Black Feminism

Topics: Feminism, Black people, White people Pages: 6 (1996 words) Published: April 17, 2013
Black Feminism
“Feminism in general is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.”

Black Feminism is a strand of feminist thought, which highlights the manifold disadvantages of gender, class and race that shape the experiences of nonwhite women. Black feminist organizations emerged during the 1970s and they had to face manifold difficulties from both the white feminist and Black Nationalist political organizations they were confronting with. Black feminists had rejected the idea of a single unified gender oppression that faced evenly by all women, and argued that early feminist analysis reflected the specific concerns of white, middle-class women. One of the theories that evolved out of the Black feminist movement was Alice Walker's Womanism. Alice Walker and other womanists pointed out that black woman experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women. They point out the emergence black feminism after earlier movements led by white middle-class women which they regard as having largely ignored oppression based on race and class. Patricia Hill Collins defined Black feminism, in Black Feminist Thought (1991), as including "women who theorize the experiences and ideas shared by ordinary black women that provide a unique angle of vision on self, community, and society". Different critics gave their opinion regarding “Black Feminism” , some of them tried to justify their stand as the “Black Feminists”, some elaborated the purposes of this movement, some discussed the themes that work in this theory. They stated such as;

Women of color have never been placed on a pedestal and protected the way white women are, and although women of color are thought of as a voiceless people, the stereotypes used to oppress them, “black matriarch”, “bitch” and “sapphire”, contradict that notion (Hudson-Weems 211-213).

In establishing why Black Feminism is relevant, it must be established that women of color have been thrice victimized: by racism, sexism and economic exploitation. These three oppressive forces affect women of color simultaneously and equally relentlessly (Gordon 166).

Black Feminism is the acknowledgement that women of color have been oppressed by sexism and racism, that there was a failure to recognize and address these issues in the Feminist Movement and the Black Liberation Movement, and that women of color have their own agenda that neither movement can take on. Black Feminism focuses on the experiences needs and desires of women of color (Aldridge 193).

The goal of Black Feminism is to create a criterion by which women of color can assess their realities, both in thought and in action (Hudson-Weems 210).

Although it is contested that all struggles are the same, placing all women under feminism is the epitome of racist arrogance and domination, suggesting that white women’s experience is the standard and authority above any other experience (Hudson-Weems 209).

Basically three characteristic themes are found in Black Feminist thought:

• Black women's self-definition and self-valuation;

• The interlocking nature of oppression; and

• The importance of Afro-American women's culture.

We find the themes of Black Feminism like repression of women, self actualization, self-definition, self-valuation, political suppression and kind of racial, class and gender biases towards the women of Black race, in the stories of “Lice”, “Veil” and “Independence Day”.

“Lice” is really a true illustration of deprivation of women because of their gender, kind of gender oppression and the stereotypical view of women in Black community that women are only to get married, have sex, and to devote their whole life for the family. There is a woman in the story, named “Sissie” a “voiceless creature”, as stereotypical view of Black Feminism is. In the Black community it is...
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