Monthly Archives: March 2014

One of the huge cultural problems we have is we don’t delineate between sexuality, which is normal and healthy and unfolds over the life cycles, and sexualization, or the hypersexualization of our girls.

–Joyce McFadden, psychoanalyst and author of Your Daughter’s Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women in Ann Friedman’s “My Barbies Had So Much Sex. It Was Great.

(via Black Culture)

Black bourgeois female intellectuals practice homophobia by omission more often than rabid homophobia…

Michelle Wallace’s Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman is a most obvious example. This brave and scathing analysis of the sexual politics of the black political community after 1965 fails to treat the issues of gay liberation, black lesbianism, or homophobia vis-a-vis the black liberation or the women’s liberation movement… In 1979, when asked at a public lecture at Rutgers University in New Jersey why the book had not addressed the issues of homosexuality and homophobia, the author responded that she was not an ‘expert’ on either issue. But Wallace, by her own admission, was also not an ‘expert’ on the issues she did address in her book….

Hooks does not even mention the word lesbian in her book [Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism]. This is unbearable. Ain’t lesbians women, too? …

Like her black male counterpart, the black woman intellectual is afraid to relinquish heterosexual privilege. So little else is guaranteed black people.

–Cheryl Clarke, The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community, Home Girls: A Feminist Anthology by Barbara Smith, 205 

(via spinsterette)

What does my body shape have to do with my Africanness?

How does the shape of my body affect the responsibilities I am able to fulfill not only as a woman but as a human being other than satisfying the desire of a man who wants a “full figured” woman?

Is my body the only thing I have to offer to the world as a woman?

In order to begin the healing process of accepting my body as a woman, not only did I have to answer these questions but internalize my responses to these questions. I had to believe every answer I gave myself.

–Bilphena Yahwon; What Happened to Ms. Fat Booty?

(via knowledge equals black power)

…our reality is not your reality. What you call patriarchy, I call one aspect of colonisation: for all their commonalities, for all your hoping and wishing it, our oppressions are not interchangeable. Whether you like it or not, as a white Australian woman you too are at the root of my indigenous problem.

–Melissa Lucashenko, speaking of how white privilege is embedded in Australian feminism and on the failure of white feminists to analyse their place in the colonisation of Indigenous Australians, especially in regards to indigenous women

(via queering the game of life)

Communicating about communicating: some initial thoughts

Communicating about communicating is perhaps the most important kind of communication. Also reblogging because Feelings Talk went well, as it always does.

atheist, polyamorous skeptics

Communication style is my jam. Show me to a conversation about how we communicate with each other and how different people perceive the same words, gestures, and contexts, and I’ll happily yammer away all night with you. So many of the troubles and strife between people seems to me to come down to how we communicate with each other: I said this, and you interpreted it, and your interpretation and my intent don’t match up, and now we both believe things about the other’s point of view that aren’t true, and that’s going to color the rest of our interaction.

I’m not into figuring out which communication style is “best.” It’s just not an interesting argument to me. I’m much more interested in working with other people to make sure that what I say and what they hear match up as well as possible, and any solution that increases the amount…

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While few would argue that feminism has been embraced by the Black community en masse—the increased representation in pop culture and perhaps overindexing of Black feminists online do not a feminist nation make—the level of conversation around gender issues today certainly suggests that much of the distaste for feminism born in years past has faded. “It’s hard to even imagine where you can go now in the Black world and say ‘feminism’ and have it be met with violence, scrutiny and hostility and anger,” she says.

Although there are still some who hold tight to the notion that feminism is for White women, we are witnessing increased understanding of intersectional feminist values and politics in contemporary media. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, professor at the UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School and a prominent figure in the study of critical race theory, shaped the language and theory of intersectionality “to capture the reality of the way we experience racial discrimination and gender discrimination.”

“Sexism isn’t a one-size-fits-all phenomenon,” says Crenshaw. “It doesn’t happen to Black and White women the same way.” She says the ways “that Black women and girls experience discrimination is often framed as secondary or collateral to what’s happening, or downstream to what’s happening for men and boys, and that’s significant because it creates the belief and expectation that the way to handle the crisis facing Black women and girls is first, fix what’s happening with men,” she concludes. “Well, in reality, we’re interdependent.”

–Jamilah Lemieux, “Black Feminism Goes Viral” 

(via KEW)

Gone are the days in which feminism is easily dismissed as the territory of privileged White women or limited largely to those who live in academic and activist circles. There is an emergence of boldly Black feminist thought spreading via big and small screens, from the whip-smart progressive voices of pundits such as MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Goldie Taylor and CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill to the blogosphere. “Black Twitter” is routinely buzzing with debates that go beyond the trite Mars/Venus politicking and instead finds women and men engaged in deep conversations about how gender impacts equality, access and freedom. Is feminism simply the latest hot topic, or are we witnessing the beginning of a new Black liberation movement?

“I think Black feminism is in one of the strongest moments it has seen in a while,” says Brittney Cooper, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. “From Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, to Laverne Cox on Orange Is the New Black to Beyoncé … we have prominent Black women identifying publicly with the term. There is also a robust crop of young Black feminists online who keep pushing the conversation forward, doing activist work in communities and generally taking no prisoners when it comes to racism and sexism.”

Black women and men have engaged in feminist work for centuries. Abolitionist Maria Stewart’s 1832 speech “Why Sit Ye Here and Die?” denounced the lack of access to education and employment afforded to even free Black women. In 1892, pioneering scholar Anna Julia Cooper published A Voice from the South, one of the first texts to thoroughly examine the ways in which Black women are subject to unique forms of discrimination and oppression based on race and gender. W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Damnation of Women, published in 1920, makes a case for the improvement of living conditions for Black women and is considered one of the first Black male feminist writings.

To speak the names of the Black women—and men—who have done critical feminist work, regardless of whether they ever embraced feminist as a moniker, would require half the pages of this magazine: Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Alice Walker (who coined the term “womanism” to speak specifically to the contributions of Black women to feminist work), Rebecca Walker, Patricia Hill Collins, Toni Morrison, and the list goes on. (Visit EBONY.com for “100 Black Feminists You Should Know.”)

–Jamilah Lemieux, “Black Feminism Goes Viral”

(via KEW)