Bucket's Reviews > Communion: The Female Search for Love

Communion by bell hooks
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really liked it
bookshelves: hella-sweet-book-club-read, identity, love, non-fiction, philosophy, psychology, reviewed, sex, women

bell hooks is a feminist theorist and writer and this is part of a group of books she wrote about love. This one examines love from a female perspective, delving deeply into feminist theory, where feminism both succeeded and failed, and the utter importance of learning how to love for everyone (not just women). She discusses the importance of loving yourself before you can love anyone else, and the fact that love cannot exist in patriarchal relationships. She discusses the false idea that women are naturally more loving, showing how this is part of patriarchy, and argues that everyone can (and must) learn to love, optimally beginning in childhood.

I don't know a whole lot about feminist theory, but what I learned about it here I found fascinating. hooks' treatise on love is passionate and positive, and goes a long way to build up strength and determination in readers.

For the most part, I find her discussion fair and balanced, and rooted in eliminating patriarchy and creating equality for all people. However, there were some early points, especially in the discussion of sex, that seemed off to me. She argues (rightly) that women should be able to say no to their partners, even over extended periods of time. However, a few pages later, she describes a feminist whose male partner has said no to sex with her over an extended period of time and accuses him of withholding sex. Perhaps she is right about the man in this particular case purposefully withholding, but I would argue that women are equally capable of purposefully withholding and men have just as much right to say no, even over extended periods of time.

Her discussion of love is wonderful and, I would say, flawless. She discusses attitudes like "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," their roots in patriarchy, and the unfairness of both sides of the coin: teaching women that love and nurturing are their realm and they should accept that men won't get it, and teaching men that strength and silence and dominance are their realm and showing emotion or communicating on a deeper level are emasculating.

All in all, a book worth reading that I never would have picked up on my own. Looking forward to discussing with my book club!

Themes: love, women, feminism, sex, relationships, self-acceptance, equality
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Reading Progress

March 2, 2012 – Shelved
March 28, 2012 – Shelved as: hella-sweet-book-club-read
April 3, 2012 – Started Reading
April 3, 2012 –
page 12
April 4, 2012 –
page 83
April 5, 2012 –
page 154
April 6, 2012 –
page 206
April 6, 2012 – Finished Reading
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: identity
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: love
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: non-fiction
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: philosophy
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: psychology
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: reviewed
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: sex
April 8, 2012 – Shelved as: women

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by B0nnie (new) - added it

B0nnie soo, granny was right and before her time - what's good for the goose is good for the gander

message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate Ditzler bell hooks spells her name in lower case, just fyi.

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