Diversity & Media

bell hooks’ “Living by a Love Ethic”

In hooks’ “Living by a Love Ethic”, hooks discusses the very positive notion of living by a love ethic and practicing qualities that would make not only your own life more fulfilling, but positively affect the lives of others. The chapter also delves into some ways in which love is represented in media in a way that does not match up with the love ethic hooks discusses.


Reading this, the ideas of the love ethic sound wonderful and I think that it is easy to think “this is great and why wouldn’t you live life this way”, but then you need to step back and think about the challenges of this idea hooks is proposing. I agree with hooks that there needs to be more realistic narratives and images of love depicted in media and while I am not a huge fan of heavily violent films, I do think that those hold an importance as well. While promoting love in films would certainly leave people thinking positively, it is also important that we do not abandon an awareness of the fact that hate does exist in our world because if that is masked within the media then we won’t be able to acknowledge it and put an end to it as easily (not that it’s an easy task to begin with). I think the ideas of love that hooks discusses that promote loyalty, for example the person she mentions that lives near their family even though they have money to live elsewhere, is wonderful. This is truly an important type of love to consider, but I believe love is such a broad term that we can’t define it in one specific way.


The definitions and characteristics offered by hooks certainly represent love, but we also can’t dismiss other forms of love as being “not real” within media, even if it is not necessarily what we personally consider “real love” to be. Love likely means something slightly (or in some cases extremely) different to every individual, so for everyone to abandon their own personal thoughts on love for the proposed love ethic would be incredibly tricky.

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