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.