The woman born Gloria Watkins but better known by her pen name, bell hooks (1952–), describes herself as a writer, feminist theorist, and cultural critic. She has done as much as any recent thinker to bring the particular issues central to African American women’s experience to the forefront of feminist debates. In this selection, however, hooks’s aim is the still broader one of responding to simplistic caricatures of feminism as anti-male. She does so by defining feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” As such, hooks argues, feminism is not born of hatred for or opposition to men, per se. Instead, feminists (both women and men) oppose a system of ideas, social practices, and institutions affecting both sexes, a system that hooks describes as deeply pernicious. While the effects of sexism interact in complex ways inflected by differences in race, class, and gender, hooks nevertheless insists that some commitments—such as defending women’s reproductive rights—are definitional of the feminist movement.