I worked with a woman about twenty years or more ago that was a die-hard feminist. I would bring up a topic about being black and she would say, “What about women’s issue? What about BLACK women’s issues.” At the time I was very young and I was not focused on issues that exclusively revolved around women. I was quite frankly more interested in hanging out with friends and occasionally ranting about black issues when the mood struck me.
Fast-forward to 2013 and now I consider myself a BLACK Feminist in every sense of the word. Those words that my friend Jan spoke to me so long ago continue to ring in my ear, in my heart and within my being.
When I speak of being a feminist to black women they say, “That’s a white woman’s issue NOT a black woman’s issue.” I SO beg to differ on that. EQUALITY, I think should be MORE of an issue with black women because WE are oppressed on the color level AND on the gender issue. WE have to battle the racist AND the glass ceilings. What more reason to be a feminist that those two issues?
I think there is a rejection by mainstream black women because they picture a view of white women burning their bras in the 60’s, which was a small demonstration of the movement back in the day. THIS was not the entire movement and that wasn’t and still isn’t what feminism is about. Feminism quite simple is the “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” How could any woman regardless of color object to equality? HOW can black women, specifically, object to this?
As black women we have to take time to embrace the need for equality, this is especially the case for single mothers. As a single mom myself I believe that I am more than entitled to be equal, especially economically. I would go so far as to say that I would not balk at being viewed as GREATER than, as I am performing the parental role of two.
This is not to say that I would like to be a man by any stretch. All those male dangly body parts, huge egos and excessive fur is enough to make me NEVER want to be a man. Why would I, after all women are so much prettier than men. J I am quite happy as a woman and would not trade if for anything.
Some would have you believe that embracing feminism is trying to be a man or trying to take the place of a man. That could not be farther from the truth. I do not want to be a man but I do want the same paycheck as a man if I am doing the same job. I do want the same rights to vote as a man and I do want to be viewed as a social equal to my male counter parts.
Feminism can be embraced by anyone NOT just women. People view feminist as bra burning man hating lesbian white chicks but I guess I should expect that from people that believe that WOMEN are not equal. This view is NOT what being a feminist is all about it’s about equality, nothing more nothing less. On a side note on the bra burning deal, as a woman, I’m sure many have wanted to burn a bra or two, feminist or not.
The first feminist I met, before I knew anything about being a feminist or listening to my friend Jan speak of women’s rights, was my dad. YEAH I said it! Feminism includes ANY person that believes in equality for women and that is not exclusive to women.
I actually think my view on feminism stemmed from being raised by my dad. HE taught me that I could do ANYTHING and HE believes that women are equal, should have equal economic opportunities, be equal socially and politically. Wow imagine that a black male feminist who knew? The last time I checked my dad did not remotely resemble a bra burning white lesbian chick, which by the way is a stereotypical and very narrow view of a feminist. He does however resemble a man that taught his daughter that she could conquer any goals, how to be financially independent and how to be a feminist.
As single black moms how can we not expect equal pay for equal work, equal political rights and social equality? After all, we are doing the jobs of two parents why would we sell ourselves short by expecting and settling for less than we deserve?
So I am going to assume that there was a misunderstanding in the black female community about what it actually means to be a feminist. This means that there will be Feminist content on THE BLACKNESS and of course I welcome Any and all comment, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. Feel free to find me on the Facebook page of The Blackness.
Oh yeah and those black women that are under the misguided assumption that WE are not entitled to political, economic and social equality, as you were.
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