Book Review: Brittany Cooper’s Eloquent Rage

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Photo courtesy of thestranger.com

By Jess Ward, Staff Writer

Feminism is a word too often condemned as a movement of angry, vengeful women. Shockingly one has to turn toward organizations like “The Mother’s Movement” of the 1950’s, or the modern day “Women Against Feminism,” to see that many of these critiques come from women. These movements cite the belief that there is nothing left for women to be angry about: we can vote, work and drive. However,  Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage argues that this fails to explore feminism that serves social justice beyond just advocating for the rights of women; she writes that “feminism can give us a common language for thinking about how sexism, and racism, and classism work together,” (5). Eloquent Rage explores the complicated relationship between feminism as a woman and feminism through a multiplicity of perspectives. This is called intersectional feminism, or fourth wave feminism, which centers around advocating for all marginalized groups and fighting oppression on every level, according to The Guardian.  

In Cooper’s book, she focuses primarily on the ways Black feminism (an intersection of feminism and race focused on Black women and their experiences) has saved her and given her a platform to express her rage and experience. She writes that her “feminism begins not with Susan B. Anthony […] but with Maria Stewart, a Black lady abolitionist,” (34). Eloquent Rage is an ode to the power and ferocity possessed by women of color and the ways they have built and saved the world around us. Cooper shares stories of her family, conversations about feminism with partners and the necessity of loving our fellow women. She shows us the magic of caring for ourselves and holding up the women in our lives, while unapologetically advocating for herself and her right to rage. Eloquent Rage is a must-read for anyone looking to school themselves on feminism and question their role in conventional power structures.

If you have any books you want to see reviewed, suggestions can be sent to [email protected] For those who want to read along, I will be reviewing Naomi Alderman’s The Power next week.

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