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All About Love

New Visions

By bell hooks
12-minute read
Audio available
All About Love by bell hooks

All About Love (2000) breaks down why love remains elusive for many of us. From our flawed understanding of what love is to our misguided expectations of romantic love, author bell hooks examines common barriers to love and explains the steps individuals need to take for society to become more loving and nurturing.

  • Introspective thinkers who want to understand love better
  • Community-minded people looking to improve their relationships
  • Anyone interested in gender roles and relationships

bell hooks is a leading intellectual, writer, feminist, and cultural critic whose work focuses on capitalism, gender, and race. At the age of 19, she began writing Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981), which has become essential reading for those interested in the topics of racism and sexism. She went on to write more than 30 books, including Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (1990), which won the American Book Award, and Salvation: Black People and Love (2001), which was nominated for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award.

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All About Love

New Visions

By bell hooks
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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All About Love by bell hooks
Synopsis

All About Love (2000) breaks down why love remains elusive for many of us. From our flawed understanding of what love is to our misguided expectations of romantic love, author bell hooks examines common barriers to love and explains the steps individuals need to take for society to become more loving and nurturing.

Key idea 1 of 7

We need to change our definition of love.

What’s a topic we’re all familiar with, one that can be found in the movies we watch, the books we read, and the songs we sing along to? If you’re guessing love, then you’re spot on. But despite being surrounded by images of, and ideas about love, a lot of us have a flawed understanding of what it is exactly. This makes finding love in our own lives a lot harder.

We tend to think of love  as strong affection for family, friends, or romantic partners. However, the problem with focusing on that feeling is that we ignore the choices and actions that are necessary for love to truly flourish. In some cases, this emphasis on the feeling even causes us to overlook or excuse actions that are clearly devoid of love. Just consider the fact that many people who are mistreated in relationships insist that they love their partners and their partners love them. 

This idea that we’re loved even when we’re being hurt isn’t only associated with romantic relationships; we actually learn it as children. Many parents discipline their children with physical punishment or shouting while still maintaining that they love them. Because of this, children become adults who believe that it’s okay for those who claim to love them to mistreat them.

If we want to truly know love, we need to understand it not just as a feeling, but also as a verb. The author suggests a definition shared by many psychologists and theorists before her: that love is the active nurturing of spiritual growth in ourselves and others. 

When we think of love in this way, we start looking for acts of love that we can perform – rather than relying only on feelings – and we create a society that’s less tolerant of abuse and neglect in any kind of relationship. 

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