When we were working with the International Women’s Day, we were ‘invited’ to work, it wasn’t as if we as black women, as a group that they sought to invite, were part of that whole movement. We were something outside of the movement, so working inside it meant we had to say ‘look, you can’t do this, we are women, women that are connected to women all over the world. In order to have a real women’s movement, you have to work altogether as women. You can’t keep that structure where you control what goes and we just fill in the gaps.’
[image: the cover of bell hooks’ Ain’t I a Woman?].
I was thinking of how my social justice knowledge is quite narrow in terms of intersectionality, and how I tend to (unforgiveably) derail race issues into gender issues so that they’re more comfortable territory for me. I thought I should read a book on black feminism or womanism, and with a little digging I found bell hooks’ Ain’t I a Woman? From Wiki:
She argues that slavery allowed white society to stereotype white women as the pure goddess virgin and move black women to the seductive whore stereotype formerly placed on all women. This has justified the devaluation of black femininity and rape of black women which continues to this day. The work which black women have been forced to perform, either in slavery or in a discriminatory work place, that would be non-gender conforming for white women has been used against black women as a proof of their emasculating behaviour.
It sounds like a really interesting history not just of the effects of slavery but the gender stereotypes and the exclusion of the feminist movement. It sounds great.
Has anyone read it?
Is it problematic or does anyone recommend something else as a better starting point? Any ideas would be good. I’m suddenly embarrassed by my lack of knowledge on the subject.
I’ve read “Feminism is for Everybody” (during a much lower level of disability awareness) and generally like bell hooks. -Eric
I’ve certainly heard good things about her. Feminism is for Everybody might be good for intersectionality as well.
bell hooks, i feel, is really accessible to loads of folks. i have learned a lot from her.
That’s good to hear. I thought I’d throw it out there just in case there’s widespread disapproval of her methods haha, although I’ve heard good stuff over the years.
I’ve heard AMAZING things about Bell Hooks and I love any reference to Sojourner Truth!
read it. I would greatly appreciate a non-poc feminist to actually take the time to read it.
Omg read Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism by Patricia Hill Collins! It has completely changed my pov.
“…a work of critical theory that discusses the way that race, class and gender intersect to affect the lives of African American men and women in many different ways, but with similar results. The book explores the way that new forms of racism can work to oppress black people, while filling them with messages of liberation.”
oooh sounds good :)
bell hooks is awesome; read her with Angela Davis’s Women, Race and Class.
“She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women’s movement have divided its own membership. Davis’ message is clear: If we ever want equality, we’re gonna have to fight for it together.”
Blimey, thanks for the suggestions everyone!