Laverne Cox and Bell Hooks Talk Feminism, Race, and Patriarchy

I squealed in delight when I got an email from a friend this morning pointing me to a YouTube video of a public dialogue between one of SheRa Mag’s heroes, Laverne Cox, and feminist writer and social game-changer, Bell Hooks.

Taking place earlier this month at the Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts in New York (during Hooks’ residency there), this beautiful and frank conversation highlights issues such as race, feminism, patriarchy, how these topics are dealt with in pop culture, representations of women in the media, and most of all—in Hook’s words—“the question of how we live our lives loving justice…and what gives us the will to change our minds.”

Cox, an avid reader of Hooks, begins by thanking Hooks for her body of work (and particularly Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom) and wonders how she is even sharing the stage with this trailblazer. In return, Hooks tells Cox that she doesn’t particularly like Orange is the New Black but thinks Sophia (Cox’s character) and her relationship with her wife is extremely important as it shows a black, transgender, and LGBT couple dealing with real shit! “Part of what happens to many transgender folk is that they go deep into a commitment and a love of justice not just for trans folk but for any margianialized groups in society,” says Hooks to underline why voices of characters like Sophia and people like Cox are so important.

I urge you the next time you have an hour and a half, don’t reach for a DVD of your fave film or download the latest episode of Downton Abbey—watch this. The sagacious words from these two women are beyond inspiring. “We live in a world that constantly tells us that we are not who we say we are,” says Cox before Hooks imagines what it would be like to live in a world where we are not bound by labels. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this talk, your mind will be thoroughly fed and—hopefully—even changed.

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