Tag Archives: African women

Guest Submission: Women’s Disciplines.

Author and scholar, Alice Walker, shed light on a discipline that made Black women feel at the center. There are two disciplines, which are broken into two parts, feminism and womanism. Womanism was first coined by Walker in a narrative essay entitled “Womanism: Coming Apart.” In 1983, Walker went into depth further when she explained just exactly who the womanist is.

Slide1
Each of the disciplines can be problematic for some. For an example, feminism falls into two categories [white] feminism and Black feminism. Womanism is also broken down into womanism, coined by Walker and Africana womanism, which was coined by Clenora Hudson-Weems. Each of the disciplines have stated the problem, as most disciplines do. Feminism is problematic on so many different levels because although there were Black women who were the first feminists, the construct like many others faced a “manifest destiny.” This meaning that the ideology was removed and stripped by white supremacist though or the social construct of whiteness. 

images-128
When white feminists first began their movement, many of them were abolitionists. Even then, the white abolitionists within the slave period had no understanding that slavery was not the overall issue. Our history has taught us that. Humanity was an even larger issue. Once enslaved Africans were freed they were exposed to another world of problems thanks to what whiteness represented.  Black women were not included into the [white] feminist conversation. Why? Black women, the African woman had agency over herself before slavery, during slavery and after slavery. Enslaved Africans viewed their slaveowner’s wives as defenseless creatures. Even in enslavement, the African woman, knew and recognized her role and how important that would be for her people. Slavery, never allowed for her to lose sight of that. Feminism appeared to be more about working, something that African women were already breaking their backs to do, identity, something that African women were consciously aware of because of the extreme trauma that they faced, and being in the white man’s shoes, which was not a desire of the AFRICAN woman. Therefore, in so many ways many both men and women of African descent view feminists who not only identifies the man as the enemy within our patriarchal society, but within the same breath actually desires to wear his shoes. 

Unknown-33

Alice Walker states in “Womanist” (1983) that the womanist is “committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.” The question must be asked does feminism do the same thing in both white and Black disciplines? Walker also states that a  womanist is “wanting to know more and in greater depth than considered “good” for one.” This means, that the Black woman is concerned about Black people and not just Black women. She values and loves the Black woman “sexually and/or nonsexually,” but also has this same feeling for the Black man. A womanist has an understanding that we have faced so much together as a people, that it would make no sense within a white supremacist society to identify one another as the enemy. Who is the enemy? What white men and white WOMEN represent is the enemy to the discipline of womanism. Whiteness is the enemy. Walker when she coined womanism did have every intention on the attempt to support Black feminists, because they are our sisters. Hudson-Weems felt as though womanism was still too much similar to the discipline of feminism. Africana womanism, chooses to identify the homeplace, which is Africa. Not only is Africana womanism about agency as women, it is about the agency of being African. Womanism and Africana womanism has many differences, but they both target “whiteness” as the ultimate issue, because of the collective social injustices that we face in this world.

_WjOemkw

-Melanie “CoCo” McCoy

Advertisements

Women are Still Oppressed in the Name of Culture.

Botswana: A landmark victory between constitutional laws vs culture has kept four sisters in their home. The four women, Edith Mmusi (80) and her three sisters Bakhani Moima (83), Jane Lekoko (77), and Mercy Ntsehkisang (68), have fought for the past five years to stay in their family home.

image-16
In many African countries, the right of the firstborn male, or closest male relative, to inherit family property – is still standard practice.Women are denied the right to inherit the family estate purely because of their gender, a custom that is upheld by some traditional leaders.However, Tswana custom prescribes that the family home is inherited either by the first-born or last-born son, depending on the community.

When the sister’s father passed away, the four women came together and took care of the expenses and upkeep of their home. Meanwhile, their nephew won the home in Customary Court of Appeal and the court ordered the sisters be evicted. The sisters stood together and fought for their home. Even though, this decision has caused tension in their family, the sisters are grateful to make strides in the new century of breaking customs for what is due to them.

_70630509_dsc_0533

Confidence in Your Cut!

As females our hair can become our security blanket. No one matter tragic our life may be the one thing we always have is our hair. I know a few people who will not cut their hair past a certain length because the thought of their blanket being too short fears them. Even when our bodies get struck down by diseases there are hundreds of wigs we can choose from to allow us feel safe under our newly purchased security blanket. However, what happens when we decide it is time for us to cut past our comfort zone the very thing we have held onto to for years….our hair.

558119_3587089119327_528685231_n

I’ve had multiple people come to me and mention how brave I am to cut my hair. I believe one has to be mentally prepared for the cut because there are mental changes that happen. For instance, I had shoulder length hair which was very versatile. When I cut my hair I would lay in bed in the mornings and think about how I had to comb down my wrap. Then it would dawn on my that I had a low cut. Another time I found a hairstyle I liked and planned to do it once I got back home. Then it dawned on my again how I had a low cut. Cutting my hair messed me up mentally for a few months.

406400_3082583987014_825094574_n

I want to clear something up though. When I say cut I do not mean completely off like I have my hair. I simply mean cut past one’s comfort zone. So if your hair is to the middle of your back and you cut it into a bob cut-thats a new style which requires confidence to rock. I transitioned into my confidence. When I first cut my hair I would never go outside without earrings because I left I would look like a boy. However, last night I noticed how much I have grown by going out two days in a row without earrings and feeling beautiful.

403071_3082725510552_2041086323_n

I do believe if I had cut my hair before I was ready to then my confidence with my cut would have been a long journey. Not only do you have to build confidence from within but exemplify your confidence to others. I had a member of my church tell me she was upset that I cut my hair and how she did not like my cut at first. However, after a few months she fell in love with the cut on me and does not want me to grow my hair back. (She is not the first person to tell me to not grow my hair back) Her comment simply results from the confident and the security in knowing how well my new hair cut complimented me.

397803_3082599507402_1837245950_n

Overall, whenever YOU are ready to cut YOUR hair make sure you stand firm to your decision because you believe it is the best decision for you. Guess what?? If that cut does not compliment you, let your hair grow back (because it will) and cut it in a new style once its able to be cut again. No matter how your hair looks find the beauty within yourself and rock your hair to the fullest!!

~B.R.A.T. (Black, Radical and Thorough)