bell hooks ’ The Will To Change’

Adrian de León
10 min readJun 12, 2023

bell hooks was an American author, theorist, educator, and social critic. She is best known for her writings on race, feminism, and class. The focus of hooks’ writing was to explore the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she described as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. Her work addressed love, race, class, gender, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.

Patriarchal Expectation of Manhood

The book is driven by a desire to understand why traditional feminism and existing anti-patriarchal thinking fails to make an impact across society, and therefore, why members of society continue to fall victim to patriarchal thinking and patriarchal acts of violence. In this book, bell hooks wants to reinstate the place of men as subjects within patriarchy and not solely as perpetrators or profiteers of patriarchy. The key to anti-patriarchal success is to ensure that the will to change encapsulates all members of society. This book looks what stops this change, what allows the fear of change to overcome the will to change.

What will never change is the will to change and the fear of change. It is the will to change that motivates us to seek help. It is the fear of change that motivates us to resist the very help we seek.”

As for a lot of victims of patriarchy, the author’s journey of pain and understanding with patriarchal actions begins with her fraught relationship with her father. A complicated and hurtful relationship that meant that the death of her father would allow her “to feel freer”. Here, the author mourns the life that could have been, should have been, and maybe would have been without patriarchy. It is apparent that the author’s own fraught relationship with the patriarch of her family serves as the foundational idea that she explores in the book. She calls for a visionary feminism that will not only save the women, but also the men in our lives. She says; “to know love, men must be able to let go the will to dominate. They must be able to choose life over death. They must be willing to change.” This sentence seems to encapsulate the written words she wished she had uttered to the men that hurt her in her life.

“The love of a father is an uncommon gem, to be hunted, burnished, and hoarded. The value goes up because of its scarcity.”

The book begins by outlining the negative impact that a society, which inhibits men’s…