A Groundbreaking Work Of Feminist History And Theory Analyzing The Complex Relations Between Various Forms Of Oppression Ain T I A Woman Examines The Impact Of Sexism On Black Women During Slavery, The Historic Devaluation Of Black Womanhood, Black Male Sexism, Racism Within The Recent Women S Movement, And Black Women S Involvement With Feminism


10 thoughts on “Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

  1. says:

    White male scholars who examined the black family by attempting to see in what ways it resembled the white family structure were confident that their data was not biased by their own personal prejudices against women assuming an active role in family decision making But it must be remembered that these white males were educated in an elite institutional world that excluded both black people and many white women, institutions that were both racist and sexist. Calling myself racist accomplishes nothing Calling society racist accomplishes nothing Calling the world racist accomplishes nothing, and in fact solipsistically applies the framework of United States oppression theory to a vast spectra of bigotry, each impacting the other but never, ever, the same In a word, calling out an observation does nothing Appropriating the patriarchal scientific method for a moment, one hypothesizes, experiments, hypothesizes, experiments, ad infinitum Call out your observations, wonder why, go forth, call out, wonder, go forth Never, ever, stop Historically, white patriarchs rarely referred to the racial identity of white women because they believed that the subject of race was political and therefore would contaminate the sanctified domain of white women s reality By verbally denying white women racial identity, that is by simply referring to them as women when what they really meant was white women, their status was reduced to that of non person.White feminists did not challenge the racist sexist tendency to use the word woman to refer solely to white women they supported it For them it served two purposes First, it allowed them to proclaim white men world oppressors while making it appear linguistically that no alliance existed between white women and white men based on shared racial imperialism Second, it made it possible for white women to act as if alliances did exist between themselves and non white women in our society, and by doing so they could deflect attention away from their classism and racism. hooks called out both feminists I ve read and feminists I m planning to read, and yet I will continue to use the information I have learned and will seek out of the same An answer to the wherefore lies in my inherently valuing the critical process far than the perfection of the accumulated tidbits, a holistic rejection of the freeze frame, the weighing, the hierarchy of the patriarchy implying white imperialism and androcentrism and so much else It is far easier to hate everything else than it is to incorporate that everything else into a deconstruction of that hate, but if you proclaim yourself an agent of justice, that is what you must do We cannot form an accurate picture of woman s status by simply calling attention to the role assigned females under patriarchy More specifically, we cannot form an accurate picture of the status of black women by simply focusing on racial hierarchies.Scholars have argued further that by not allowing black men to assume their traditional patriarchal status, white men effectively emasculated them, reducing them to an effeminate state Implicit in this assertion is the assumption that the worst that can happen to a man is that he be made to assume the social status of woman. I ll rest when a black trans lesbian, a recovering addict who grew up in poverty and was once a sex worker, is the President of the United States Inconceivable enough to almost everyone as of now, but that list of characteristics will only grow longer during my lifetime of reading, writing, and thinking, for the lack of academic discourse on that particular combination of bigotry does not prevent me from being aware of the existence of individuals who, by sheer coincidence of birth, fit the bill That coincidence should not choke aspirations of leadership in the highest echelons from the get go What must change is not the aspirations, but the choking I know of than one colored woman who was openly importuned by white women to become the mistresses of their white husbands, on the grounds that they, the white wives, were afraid that, if their husbands did not associate with colored women, they would certainly do so with outside white women, and the white wives, for reasons which ought to be perfectly obvious, preferred to have their husbands do wrong with the colored women in order to keep their husbands straight I interviewed a black woman usually employed as a clerk who was living in near poverty, yet she continually emphasized the fact that black woman was matriarchal, powerful, in control of her life in fact she was nearly having a nervous breakdown trying to make ends meet. hooks did not touch on queer theory She did not call out the disrespectful and dehumanizing view of China and its culture in one of her used quotes She did not cite her sources as explicitly as most, although the very concept of citations evolves from the quick and easy rhetoric of the patriarchy that engulfs its oppression in seeming ethos while in reality making the rules so as to have something to mewl and puke about when the institution is threatened, as if the rules themselves as with racism were anything but conjured out of thin air and as such can be treated accordingly similar to how Goodreads keeps capitalizing her name aka disrespecting her autonomy in the effort to preserve the fragile sanctity of its holy search function However, her holistic breakdown of white, black, male, female, without ever playing one off the other, is a lesson of criticizing the complex web of indoctrination oppression that can be applied to any intersectional social justice The patriarchy is a bloated blight, spanning from its emphasis on capitalism to its compromised inheritance, all in the effort to reduce humanity to ciphers of privilege for this or that or any old reason of difference, difference, difference Life is politics is life is a multifarious thing, and will not limit its splintered evolution for the sake of your self help book view of life Feminism as a political ideology advocating social equality for all women was and is acceptable to many black women They rejected the women s movement when it became apparent that middle and upper class college educated white women who were its majority participants were determined to shape the movement so that it would serve their own opportunistic ends.To those who saw feminism solely as a way to demand entrance into the white male power structure, it simplified matters to make all men oppressors and all women victims. Any idea can be abused What matters is the willingness to pay heed to the consequences and the neverending effort to push that idea to its ultimate limits of inclusiveness of every being deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness And then some Racism is the barrier that prevents positive communication and it is not eliminated or challenged by separation White women supported the formation of separate groups because it confirmed their preconceived racist sexist notion that no connection existed between their experiences and those of black women.It in no way diminishes our concern about racist oppression for us to acknowledge that our human experience is so complex that we cannot understand it if we only understand racism. The Internet enables me to say these words without fear of physical retribution Words words words, of course, but I am a writer, and once upon a time my words were not so good Once upon a time, everything I stood for and how I stood for it was not so good The memory of that, if nothing else, is what keeps me going A feminism so rooted in envy, fear, and idealization of male power cannot expose the de humanizing effect of sexism on men and women in American society.Our willingness to assume responsibility for the elimination of racism need not be engendered by feelings of guilt, moral responsibility, victimization, or rage It can spring from a heartfelt desire for sisterhood and the personal, intellectual realization that racism among women undermines the potential radicalism of feminism.That sisterhood cannot be forged by the mere saying of words It is the outcome of continued growth and change It is a goal to be reached, a process of becoming The process begins with action, with the individual woman s refusal to accept any set of myths, stereotypes, and false assumptions that deny the shared commonness of her human experience that deny her capacity to experience the Unity of all life, that deny her capacity to bridge gaps created by racism, sexism, or classism that deny her ability to change The process begins the the individual woman s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist, and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization. She wrote this at nineteen Imagine that Now go forth.


  2. says:

    It wasn t until I read this book did I finally start understand as to what it s truly like to exist as a black woman in our society I had always been a passionate and convicted feminist, as far back as Jr High really After outgrowing the boybands of the late 90 early 00 s, I moved on to metal, punk rock and emo music Riot Grrrl and the principles that came with it with was just the next natural step, so I came of age within the realm of white feminism Bell Hooks put into words every feeling I ever had about myself that no song ever could It was like listening to a knowledgeable Aunt or big sister talk about her experiences Like I cried mid way through the book that s how powerful Ain t I a Woman is If you care about black women, feminism or even just humanity you need to read this book because it will change you, and if it doesn t well then you are an asshole.


  3. says:

    I am a little fledgling when it comes to intersectional feminism, so this was a great book for me to read It further explored and clarified certain arguments and points of view that I ve read listened about online It was published in 1987, so it s not completely up to date, but it is really an excellent book.bell hooks discusses black women and the sexism and racism they faced during slavery, and then continues discussing and exploring the sexism and racism that they face in contemporary times Particularly focusing on white women s feminism and how white feminism has historically excluded black women and women of colour from it.I d really recommend it Her writing is powerful, unapologetic, and important also lots of today s mainstream white feminists could do with reading this tbhhhh


  4. says:

    A very informative book


  5. says:

    A while back I read an article in the Washington Post about the new domesticity among women But it only identified the lives of white women living in urban cities After that I read another article about how the sustainable food movement and bike to work movement often appeared white and for people of priveledge Later on a show called Girls made its debut on HBO and there was quite an uproar about class and race because there appeared to be so much left out from a show that was supposed to be a great series on the modern woman On the modern feminist It reminded me how left out I feel about most feminist work and things in pop culture geared towards women I want to be interested because media is telling me it s for me But then I realized how much it isn t and I wondered constantly about the seperation Because of this I went to Ain t I a Woman, a book I tried to read at 15 but needed now than ever The history of the feminist movement shared in this book is incredible The fact that it didn t want anything to do with black women made me think that we still have quite a long way to go To look at this body of work in today s light, you can t deny that still women white women and black black men How much are we still left out of the equation And for that question, I can only say how important this book is for all women over two decades later There is a sense among most reviewers that AIAW is a good but somewhat jumbled term paper But to find out that Ms hooks was an undergraduate when this was written gives one the understanding that this is the beginning of hooks in the movement This is an incredible work for someone who was not a professor or not yet an expert in this field And to understand that, it opens the doors for much of her later work and opens the doors for other black feminist writers and historians I took my time reading AIAW There was a sense that in some ways she was preaching to the choir but even the choir is shocked by this message I think her intention was not to rant, to call out, or shame but to teach To educate ALL women and men in the movement And for that I am extremely thankful for this book There s this idea that feminism is a radical thing but when approached in the right way, it s there to open your eyes to the long history of inequality A history that is often being repeated Feminism done right is there to radically change your mind about what your role is while walking through this life This book will make you rethink what it means to be a black woman.


  6. says:

    This was a great companion read to Audre Lorde s Sister Outsider Ain t I A Woman provides a comprehensive historical and social analysis of the ways black women have been marginalized by both white feminist movements and civil rights movements run by black men.hooks brings forward numerous examples of racist actions and statements by first and second wave feminists, such as white women suffragettes excluding black women from their organizations and conferences Most feminists have heard of Sojourner Truth s Ain t I a Woman speech that this book is named after, but most of us didn t hear about the white women at that convention who screamed, Don t let her speak Don t let her speak as Truth mounted the platform.The examples hooks brought forward made me fully understand why some black women see the label feminist as irredeemable, but hooks herself notes the ways in which black women experience sexist oppression alongside of and intersecting with race and class oppression She argues against separate feminist groups for women of different races, saying, All women should experience in racially mixed groups affirmation and support Racism is the barrier that prevents positive communication and it is not eliminated or challenged by separation It is a contradiction that white females have structured a women s liberation movement that is racist and excludes many non white women, hooks states, However, the existence of that contradiction should not lead any woman to ignore feminist issuesI choose to re appropriate the term feminism to focus on the fact that to be feminist in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression If anyone wants to understand why feminism needs to become intersectional this will help give the context and teach about the problems in our past I see this as an essential part of moving forward to a feminism that doesn t leave some women behind.


  7. says:

    I cannot stress enough how important this book is a molotov cocktail into the cultural necropolis that is America bell hooks wields her pen like a sledgehammer, dismantling the pillars of a sexist, racist, and classist society She illustrates how these three insidious ideologies oppress and privilege us in myriad ways, poisoning the possibility for genuine human interaction community and dehumanizing us all Some reviewers have criticized the book for not having footnotes, or for certain historical inaccuracies or generalizations These minor missteps do not change the validity of the conclusions she draws, and, consequently, are just ivory tower quibbling Her clarion call ending, demanding a radical transformative force in American society to dismantle the institutions that merely perpetuate these oppressions restates Fanon s call for the New Man with a much better understanding of the pitfalls along the way If only Fanon would have realized that entrusting the revolution to patriarchs does not result in anyone being free, and instead merely reanimates the rotting cadaver of Europe a monstrous edifice made flesh.


  8. says:

    Life changing, thought provoking, inspiring, and hard to put down basically everything you could want in a book A highly recommended read for people of all races, genders, colors, abilities, and creeds You will learn so much from this book and genuine curiosity and desire for knowledge for the sake of learning will lead you to seek out knowledge about the topics discussed therein and, eventually, you will be better for it Let this book teach you some things you might be afraid to know, let it enlighten you, let it expose you to a whole new world and shine the light on the existence past and present of a large group of underrepresented persons among you.bell hooks writing is highly readable and the concepts and anecdotes she presents are digestable, though at times she can be a little redundant Still, if emphasis in order to remember clearly what you read is what you need, you will get it here There are many times when you will find yourself wanting to remember that concept or remember that sentence and the way she said it in order to recall it later in discussion evidence of a great thinker and a likable writer.


  9. says:

    Une v ritable claque sur la construction des mythes et st r otypes entourant les femmes noires aux tats unis mais les faits pr sent s sont aussi vrais pour le reste du monde Un livre n cessaire qui d montre que le f minisme intersectionnel est la cl pour lutter contre toutes les in galit s.