Black women started to speak up in 1970s and during the 1980s and 1990s black womanhood started to be an important point of debates and since then African American women? s thoughts and ideas are a very significant part of literature. Gender studies are taught at universities and black women writers are known of. Their books are studied and researches done. They took a long and hard journey from slavery until today and it was not easy.
Despite all disadvantages, critiques, obstacles and problems, they managed to get a word in the world which had only three categories: White men, White women and Black men. In this essay I would like to deal with two terms which are topical in current debates: Womanism and Black Feminism. Womanism is described in the first paragraph, Black feminism in the second followed by the conclusion. First I will focus on Alice Walker? s multiple definitions of “womanism“ in In Search of Our Mother? s Gardens.
She offers several meanings. She sees the term as rooted in history which was full of racial and gender oppression. “You acting womanish“ taken from the black folk tradition meant that the girls acted in outrageous, courageous and willful ways – it freed them from conventions. They behaved like white women could not, they wanted to know more than was good for them. To understand what she means we have to know that the history of black women and white women is different. Not only as a history of events but history of language.
The conventions for black women were different, they were supposed to behave differently and the society took them less serious. But Alice Walker in her definition says that “womanish“ is also being serious, grown up, responsible – which is an opposite to white understanding of black women. Walker somehow implies that black women are superior to white women because of black folk tradition. Also Walker? s much cited phrase “womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender“ – black women are womanists and white women are only feminists.
WHAT'S BEHIND THE ESCALATING TREND? AS we head into the new millennium, marrying mitt dating across cultural lines seem to be increasing at record rates. Almost anywhere you go these days, you will encounter mixed-race couples: at the grocery store, the mall, the theater, at a company function, at: a concert, even at church. And while for years the Black man-White woman couple was more prevalent, ...
Then, we have to think about the colours purple and lavender. According to my opinion purple is almost red, full, and shining with energy. It is a colour darker, more lovely, and richer than lavender. Lavender is pale, poorer, and relaxing. It is an opposite to purple, yet there is a similarity. Both are connected to violet as violet would be something which connects them. I would say that this something could be a metaphor to humanity. They are different but both human, different race but still human. Walker also presents a visionary meaning for womanism.
As part of her second definition, Walker has a girl asking a question “Mama why are we brown, pink and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige, and black? “ The response is “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented. “ It criticizes the colorism within African American communities and broadens the notion of humanity to make all people people of color. Women and men coexist in the same garden but retaining their cultural distinctiveness. Womanism provides a space for Black women and women of color to create a dialogue in a non threatening environment.
According to Katie Cannon, womanism is always in the making – it is not a closed fixed system of ideas but one that continually evolves through its rejection of all forms of oppression and commitment to social justice. Another definition concerns wholeness “A woman is committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female,“ which proposes that males are not the enemy whereas in feminism they are. Walker also sees womanist as a woman who loves other women, which implies that womanists could be lesbians but it remains unacknowledged in the work of African American writers (Collins 10).
Secondly I would like to comment on feminism and Black feminism. According to Pearl Cleage, feminism is the belief that women are full human beings capable of participation and leadership in the full range of human activities. I think that for white women and also black women, it already works. Well, almost. Because there are still women who are not equal to men, their salaries are lower, they are supposed to work and also take care of the family but on the other hand, there are lot of women who work as managers and on the top-list positions or they are prosperous businesswomen.
America was expanding in the early 1800s, politically, economically, and socially. Many movements occurred during this time, particularly from 1825 to 1850, aimed to better laws, institutions, and society and to spread democracy overall. Although the religious, penal, education, and feminist reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals, the temperance and abolitionist ...
There are female presidents and governon generals, white and black. For example, Park Geun-hye from the South Korea, Joyce Banda from Malawi, Slavica Dukic Dejanovic from Serbia, Dilma Rousseff from Brazil, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner from Argentina and others. I was really impressed how many white and also black women occupy high positions in the politics because in the Czech republic, there are not many of them. Even now in the twenty-first century I would find it rare to have a female president.
But there is going to be time in the future when it will be normal, I hope. Then I would like to comment on Black Feminism. It 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).
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).
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).
Black women have long struggled with the exclusionary white feminism and challenged the racism within feminist organization.
Black Women, the term often denotes the black skinned people, especially those who are based on the African region. Though various famous writers who shed their words as bloods and fought against the injustice that where happening against the black people, Maya Angelou was one remarkable person. She concentrated more towards the women sector, as she is a more sensitive and phenomenal woman by ...
The specific issues worked on in the black feminist Movement, according to Barbara Smith, were/are: reproductive rights, sterilization abuse, equal access to abortion, health care, child care, the rights of the disabled, violence against women, rape, battering, sexual harassment, welfare rights, lesbian and gay rights, aging, police brutality, labor organizing, anti-imperialist struggles, anti-racist organizing, nuclear disarmament, and preserving the environment. To this end, several organizations were established during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Most importantly, the movement must find a way to broaden support among black and Third World women. Education about the true nature and goal of the movement as well as resources and strategies for change must reach the women who have little or no access to the movement. There is a need for the development of mentor relationships between black women scholar/activists and young black students, both female and male. Individual struggle must be connected with a larger feminist movement to effect change, and so that new black feminists need not reinvent theory or search again for history that was never recorded.
There is also a need to develop black female subjectivity to address black women as the primary audience of theoretical and critical black feminism. Black women and men need to develop a critical style which encourages further dialogue and development of ideas rather than merely “trashing” and silencing new black feminist voices. Respect for fellow black women must be developed and guarded in spite of the sexist, racist, and classist “cultural baggage” with which all Americans are weighed down. Differences among black women must be acknowledged and affirmed, rather than ignored.
Finally, alliances must be strengthened between the black feminist movement and its parent movements. The black feminist movement must hold the current male-dominated black liberation movement accountable for its sexism and at the same time work with the movement to end the oppression of black people. As well, there must be a working dialogue between the white-dominated feminist movement and the black feminist movement to continue to develop theory and action which strives toward the end of sexism.
Increasingly, patriarchy is offered as the solution to the crisis black people face. Black women face a culture where practically everyone wants us to stay in our place. Progressive non-black folks, many of them white, often do not challenge black male support of patriarchy even though they would oppose sexism in other groups of men. In diverse black communities, and particularly in poor ...
The power and influence that each of these groups has cannot be ignored. As one NBFO (National Black Feminist Organization) member has said, “White women are our natural allies; we can’t take down the system alone. “(Hull, Scott, Smith).
As previously mentioned, there are differences between Black Feminism and Womanism. Black Feminism is still a derivative of Feminism, which is female-centered. Womanism is centered around the natural order of life, family and a complimentary relationship with men and women. It is all-inclusive and universal.
Black Feminism tackles the social, political, and educational struggle of African-American women in the United States but it does not address all the global issues that women in the African origin are dealing with. It should be noted that in no way is Black Feminism any more or less important than Womanism. In fact, there are many elements in Black Feminism that are considered womanist values, such as the recognition of African roots, the pattern of defining a Black woman’s standpoint and the struggle to correct sexist attitudes. Rather, Womanism is the direction that Black Feminism should be evolving towards.
Since Black Feminism is primarily focused on issues in the United States, it is not enough for the current conditions of the world. Currently, as more women around the world take a stand against the injustices each respective country has, the need for global solidarity continues to grow.