking out on behalf of racial justice. However, when it came to the issue of the gender they were as sexist as their conservative cohorts.” — bell hooks
17. “The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.” — bell hooks
18. “I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society — because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not.” — bell hooks
19. “Feminism is for everybody.” — bell hooks
20. “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” — bell hooks
21. “Feminist effort to end patriarchal domination should be of primary concern precisely because it insists on the eradication of exploitation and oppression in the family context and in all other intimate relationships. It is that political movement which most radically addresses the person – the personal – citing the need for the transformation of self, of relationships, so that we might be better able to act in a revolutionary manner, challenging and resisting domination, transforming the world outside the self.” — bell hooks
bell hooks quotes on discrimination
22. “We live in a world with serious class complexes. It is one thing to be a college student with loan debts and another thing to be just dirt poor for your entire life. The challenge is to come up with more complex understandings of where we are, more global awareness of what connects Americans with what is happening with suffering and oppressed people all around the world.” — bell hooks
23. “As long as women are using class or race power to dominate other women, feminist sisterhood cannot be fully realized.” — bell hooks
24. “Hip-Hop is diverse. But the white, capitalist producers and distributors of Hip-Hop are most interested in the Hip-Hip that is misogynist, that is Black-hating, that is pugilistic, that is to say all about fighting and war and killing and gangsterism.” — bell hooks
25. “If Black women stand strong and our commitment is to ending domination I know that I’m supporting Black males, Black children male and female Black elderly because the bottom line is the struggle to end domination in all its forms.” — bell hooks
26. “Whether we’re talking about race or gender or class, popular culture is where the pedagogy is, it’s where the learning is.” — bell hooks
27.“No other group in America has so had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women… When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men, and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women.” — bell hooks
28. “It’s really important to have life strategies and part of that is sort of knowing where you want to go so you can have a map that helps you to get there. And the traditional way tells us oh we get into school and someone else advises us, helps us, but that often does not work for African Americans female and male. Because what works for the dominant culture often does not work for us.” — bell hooks
29. “Sexism has never rendered women powerless. It has either suppressed their strength or exploited it.” — bell hooks
30. “Often in my lectures when I use the phrase “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” to describe our nation’s political system, audiences laugh. No one has ever explained why accurately naming this system is funny. The laughter is itself a weapon of patriarchal terrorism.” — bell hooks
bell hooks quotes on education
31. “My hope emerges from those places of struggle where I witness individuals positively transforming their lives and the world around them. Educating is a vocation rooted in hopefulness. As teachers, we believe that learning is possible, that nothing can keep an open mind from seeking after knowledge and finding a way to know.” — bell hooks
32. “It’s in the act of having to do things that you don’t want to that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego.” — bell hooks
33. “One of the most subversive institutions in the United States is the public library.” — bell hooks
34. “Sadly, children’s passion for thinking often ends when they encounter a world that seeks to educate them for conformity and obedience only.” — bell hooks
35. “Many spiritual teachers – in Buddhism, in Islam – have talked about first-hand experience of the world as an important part of the path to wisdom, to enlightenment.” — bell hooks
bell hooks quotes on self-love
36. “The most basic activism we can have in our lives is to live consciously in a nation living in fantasies. Living consciously is living with a core of healthy self-esteem. You will face reality, you will not delude yourself.” — bell hooks
37. “Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” — bell hooks
38. “If I were really asked to define myself, I wouldn’t start with race; I wouldn’t start with blackness; I wouldn’t start with gender; I wouldn’t start with feminism. I would start with stripping down to what fundamentally informs my life, which is that I’m a seeker on the path. I think of feminism, and I think of anti-racist struggles as part of it. But where I stand spiritually is, steadfastly, on a path about love.” — bell hooks
39. “The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood on that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others.” — bell hooks
40. “If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.” — bell hooks
41. “I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.” — bell hooks
42. “In an ideal world, we would all learn in childhood to love ourselves. We would grow, being secure in our worth and value, spreading love wherever we went, letting our light shine. If we did not learn self-love in our youth, there is still hope.” — bell hooks
More inspiring bell hooks quotes
43. “For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?” — bell hooks
44. “What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.” — bell hooks
45. “Any woman who wishes to be an intellectual, to write non-fiction, to deal with theory, faces a lot of discrimination coming her way and perhaps even self-doubt because there aren’t that many who’ve gone before you. And I think that the most powerful tool we can have is to be clear about our intent. To know what it is we want to do rather than going into institutions thinking that the institution is going to frame for us.” — bell hooks
46. “I think stress is anything going on in our lives that impinges on our capacity to have optimum well being.” — bell hooks
47. “My focus has always been on the work – that work being critical thinking and writing. I am always doing that. That’s where I am, wherever I am. Critical thinking and writing as my heartbeat.” — bell hooks
48. “Reviewing the literature on love I noticed how few writers, male or female, talk about the impact of patriarchy, the way in which male domination of women and children stands in the ways of love.” — bell hooks
49. “For most people, what is so painful about reading is that you read something and you don’t have anybody to share it with. In part what the book club opens up is that people can read a book and then have someone else to talk about it with. Then they see that a book can lead to the pleasure of conversation, that the solitary act of reading can actually be a part of the path to communion and community.” — bell hooks
50. “Hope is essential to any political struggle for radical change when the overall social climate promotes disillusionment and despair.” — bell hooks
What did you learn from these bell hooks quotes?
It is unusual for an author to lowercase their name in publications, which makes hooks stand out. hooks’ pen name is inspired by her grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. She wanted to use her grandma’s name in her writings because she “was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [hooks’] greatly admired”. She decided to lowercase her pen name to differentiate herself from her grandma.
The pen name has proven to be well-fitting since hooks’ work, bold and blunt, has paved the way for positive progress in the world. hooks has been labeled as a trailblazer for intersectional feminism and a prominent enforcer of self-love.
Did you enjoy these bell hooks quotes and sayings? Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.