5th Wave Feminism/Womanism That Works FOR Black Women

Whatever “version” of feminism is current it has always been apparent any model based on the needs of one particular group centered around one class tier would simply not work across the board for every woman. In addition the adjacent movement womanism that was to address those imbalances doesn’t necessarily remedy the current injustices faced by the modern black woman.

One of the main discrepancies is in identifying what our needs are to begin with and the underlying mentalities that influence us. While I write about and actively encourage women to dismantle ideologies that are not working for them and support empowerment I do not refer to myself as a feminist or womanist.

Some have claimed women who don’t acknowledge the trailblazers that came before them paving the way for the benefits they enjoy do a disservice to the movement. I can agree with that in theory but failure to recognize core differences in what groups of women need makes that impossible. Not to mention the fact that those trailblazers have been selectively chosen. If one set of women don’t respect the contributions and struggles of another then how is there real solidarity?

One of the main core discrepancies is in how “liberals” view the condition of the black collective – specifically the black male collective. The failure of some white feminists to properly evaluate and acknowledge the way black males have declared war on black women is a huge problem.  There are times they have personally benefitted from it. The adoption of the BM as downtrodden and in need of help meme does nothing to address the numerous obstacles black women face. The OOW birth rate, HIV rate, domestic violence and economic upheaval has a lot to do with whom these women chose to partner with. This is focused on hetero relationships while recognizing the variances of orientation and identity. There’s also the unresolved problems of the unreported abuses  (rapes by known and unknown assailants, the apathy and excuse-making).

I propose a newly revised Black Women’s Liberation Theory that is strictly female empowerment oriented. It should have nothing to do with discussing the oppression of or uplifting black males as the priority focus. In fact, it recognizes that increasingly black males are now in direct competition with black women for resources from the white male dominated society.

Black girls are being used for sex by a variety of predatory males and determining actual consent in these situations is rather challenging. Unless the girl is of age then she can’t give consent and a significantly older male who chooses a much younger female should always have their motives questioned.

The other concern is the fake religiosity and general lack of knowledge for those girls who do not know what gives them pleasure or even the basics of their anatonmy. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance of their own motivations, turn-ons and being familiar and comfortable with their bodies leaves girls vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Girls that have been molested or raped are an even more precarious position as the community support of criminals and adherance to silence renders their trauma void.

In the blog post  ” Table Talk For Activists Part V: Dealing With The  Ikettes” this was discussed by Evia in the comment section:

It’s ALL boils down to black girls and bw making pro-black female (which doesn’t mean anti-male) choices/decisions from moment to moment. But a decision is no better than the information it’s based on. IMO, LOTS ( dare I say the majority) of AA women do NOT get good, sound, and timely information BECAUSE they limit themselves to AA social circles and actually believe that what folks in those circles say to them is the GOSPEL. This is what drives a LOT/the bulk of the dysfunction among AA women–poisonous anti-black female messages/information.

This is why the biggest part of my mission is to help to provide bw with pro-bw information and position-points that will help them to get what they need to ‘Live Well.’

A large part of ‘living well’ in the patriarchial world we live in for ANY heterosexual woman is having a loving and supportive QUALITY MATE who is committed emotionally and financially to her and their children or even just to her. I don’t believe that all women must get married or have children. Still, the quality of your life will be much better if you have a committed quality mate. As men rise in the world, they normally lift the women in their group (except for AAs.) So a Quality man is a real asset–without ANY doubt. The opposite is also true: when men are on the ground, they will keep the women in their group there, IF the woman remains there with him.

Indeed the conversation about What Would White Feminists Do includes:

White women were allowed to take men to task for their behaviour as a collective towards women with no one rushing in to suppress their assertions about men.

I had one such frustrating conversation with a white feminist who has a history of contentious interactions with non-white women in appropriating or dismissing our experiences. She was the self-appointed guard dog speaking on behalf of black males related to the down-low conversations in the media cycle looking at it strictly from a discrimination perspective (even though it has been emphatically stated DL behavior is not limited to one race).

Well that’s another can of worms but suffice it to say arguing about how to identify males who may have sex with other men but are still sexing women is not the main problem. Every male who engages in this behavior may not fit into a box labeled gay so they’re certainly not going to refer to themselves as down-low either. Some men just like to have sex with a variety of people. Some men go on to develop emotional ties with men, women or both.

From the perspective of the woman who is this male’s sex partner and potentially in a relationship it does not matter how he identifies or what he calls himself. The core issue is behaving in a trustworthy manner and protecting your partner. The health and well-being of the woman should be the priority especially when it’s a black women operating from a negative, a place of desperation trying to compensate for the lack of adequate companionship because she’s been indoctrinated to only consider black males as valid mates. Often these same males  have numerous sex partners (of any gender) where using protection is optional. They place value in their sexual conquests and in the ability to procreate, but not in providing, protecting and forming strong familial ties. Hence the OOW and HIV rates being so high.

The bottom line is women have to be of sound mind to set standards and communicate to check on the status of their relationships. Many men are not going to great lengths to hide any destructive behavior, particularly if they’ve been put on a pedestal the way black men have. This isn’t about gay bashing but why living a lie and betraying women is something that needs to be addressed. This is bigger than the DL - this is about ego.

Womanism was supposed to pick up where feminism left off but many black women who consider themselves progressive on women’s issues spend the bulk of their efforts trying to save the black community, uplift black males often at their expense as women. By the harsh reception some have focused on opposing No Wedding No Womb they will fight other black women who wish to practice free agency. There are equally troublesome indicators of  the underlying animus that black women have for each other particularly over competing for the attention and approval of black men.

The major difference is that white women are protected as a group and black women are not. That’s a huge disparity.  It’s why white women are able to complain about the behavior of white men, be in competition with them and not even want to have anything to do with them but still have a door open. It’s how many can be sexually adventurous or embrace the image of a whore and still get to be the housewife. It’s how Gloria Steinem could make a famous statement about men being useless to women but years later marry.

If black love was truly valued then the black family and especially black children would not be in such disarray. In the United States the bulk of this deviant behavior is demonstrated by the native population of African-Americans. The elevation of non-black women by black males and the promotion of their offspring as being inherently superior (color racism, promotion of “multi-cultural” identities) would not be such a prevalent mindset. The desire for them to breed themselves out of existence wouldn’t be met by the equally rabid desire of black women to accept any form of debasement to hold their fleeting attention as a collective.

True freedom for AA black women won’t come without an acknowledgment of their specific ethnic and cultural contributions as well as getting their needs met as women. That includes seeking out all viable males as mates – which isn’t the same thing as choosing someone strictly by race.  For any significant improvement to take place new choices must be made.

Links:

If The Only Victims Are Male & The Only Oppressors White Where Does That Leave Black Women?

http://actsoffaithblog.com/the-rush-to-blindly-defend-so-called-dl-black-men-will-lead-to-the-death-of-more-black-women-from-hivaids

http://actsoffaithblog.com/consider-this-the-black-womans-version-of-act-up

15 comments to 5th Wave Feminism/Womanism That Works FOR Black Women

  • Dr. JoAnne F. Henry

    Really enjoyed this post and am looking forward to reading more. So great to see the next generation out there speaking their truth to

    TPTB!

    Peace

    • Faith

      Thank you very much for commenting and welcome. I hope you may contribute to the vital conversations we're having here.

  • Great post, thank you very much indeed. God bless!

  • i agree faith that we should possibly Not fixate on the 'bots' who are lost or deliberately lost so to say.

    I think the biggie in all this is that it is not just ordinary bw (you know those who lack the depth and analysis to be able to see the issue for what it is) who cling to self negating ideologies or feminism that doesnt prioritize the needs of bw, it is the elite thinkers themselves that know or should clearly be able to work it out, that are involved in this cover up!

    And lets be clear, that these women can and have succesfully pointed out brilliantly how ww have failed to take bw into account (so they are not lacking in mental acuity), its however when bm are brought into the picture that they suddenly and strangely loose their ability to delineate the situation.

    when you look at other groups it is often those who lack the analytical tools and scholarly backgrounds that are male identified or embrace sexism or anti women attitudes, very rarely do you get the learned women deliberately lending their weight to further hurt women or help keep the truth far away or keep men off the hook. i guess it goes back to khadija's concept of the 'ethically insane'.

    Many many of the information portals that bw go to for information are 'manned' by these ethically insane bw. No wonder bw's situation never improves but gets worse, because the real solution is held at bay.

    • Faith

      Yes it does make it more difficult for the average bw to discern the landscape correctly when everyone (but the BWE/BWIR bloggers and a few others) are stating the opposing view. I still can't help but go back to The Matrix where they discuss how a few people know there's something's wrong but can't quite put their finger on it. Once I started working through that indoctrination I realized much of it had been things I was fundamentally opposed to in the first place but it had been subjugated by other black women who wanted to keep me -- and themselves -- in that box.

      I still also think the red or blue pill option has to be given but the focus needs to be on younger women and girls. I'm still heartened that some whom we'd like to be free will remain inside but others will step forward and still more who may have been out but not part of our "group" will realize they need to be more active participants in freeing each other. Hey, I don't know -- but as much as we can we can continue our efforts.

  • Faith I think it is sooo engrained what feminism looks like or should look like that the whole notion of putting away the feminist script (as determined by ww) to create a model from scratch if necessary, would give some bw a full on heart attack. I mean the whole brouhaha over NWNW showed me that some bw ‘have their orders’ which they must stick to, and they just cannot imagine thinking outside the boxes prepared for them, or dream of being disloyal to their instructions (where have we heard that before ha). sad. i kept hearing, 'I understand, but i am under orders to stick like a ‘Pharisee’ to the letter of ‘what feminism should be about’ (as determined by other women's thought processes of course)

    indeed rather than looking at the issue in question and determining what is required in this specific case, it became all about, 'this is how feminism says we should see the issue and this is the approved solution'. I kept having these visions of bw as well trained puppies trying to impose and imprison bw's solutions within a framework determined for woman with a different set of terms over their lives.

    Bw survival is to me the core issue, way ahead even of bw freedom to do what she wants (self determinations), because if bw are not surviving then they don’t get to be self determining but most importantly, if black women are ‘programmed’ or being programmed/instructed to self terminate then she will express her ‘self terminating’ programming even in her choices.

    This is why to me it is so important to analyze the overall conditioning and programming/instructions being issued to bw and within which bw can be seen to be operating and making their 'assumed' self determined choices.

    • Faith

      Halima: Of course we ccan't put the cart before the horse and BW have to recognize the programming. Even moreso they have to abhor it and let it go. As we see and experience by the way so many cling to it many (most?) are not willing to do that!!

      They embrace the dysfunction because there's a trade-off for them that still has value to them even it's a belief based on a lie. They believe in the programming MORE -- even as many will deny it.

      Womanism was designed to address our needs but again it comes back to the programming of what I'll refer to as the BW/BC Bot. Typically African-American, it's a female who parrots everything she's told, follows a script and serves as mammy, mule and sister soldier. She takes her orders from black male-oriented interests that work in opposition to her needs but she wants that male approval more than anything else. These are not the women to be focused on because they will (try to) sabotage forward motion. This is my observation. What do you think?

  • Bellydancer

    Harper's magazine has an article this month by Susan Faludi called

    "Feminism's ritual matricide" it deals with the different waves of feminist and how divided they are sometimes. Here is an excerpt of the article.
    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/10/0083140

    • Faith

      Bellydancer: Thanks for the link! I don't subscribe to Harper's so that excerpt will have to do.

      Audience: I'd like for all of us to continue this conversation about a separate movement within a movement for those black women who have accepted the reasons behind the pending demise of African-Americans and to stop waiting for those males to get it together.

      I didn't really follow the NOW elections last year when Latifa Lyles ran for President because as one might suspect she wasn't going to win. NOW is a white woman's organization for all intensive purposes and they -- unlike AAs -- will not let other groups rule them (not without being a figurehead). My impression of Lyles is that is the antithesis of who she is.

      There was a junior Communications position vacancy a few months ago and applicants were asked to state why they wanted to work for NOW. I took them to task for not releasing a statement in support of Shirley Sherrod. Obviously it wasn't appreciated. I of course understand why an admonishment wouldn't be met with approval but the overall intent was to point out to them yet again that they selectively choose what's important. If it's not the plight of 3rd world women that they can pity (from a paternalistic point of view) what use do they really have for black women?

      I certainly appreciate all the ways white women have helped pushed an agenda that can be of benefit to us all, but I am also aware that's a trickle-down effect. They positioned themselves to be added to EEOC legislation after black women did all the heavy lifting. Black women have always been "feminists". We had no choice. AA women had to work outside the home and do a host of other things just to keep the community solvent. It was never about feeling stifled. It was life and death.

      Back to Lyles: after she lost her bid with NOW she took a federal position as the Deputy Director of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor – the only part of the Federal government specifically tasked with improving the lives of working women. The Women's Bureau works to advance and improve standards, practices and opportunities for women in the labor force.

      There is no official "5th Wave" by the way. That's a metaphor for what we NEED to be focusing on: OURSELVES before putting the needs of others before them. Again, at the end of the day it should have nothing to do with what black men decide to do (make sweeping changes, remain stagnant, continue to deny, keep being destructive) lest any women throw away more time WAITING.

      Betty: Thank you Betty. Your posts always offer great clarity as well!!
      Pro-black woman does NOT mean Anti-anybody else
      We'll have to keep repeating that until it sinks in. Yes the mere idea that black women being baby mommas en masse as atrocious had a very interesting response. I don't know how the backlash could have been prevented except to have not broached the topic at all and trying to reason with ethically insane people is futile. I imagine the attempt at dismantling any entrenched dysfunction would be met with the same type of behavior -- but the naysayers helped spread the message.

      Coming & Going: Thanks for your feedback. I don't want us to focus too much on what black males are and aren't doing. It's only for analysis purposes en masse and for those individual men that reciprocate, provide & protect. If we paid the leeches and dead weight ones the same amount of attention they paid us (little except when they want our resources) we'd be so much better off!!

  • Awesome, awesome post. Beautiful in its clarity.

    We're still learning from the #NWNW feedback, yes? And the learning has been most excellent.

    >>Black Women’s Liberation Theory that is strictly female empowerment oriented.

    Yes! And stop people trying to play us with this thinking that being pro-black woman is anti-anybody else. We have the right to define ourselves. We have the right to discuss among ourselves the best in life for black women, and let the coattail riders, hangers-on, dead weights, parasites, and black-male protectionists go get bent. :)

  • Faith:

    You are so on point, in your observation that black men are often so full of egotism that they are uninterested in anything resembling community-restoring, which can include (but is not limited to) committing to and establishing families.

    Some years ago, I volunteered with an adult literacy group, one which taught reading to adults (who were sent to the organization by various social service agencies). Most of the volunteers were white women, some were white men, and others were black women. No AA men there, in a group based in DC, a majority-black city. Anyhow, during our orientation, one of the other AA women said that her boyfriend (presumably also AA), when she mentioned the group to him, told her that the group met on the night of his favorite tv show as a reason not to participate! (So we can also presume that this non-participant is also educated, a "good" BM.) How sad. Sadder still would be if this women is still involved with this "man."

    Unfortunately,such egotistical apathy is way too common among AA males, of whatever education level. (Even when the apathy is not coupled with downright disdain and refusal to help AA women, such as in Shirley Sherrod's situation.)

  • Evia Moore

    Hey Faith, I just dropped in and lo an behold, there's a quote from me. LOL! My ears were burning, I guess. Thanks.

    One of the main issues is that MOST AA women have not looked at our situation squarely because I guess it's overwhelming and really scary for some to do that. I've said this before--the main reason why ww can say and do what they please and still generally have the support and protection of wm is because wm want and are determined for their line to continue for thousands of years into the future and in a controlling position (no matter what they have to do), barring a nuclear war or something like that. They (their leaders or those in those think tanks) therefore plan their line's future with that in mind. Many average joes and janes are very aware of that on some level. Therefore, the males uphold their females and endure what they must in order to do so. They know that when their women are beaten down, the next stop is a free fall over the cliff for her, him, their offspring, their group because life comes through the female.

    Many typical AA males/men, for a host of reasons don't even think about or plan for their line continuing 5 or even 25 years let alone 100, 500 or 5000 years. If he did, there wouldn't be 70+% of AA children in an OOW situation because father-abandonment puts those children at great risks of debilitation and death, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that. Lots of the so-called "good" AA men don't really care either because if so, they would jack those baby daddies up in various (legal) ways because that high of an OOW rate puts all AA men behind the 8-ball and ultimately in peril. Let's face it. This is why many people do NOT value an AA man's life nearly as much. He's just another "N" baby daddy type to them because he is not seen as bringing much/any value to anyone--not even his children. At least, the baby mama stays with those children and struggles to her death (in various ways) with them which is a type of value she's providing. This is why some folks in other groups actually admire baby mamas. LOL! They might think they're kinda sorta dimwitted, but they still admire them. I certainly have a certain amount of hesitant admiration for those foolish babymamas because I would never be able to do what they do. I would cave in before the end of the month if I had to handle my sons all alone! For real! However, if I had to go to war, I would much rather have a bunch of babymamas at my back than those babydaddies.

    Folks can hate me for saying this, but the typical non-AA person I've known yawns when the topic of the "plight" of AA men arises because if those AA males can stomach those children being at risk to that extent, then what good are they? Unfortunately, the higher quality bm are lumped in with the bad.

    So the first step is for AA women to face the cold fact that they are ALONE in a savage wilderness far away from any type of help. If they looked at it like that, they would then drop all of the pettiness that some bw have against each other and come together and devise a multi-pronged plan to survive and thrive for the next 5000 years. These women would sit down and figure out, for ex., where are we going to get higher quality men from and how are we going to do it (just like Asian women have done) and then implement that plan. You can't convince me that some among those Asian women didn't think that strategy out with a degree of deliberateness. That's just for starters. AA women would approach ALL of their major needs with that type of deliberateness--if they truly believed that no help was coming.

    However, many AA women--down deep inside--STILL believe that if they complain enough, long enough, protest enough, vote enough, and kiss up to AA men enough, and continue with other forms of magical thinking enough that AA men and others in society will change their ways and come to their rescue, love them, protect them or somebody somewhere (maybe their deity) will come and save them. I had drilled one of my offline bw pals down to that point where she confessed that she can't believe that no one cares about bw. She said she just can't believe that. She looked so bewildered and lost until I felt sorry for her.

    • Faith

      Evia: Well I've been combing the archives of many of our conversations lately for clarity. I see things coming together and want to make sure I'm progressing on my own journey but also keeping the ball rolling for other women who are amenable to hearing the message. I agree that most AA women still believe a program, a male change of heart and/or divine intervention is going to sprinkle pixie dust and we'll all wake up like Pam did on that Dallas episode to find Bobby in the shower and the past year was a bad dream. Meanwhile while many continue to procrastinate and deny the reality things continue to deteriorate. They'll keep fighting it and denying it while other women thrive.

  • [...] Whatever “version” of feminism is current it has always been apparent any model based on the needs of one particular group centered around one class tier would simply not work across the board for every woman. In addition the adjacent movement womanism that was to address those imbalances doesn’t necessarily (Read more …) [...]