Phenomenal Bell Hooks Quotes That Are Emancipating to Read

An all-in-one feminist activist, cultural critic and writer, Gloria Watkins has published three dozen books under the pen name “bell hooks.” She prefers to spell it in lowercase, shifting the focus to her words rather than her name.

In the person of bell hooks, you’ll find passion like no other. A passion that draws from love—love for herself, her people, color, culture, and for everyone who is worthy of it. Awakening your inner rebel, these bell hooks quotes will leave you with a bit of her ferocity and a lot of self-love.

Best of the Best bell hooks Quotes

Empowering bell hooks Quotes

#1. “When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.” ― bell hooks

#2. “I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.” ― bell hooks

#3. “The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin.” ― bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love

bell hooks Quotes on Love and Relationships

#4. “To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.” ― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

#5. “Living simply makes loving simple.” ― bell hooks

#6. “Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment. ‘dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love, which is to transform us.’ Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.” ― bell hooks

#7. “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.” ― bell hooks

#8. “All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly, we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way.” ― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

#9. “Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.” ― bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love

#10. “The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.” ― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

#11. “Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue.” ― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

#12. “I believe that it is impossible for two individuals not committed to their own and each other’s well-being to sustain a healthy and enduring relationship.” ― bell hooks, Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life

#13. “When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment.” ― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

bell hooks Quotes on Feminism and Bigotry

#14. “There will be no mass-based feminist movement as long as feminist ideas are understood only by a well-educated few.” ― bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

#15. “Patriarchy has no gender.” ― bell hooks, Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

#16. “If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.” ― bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics

#17. “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.” ― bell hooks, remembered rapture: the writer at work

#18. “Being oppressed means the absence of choices.” ― bell hooks

#19. “The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.” ― bell hooks, Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism

#20. “All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity.” ― bell hooks, Killing Rage: Ending Racism

#21. “We have to constantly critique imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.” ― bell hooks, Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism

#22. “I always tell my students that Malcolm X came both to his spirituality and to his consciousness as a thinker when he had solitude to read. Unfortunately, tragically, like so many young black males, that solitude only came in prison.” ― bell hooks

bell hooks Quotes on Society and Change

#23. “I am passionate about everything in my life-first and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that’s a dangerous person to be in this society, not just because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.” ― bell hooks

#24. “To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.” ― bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope

#25. “There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.” ― bell hooks, Killing Rage: Ending Racism

#26. “To think of certain ways of writing as activism is crucial. What does it matter if we write eloquently about decolonization if it’s just white privileged kids’ reading our eloquent theory about it? Masses of black people suffer from internalized racism; our intellectual work will never impact on their lives if we do not move it out of the academy. That’s why I think mass media is so important.” — bell hooks, in an interview with Bomb Magazine

Other bell hooks Quotes

#27. “The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is-it’s to imagine what is possible.” ― bell hooks

#28. “One of the most subversive institutions in the United States is the public library.” ― bell hooks, Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem


Many writers have confessed to having drawn inspiration from not only the works and persona of bell hooks. She has a unique way of captivating her audience while telling them what they need to hear. These bell hooks quotes will break you down, give you some tough love and build you back up, only to leave you with a newfound sense of self-awareness.

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