Introduction, Part Two.

I’m not good at introducing myself.

I’m loud, funny, damaged, and sometimes aggressive. I was a nerd in grammar school, fast-tailed in high school, and incredibly naive about politics before I joined the U.S. Army. I can’t say I was naive about much else, my childhood saw to the end of my innocence before I even grasped what that word meant. And whatever was left, well…Uncle Sam took the rest of it. I’ve blundered a lot over the years, trying to find my way from what I was to what I think I might want to be. I’m not there yet, but I have come far enough to understand that my roots are nothing to be ashamed of and to see that the hood gave me some good with the bad.

This site is a place for the other hood chicks, for the ones living in the inner city and navigating poverty, as well as the ones in the country making a dollar stretch. Some of us are middle class now, some of us are skating the poverty line. Either way, we’re on the margins and we’re loud enough, proud enough that we won’t be talked about, run over, or silenced any more. This is a place to broadcast, signal boost, and make sure that we’re experts on our own experiences. I’m Mikki Kendall, and I’d like to welcome you to Hood Feminism.

Welcome to the Hood.


I’ve been mulling over this intro for days. I’m pretty lousy at writing them. I know that they are supposed to be all cute and clever and full of hope and whimsy. Given my current state, I’m not sure if I can give you, Kind Reader, any of those things. But I can let you in on what we hope to accomplish with Hood Feminism.

As a kid, I grew up on the margins. I am the progeny of a career barmaid and a drug-addicted tradesman. I knew little of feminism until college, and–even then–it was something to be avoided. As an adult I’d get a crash course on the subject (and all of the icky politics surrounding it) on LiveJournal. I read the books and learned the jargon. I attended discussions and conferences. I did all of the things I thought one was supposed to do to be A Good Feminist. Still, I felt…left out. Disconnected. The prevailing notion of a “one size fits all” movement made little sense.

A lot of the conversations happening then are the same ones happening now. That’s not good. If anything, it points to the stagnation of a movement so enamored with itself that it cannot be bothered to look beyond its reflection. While Big Name Feminists are debating The End of Men, women on the margins–women like me–are sleeping at train stations and working double shifts for paltry wages. They are buying school supplies with rent money. They are fighting for citizenship because they aren’t the “right kind of immigrants.”

When mainstream feminists do deign to recognize these women, they always talk about them, never to them. They are problems to be solved, not actual human beings. At best, they are worthy of a 200-word blog post or a 10-minute segment on a Sunday morning show. But once the post is published, once the lights are dimmed, it’s back to business as usual, and soon we’re back to shaming women for taking their husbands’ last names.

So, it’s time to change the game.

Hood Feminism hopes to accomplish what other sites haven’t. We don’t want to talk at folks; we want them to be part of the conversation. We want to give folks the space to tell their own stories. To talk about the things that matter. To highlight remarkable people doing remarkable things. And to have a little fun.

There will be original reporting, interviews, and a number of series on topics ranging from homeschooling to police brutality. There will be podcasts and G+ Hangouts and (maybe in the not-so-near future) a live event or two. We want to create a safe space for those who need it most.

As bell hooks once wrote, “Feminism is for everybody.” We’re gonna make damned sure it is.