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Breaking Barriers: Comparative Analysis of Class in Two Books

——Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell & Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Literature has always served as a mirror to society, reflecting the myriad of perspectives and experiences that shape our complex world. Two distinctive books, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, delve into different domains but share a common goal: to shed light on the often marginalized and underrepresented voices within society. While Outliers explores the factors that contribute to individual success, Hood Feminism challenges mainstream feminist movements by advocating for the inclusion of intersecting identities and issues of social justice.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell embarks on a journey to uncover the secrets behind exceptional success stories. He investigates the underlying factors, beyond innate talent and hard work, that shape the destinies of individuals who rise to the top of their respective fields. Drawing from a vast range of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and history, Gladwell explores the idea that success is not merely the result of one’s own efforts, but a complex interplay of factors that are often beyond an individual’s control.

On the other hand, Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall explores the concept of feminism through an intersectional lens, challenging traditional feminist movements that often center the experiences and perspectives of privileged women. Kendall advocates for an inclusive feminism that addresses the myriad of issues faced by women from marginalized communities, particularly low-income women, women of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. By highlighting the importance of food insecurity, access to healthcare, and reproductive justice, Hood Feminism aims to reshape the feminist discourse to be more inclusive and responsive to the needs of all women.

While Outliers and Hood Feminism may seem to differ on the surface in terms of subject matter, both authors delve deep into the ways in which societal structures and systems shape the lives and opportunities of individuals. Gladwell examines the external forces that contribute to individual success, while Kendall scrutinizes the ways in which structural inequalities perpetuate the struggles faced by marginalized women. Through their unique lenses, both authors encourage readers to reevaluate their understanding of success and feminism, challenging us to explore circumstances beyond the mainstream narratives.

In this comparative study, we aim to navigate the similarities and differences between Outliers and Hood Feminism, delving into the methodologies employed, core arguments presented, and the impact they have had on shaping our perception of success and feminism. By critically analyzing these two groundbreaking books, we hope to deepen our understanding of the intricate complexities of societal structures and the vital importance of embracing intersectionality within our ever-evolving world.

By juxtaposing the narratives presented in Outliers and Hood Feminism, we not only gain valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of success and feminism but also broaden our horizons to consider alternative viewpoints that are often neglected or overlooked. As we embark on this comparative journey, let us embrace the opportunity to challenge our preconceived notions, expand our understanding, and strive towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

Brief Summary of Two Books

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

“Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell explores the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Gladwell challenges the traditional view of successful people as extraordinary individuals with innate talent and focuses instead on the role of opportunity, cultural background, and hard work.

Gladwell argues that outliers, people who achieve remarkable levels of success, are often the product of their environment and circumstances. The book explores the notion of the “10,000-hour rule,” suggesting that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to achieve world-class expertise in any field.

The author delves into the influence of cultural legacies and external factors on success by examining the experiences of various individuals and communities. Gladwell discusses the impact of birth dates, providing examples of professional athletes who excel due to advantages gained from being born near the cutoff dates for age-specific sports leagues.

The book also explores the influence of cultural heritage and upbringing, highlighting the unique work ethic and community values of certain populations. Gladwell examines the achievements of successful individuals from different backgrounds, emphasizing the importance of community support in enabling success.

Gladwell also delves into the concept of intelligence, challenging the conventional view of IQ as the sole predictor of success. He argues that factors like grit, determination, and practical intelligence play key roles in achieving extraordinary success.

Overall, “Outliers” challenges the traditional perception of success and highlights the complex interplay of various factors. The book offers readers a fresh perspective on success, emphasizing the role of opportunity, hard work, and cultural context in shaping extraordinary achievements.

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall is a thought-provoking and insightful book that explores and criticizes mainstream feminism for neglecting the needs and concerns of those in marginalized communities. The author argues that mainstream feminism has often focused on issues primarily affecting middle-class white women, overlooking the intersecting oppressions faced by women of color, low-income women, and those from impoverished neighborhoods.

Kendall highlights the gaps in mainstream feminist movements, discussing how important issues such as access to adequate food, affordable housing, and healthcare are often sidelined. She emphasizes the significance of addressing these concerns alongside more traditional feminist causes, as they are essential to achieving true gender equality.

Throughout the book, Kendall draws on her personal experiences and encounters to shed light on the ways in which systemic oppression affects different communities. She challenges the idea that all women experience feminism in the same way and offers a call to action for a more inclusive and intersectional approach to feminism.

Hood Feminism ultimately aims to empower readers to recognize their own biases and confront the shortcomings of mainstream feminism. It encourages individuals to actively work towards dismantling oppressive systems and ensuring that the voices and experiences of all women are heard and valued.


Comparison between Two Books

Similarities in Class & Authority

In both “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall, the authors explore the concepts of class and authority and draw parallels between them.

1. Class Disparities: Both books shed light on the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities based on social class. Gladwell examines the impact of socio-economic status on individual success in “Outliers,” emphasizing how certain advantages or disadvantages, such as access to education or financial stability, can significantly influence one’s ability to achieve greatness. Kendall, in “Hood Feminism,” discusses how poverty and class disparities affect marginalized communities, particularly women of color. Both authors address the structural aspects of class and its implications on individuals’ lives.

2. The Role of Authority: Both books also address the influence of authority figures on individuals’ lives and opportunities. Gladwell explores the notion of cultural and institutional authority, arguing that certain cultural legacies and historically accumulated advantages can grant certain groups or individuals access to authority, consequently shaping their trajectories. Kendall examines how pervasive authority figures, such as policymakers and institutions, often fail to address the needs and experiences of marginalized communities. She highlights the importance of challenging and redefining traditional authority structures to create more equitable systems.

3. Critique of Inherited Systems: Both authors scrutinize the systems and structures that perpetuate class disparities and unequal authority. Gladwell questions the prevailing belief in meritocracy, arguing that many factors beyond individual effort and talent contribute to success. Meanwhile, Kendall critiques traditionally patriarchal and white-dominated systems that marginalize certain communities based on race or gender. Both authors highlight the need for systemic change and the dismantlement of inherited structures to create a more equal society.

4. Intersectionality: Both books recognize the intersectionality of class with other social categories, such as race and gender. Gladwell acknowledges how socio-economic status intersects with factors like ethnicity and culture, shaping individuals’ life experiences and opportunities. Kendall emphasizes the intersecting oppressions faced by women of color, emphasizing that class disparities cannot be addressed without considering the intersectional impact of race, gender, and other identities.

In summary, both “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall discuss class and authority, highlighting the impact of socio-economic disparities and critiquing inherited systems that perpetuate inequality. They both recognize the importance of addressing intersecting identities and calling for systemic change to create a more equitable society.

hood feminism

Divergences in Class & Authority

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall are both thought-provoking books that explore societal issues from different perspectives. While Outliers primarily focuses on success and achievement, Hood Feminism delves into intersectional feminism and its impact on marginalized communities. The divergence between the two books can be seen in their treatment of class and authority.

In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to extraordinary success and achievement. He often attributes this success to a combination of talent, hard work, and opportunities presented to individuals. Gladwell does acknowledge the role of privilege but tends to emphasize the importance of personal effort. He explores how societal structures, such as the 10,000-hour rule and cultural legacies, can give certain individuals advantages, ultimately shaping their level of achievement. However, he does not heavily address class and authority in terms of systemic oppression and its impact on opportunities.

On the other hand, in Hood Feminism, Kendall focuses on dismantling the patriarchal systems that oppress marginalized communities, particularly women of color. She critiques mainstream feminism for often excluding these women and highlights the vital importance of intersectionality. Class and authority are central themes in Kendall’s book, as she delves into how economic disparities create further obstacles for marginalized women. She argues that traditional feminism often fails to address the unique struggles faced by these women due to their socioeconomic status and lack of authority within societal structures.

While Outliers primarily explores the individual journey towards success, Kendall’s Hood Feminism examines the collective struggle for liberation and equality. Kendall acknowledges the role of privilege, but she places greater emphasis on the systemic barriers faced by marginalized communities and the need for a broader social change that challenges class and authority dynamics. This divergence highlights the different lenses through which the authors approached their respective topics.

In conclusion, while Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall both discuss societal issues, their treatment of class and authority differs significantly. Gladwell focuses on individual success, giving weight to personal effort and opportunity, whereas Kendall addresses the systemic oppression faced by marginalized communities, emphasizing the importance of intersectional feminism and challenging class and authority dynamics.


Both “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall offer valuable perspectives on different topics, making them worthy reads in their own right. The choice between the two books ultimately depends on your personal preferences and interests.

“Outliers” explores the factors that contribute to extraordinary success and achievement, questioning traditional notions of merit and talent. Gladwell analyzes various cases where individuals or groups have outperformed their peers, attributing their success to factors such as their cultural background, upbringing, and opportunity. This book provides insightful and thought-provoking analysis on the impact of environmental and social factors on individual achievement, making it particularly appealing to those interested in psychology, sociology, and personal development.

“Hood Feminism” focuses on intersectional feminism and addresses the ways in which mainstream feminism has often failed to address the needs and experiences of marginalized communities, particularly women of color. Kendall offers a powerful and compelling critique of the feminist movement, highlighting its exclusionary tendencies and advocating for a more inclusive and expansive feminist agenda. This book is essential for anyone interested in gender and social justice, highlighting the importance of addressing the unique experiences and struggles faced by various marginalized communities.

Both books provide valuable insights and perspectives, offering nuanced analysis on a variety of topics. If you are interested in understanding the factors that contribute to exceptional success and achievement, “Outliers” may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you want to explore the nuances of intersectional feminism and the importance of including marginalized communities, “Hood Feminism” would be the more suitable option.

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