This book is now a classic of the women's movements, as well as a much-needed critique when it was published. You may recognize the title as the well-known line of a famous speech by Sojourner Truth. She spoke after a man who had claimed that women were naturally inferior because they were so weak that they couldn't do any work. Sojourner, however, as an ex-slave, was able to disprove his argument by the work she'd been forced to endure. And so the book has this theme. It shows black women have been ignored by the public and the women's movement while enduring the double disadvantage of being black and female.
Documenting the oppression and negative stereotyping of black women, she extends it to a critique of the women's movement. In the early movement, many feminists worked to abolish slavery. But, she points out, they were opposed to slavery, not to inequality between the races. Thanks to her insight, many involved in the current movement are aware of past bias and of the need to consider the various issues of different groups of women. It's an interesting book, illustrating a different side of the history we've learned in school. Luckily, we have people like bell hooks to tell us the real story. It's important that we hear it. .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.