Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Feminist or not?

Check out the conversation about feminism as it relates to women of color at Write Out Sister Speaks and The Angry Black Woman. Aaminah Hernandez of Write Out believes that feminism belongs to middle and upper class white women, that it is not for her as a Muslim woman of color. I disagree, but the points she makes are interesting and well worth reading. I am always willing to challenge my thinking. I'm formulating a response post, but in the meantime, read what these insightful bloggers and commenters are saying here and here.

What do you say--can women of color be feminists?

(If you are a guy who reads this blog, don't be shy, chime in!)


Shelly said...

I've never been a fan of labels. Or so-called "movements". I remember studying feminist literature at university and thinking that it was a very middle class, eurocentric antidote to centuries of oppression in THAT cultural context. It never meant much to me. Never really felt comfortable calling myself a feminist. Not because I reject the notion of equality per se, but moreso it seems so futile trying to give create a new name for an eternal human drive... that of loving yourself and feeling loved and respected by others. None of these tags matter.

If I had to give assign a name to where I'm coming from, I would say I'm a humanist. At it's core, feminism was really a call for respect, kindness, freedom to choose one's life path, freedom from oppression. These are human concerns. Men and women have very different natures and we need to embrace it and not treat it as a battle. We all want the same thing. Being kind, sharing, loving, that is all I care about.

(Sorry if I'm rambling but I'm in that kinda mood today ;-) )

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Tami,

I have never seen feminism as a White women’s thing. To me Black women are the original feminists. Just look at our history and how we have had to fight to survive and for every right that we have.

Am I wrong?

But I agree with Shelly that feminism does not or should not be the typical version that we have see displayed in popular culture. Feminism is not anti-man. It's just pro-woman. The media and certain extremists have tried to co-opt it to make it anti-man.


DMB said...

I think any woman, regardless of color, can be a feminist. However, Black women must be careful before we enter into any 'feminist doctrine' because we have the extra burden of typically not having the skills to select good partners and maintain healthy unions. And let's face it, the state of the Black family is weak enough--we don't need to add more divisions between Black men and women.

At the same time, we need to rise up and regard ourselves as worthy or Love and Protection. The fact that R. Kelly still can fill a concert hall is a shame to Black men and women, in my opinion.

Where does 'Black' feminism stand on that point, I wonder?

Tami said...

I agree MDC and DMB, feminism isn't a white thing. It is true that black women have our unique battles, but it doesn't follow that we must exclude ourselves from the movement. And I say that acknowledging that mainstream feminists have a long way to go to make women of color feel welcome and included in the larger feminist struggle.

And Shelly, I like "humanist." I have never seen feminism as being anti-anything or anyone. It is part of a larger struggle for human equality.

Sage said...

I agree with Shelly...what's with the labels?

I figure people will be able to determine what type of person I am based on my actions. There's no need to say: I'm a Christian. Folks can see that I am based on my walk. I'm an African-American female: That's apparent just by looking at me.

Great post!


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