Womanism: The Black Feminist
Politics and Activism

Womanism: The Black Feminist

Feminism was never meant to include women of color.

208
Womanism: The Black Feminist
BattyMamzelle

Black women are beautiful.

That sentence can be read in two different ways. The first, “Black women are beautiful.” The second, “Black women are beautiful, and by default, women of every other race aren't.” For those who read it the first way — aren’t they? And for those who read it the second way — don’t you get tired of making something out of the simplest things?

I run into this sort of tactful misinterpretation whenever I have to explain that no, I’m not a feminist, I’m a womanist. It’s hard to explain the construct of womanism, especially considering the term has yet to be fully developed into a definition that encompasses all of its ideals. So for the sake of argument: Womanism is a social theory that focuses on the oppression of women of color and their exclusion from classic or “white” feminism.

This is usually the point where someone defensively says that by being a womanist, I purposely show prejudice in my exclusion of white issues; but feminism does the same to black women. In law, there is De Jure and De Facto. De Jure is what the law is, while De Facto is how the law is actually used and what happens because of it. Feminism, in a De Jure sense, is a need for equality between men and women. However, considering De Facto implications, feminism urges women to surpass men and hold a sense of entitlement over the opposite sex. If they truly cared for equality, why do feminists not protest for the male victims that no one can argue do not exist? Oppression exists everywhere, and yet feminists do not fight for who they claim are their equal counterparts in the same way they do not fight for the black woman.

Womanism does not lie about what it is. Womanism openly acknowledges that its focus is not on the white woman, but women of color, which by result makes it far more inclusive than white feminism. I cannot stress enough how this does not mean that the ideas of womanism harbor resentment or a form of reverse racism against white women; it simply fights for those who need a little more help -- in the same way breast cancer runs have no intent to take money for funding other health researches.

Feminism was never meant to include the black woman. From the very beginning, when slave masters raped the black woman, her humanity was never considered. Hazel V. Carby argues in her book "Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist" that because of the social standards of their time, white women were meant to be seen as virtuous and Christian, pure and pristine. The white man wanted a wife who was pale and frail because it would prove his economic standing, suggesting she never had to be out in the sun working. A white woman of this time was meant to care for the home and make sure her family went to church. Once a white woman has sex, her purity is gone, and the only way to regain it was to have a child — to prove her sin as strictly procreational. The white man, as a result, must not go to her for pleasure and instead is “forced” to misplace his repressed sexuality on his black female slaves; his lack of consideration for their purity suggests not only that they are not held to the same standard as the white woman, but that he does not consider them women at all; they are simply an outlet.

Though slavery may have ended, black women are still severely fetishized. According to raiin.org (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), women of color are 87.7 percent more likely to be victims of rape, underage sexual assault, and campus sexual violence. Compared to white women, black women are 45.2 percent more likely to never be married, according to Black Demographics. We are less likely to graduate, receive proper education, or get a job. We are 44 percent more likely to die from cancer than white women and more likely to go missing or be abused in police custody.

I am a womanist, not a feminist, because I don’t mask my passion in the rhetoric of hypocrisy.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments