Culture / People

What we’ve learned from bell hooks

bell hooks quotes

A legacy like no other. In the wake of her passing aged 69, it's impossible to overstate the profound contribution bell hooks has gifted to this world. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, the Black author, poet and feminist academic wrote under the pseudonym of bell hooks — a loving tribute to her grandmother — and famously refrained from capitalising the name in the hope of directing attention to her work, rather than herself as a person.

Her writing and research reframed feminism from the "trickle down" framework touted by white academics, blending race, class and wom*ns liberation into what would become our first understanding of intersectionality. Most importantly, bell hooks made feminism accessible to those outside the sandstone walls of academia, and ultimately emphasised the importance of action over words.

Of course, we cannot mention bell hooks without touching on the power her writing held for Black wom*n the world over. At a time when so much of feminist theory excluded Black wom*n, bell hooks lit a candle and forged a path forward towards radical self love and healing when the world outside made it feel virtually impossible. As a result, her work continues to resonate today, nourishing the hearts and minds of readers around the globe with a vision of feminism grounded above all, in love.

As we celebrate the life and legacy bell hooks leaves behind, we're drawing on her rich written works and bringing you our favourite quotes from the luminary.

Find our favourite quotes from bell hooks, below.


"All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity."


“No black woman writer in this culture can write "too much". Indeed, no woman writer can write "too much"...No woman has ever written enough.”


“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this “In order to love you, I must make you something else”. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.”


“Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognise your power — not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.”


“There will be no mass-based feminist movement as long as feminist ideas are understood only by a well-educated few.”


“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.”


"It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term ‘feminism’, to focus on the fact that to be ‘feminist’ in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression."


“Love is an action, never simply a feeling.”


"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?"


“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance.”


"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."


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