Tuesday, July 21, 2009

{Black} Feminism 101: Crib Sheet


"I eat the pussy, the pussy I eat." Yup. Those are the lyrics.
Yup. Those are children on the stage.
Further evidence that BET/Lil Wayne and Drake are a symptom
of the problem, not the problem itself.

I have a Google alert for Black women and feminism,
and so I receive links to sites when the subject is

It became clear to me, based on a couple of links that I have
receive this week that many folks don't know what

feminism is, yet they hate it.

After recently reading the bell hooks book Feminism is for
Everybody I decided to post some key sections so that we
could have a working language of exactly what we are talking about

In short, the book makes it clear what Feminism is and why it
is for everybody.

bell hooks on a Definition of Feminism
Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation,
and oppression...I like this definition because it did not imply
that men are the enemy. By naming sexism as the problem
it went to the heart of the matter.

On Patriarchy
To end patriarchy, (which is another way of saying institutionalized
sexism) we need to be clear that we are all participants in perpetuating sexism
until we change our minds and hearts, until we let go of sexist thought
and action and replace it with feminist thought and action

On Patriarchal Violence
Patriarchal violence in the home is based on the belief that
it is acceptable for a more powerful individual to control others
through various forms of coercive force.

On Reformist vs. Revolutionary Feminists
From its early inception the feminist movement was
polarized. Reformist thinkers chose to emphasize gender
equality. Revolutionary thinkers chose to emphasize gender
equality. Revolutionary feminist thinkers did not simply want
to alter the existing system so that women would have more rights.
We wanted to transform that system to bring an end to
patriarchy and sexism.

On the Male Fear of Letting Go of Patriarchy
Most men find it difficult to be patriarchs. Most men are disturbed
by the hatred and fear of women, by male violence against women,
even the men who perpetuate the violence. But they fear letting go
of the benefits. They are not certain what will happen to the world
they know intimatly if patriarchy changes. So they find it easier to
passively accept male domination even when they know in their
minds and hearts, that male domination is wrong.

On Escalator Feminism
Reformist feminism became their route to class mobility. They
could break free of male domination in the workforce and be
more self determining in their lifestyles. While sexism did not
end, they could maximize their freedom withing the existing system.

On Mainstream Media and the Chosen "One" Feminist
Mainstream media has always chosen a straight woman to
represent what the feminist movement stands for - the straighter
the better. The more glamorous she is, the more her image
can be used to appeal to men. Woman-identified women, whehter
straight, bisexual, or lesbian rarely make garnering male approval a
priority in our lives. This is why we threaten patriarchy.

On Patriarchy and Lesbian Women
Nowadays the vast majority of lesbians, like their straight counterparts,
are not into radical politics. Individual lesbian thinkers active in the feminist
movement often found it difficult to face the reality that lesbian women could
be as sexist as straight women.

On Understanding an Exploitative System vs. Changing It
But simply being a victim of an exploitative or oppressive
system and even resiting it does not mean we understand why
its in place or how to change it.

On the Need for a New Idea of Masculinity
What is and was needed is a vision of masculinity where
self esteem and self love of ones unique being forms the basis
of identity. Cultures of domination attack self esteem, replacing
it with a notion that we derive our sense of well being from dominion
over another.

On the Need for a Male Critique of Patriarchy
To change this, males must critique and challenge male domination of the
planet, of less powerful men, of women and children. But they must also have
a clear vision of what a feminist masculinity looks like. How can you be
what you can't imagine?

White women, Class and the Feminist Movement
As many black women/women of color saw white women
from privilege classes benefiting economically more than
other groups from reformist feminist gains, from gender being tacked
on to racial affirmative action, it simply reaffirmed their fear that
feminism was really about increasing white power.

Mainstream Feminists Betrayal
The most profound betrayal of feminist issues has been the lack of
mass-based feminist protest challenging the government's assault
on single motherhood and dismantling the welfare system. Privileged
women, many of whom call themselves feminist, have simply
turned away from the feminization of poverty.

**There is a section of the book that talks about how feminism
will not succeed w/o men. If you are reading this and know the page,
please let me know, as I want/need to add it.

Did this help?
The video?
What do you think of the video having read
this post?


Brother OMi said...

1. I have to cop that book.

2. "Most men find it difficult to be patriarchs. Most men are disturbed
by the hatred and fear of women, by male violence against women,
even the men who perpetuate the violence. But they fear letting go
of the benefits. "

I so agree, it is so true. Even I find it difficult to let go of the privilege.

3. Bell hooks is the TRUTH!

thanks for this

feminism is like socialism, no one knows squat about it but seem to have a can of hatred for it.

Vee (Scratch) said...

Real quick response. The video is . . . simply a sad affair. It reminds me why I purposely like to present myself in a plain-corny manner. When watching videos occasionally I wonder what happened to the ideals and vision of Motown(Gordy) - a polished, professional act?

Just a thought. Exactly how do you go about ending sexism and patriarchy. How do you get people to let go of those fears and learn a new way of being.

More and more I understand and see the connection between sexism and racism. Many -isms go hand in hand.

I think domination or exploitation in some manner will always exist amongst group, communities or in intimate relationships. Greed, selfishness defines how many people socialize with each other.

Model Minority said...

@Brother Omi,

Thank you for your honesty.
The book is like 100 pages of Feminism goodness.

In fact she has a passage that says that Feminism will not work w/o men. I'm still looking for it.

Ummm. Re Gordy. Gordy was focused on the cross over. Yes he was about polished and professional, but he stayed on that white folks money grind.

Yup. Calling a spade a spade.

How do we go about ending the sexism an patriarchy?
Hmmp. be be goes into it in the book.

Off the top of the dome, if I recall
- we need to focus on the young people and produce literarture that doesn't reinforce the idea that if you have more power you have the right to dominate
- we need to do work on providing an alternate vision of masculinity, the feminist fucked up by just focusing on the girls
-Schools, literature, conscious raising groups,

Honestly dude, I am moving towards two things. Working on changing hearts and minds of goups of people at a time. AND systemic change. This non profit type, one issue @ a time ish, I'm not really feeling it.

Brother OMi said...

Man, i have to cop the book before i head out to Connecticut in August..

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