I don’t embrace feminism, and I feel most Black women don’t because we’re too busy with raising kids, working, and bonding with other Black women. Doesn’t mean we are against feminists and what they stand for. I also feel like we as Black women we are so misunderstood. Most people think we don’t like men and white women, nothing could be further from the truth.
I feel like we love ourselves as Black women, and the stature we have globally. But others don’t respect us enough for what we do and the impact we have.
I enjoy being a mother, sister, and daughter. What does feminism have to do with that? Nothing in my opinion. Also, I feel like feminism is a quasi-lesbian movement. Some women who I know are lesbian, have hit on me. They can have that.
What I’d like to see is Black women having their own movement. Black feminists maybe? I don’t know. But I’ve seen the bonds that we as black women share with one another, and the power we have when we’re united. We can do great things. That’s something I can see myself being a part of.
–Gina is a 41 year old black woman from Maryland.
When I was younger, I definitely considered myself to be a feminist. Back then I believed it was important that women have the same opportunities for economic and professional advancement, and that we as women help and support one another. I don’t feel that way anymore. Being a homeowner now, and having made enough advances professionally and thus having accomplished some personal goals, and therefore having a measure of financial security, I just feel as if I’ve made enough strides to be less concerned about the current issues which are important as a feminist.
I used to be very sensitive and aware of sexism, and how males would encounter or address me, and I would cringe when men would say ‘Hey Babe’, or ‘What’s up hun?’. I have to laugh now at how that would really grind my gears to a certain extent. I also feel that African-American women such as Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama have really elevated the status and stature of Black women on the global stage in recent years. I want to make it clear that by no means am I interjecting race with regards to feminism, but in some instances African-American women and women of color in general have been excluded from the feminist movement.
Not meaning to digress, but I do ‘support’ equal rights for women. I just feel personally the feminist movement is something I don’t embrace as much as I’ve matured and grown wiser.
–Michelle is a 50 year old black woman from Pennsylvania
I believe that African-American women have too many other concerns to be worried about feminism. With so many of us having to raise children and families on our own—and that in and of itself is an immense amount to stress—most of us don’t have the bandwidth to be concerned about the issues that matter with feminists. Black women are making less than Black men and White Men and Women, so how would embracing modern-day feminism help advance us in this regard??
Don’t get me wrong, I do feel that feminism can help African-American women when it comes to closing the gap with regard to professional and political advancement; the attention Senator Kamala Harris received as a result of her announcing her bid to run for President of the United States was evidence of this. But it was the lack of support from these feminists which caused her to end her campaign in my opinion. I truly believe many women of color—not just African-American women—would like to be a part of this movement, but for whatever reason, we’re just not being made to feel like this is something that includes us.
–A.J. is a 32 year old African American from New Jersey
I am a woman who doesn’t feel the need to identify as being a feminist to feel good about myself. I sense that in many cases a lot of women feel the need to do such.
What makes me feel good about me is being able to provide for my kids, be supportive of them and encourage them to be better people. Of course I don’t always succeed at this, but I continue to try. Truth be told I never understood how feminism helped further the cause of Black women. Whenever I saw or heard something in the media about feminism or the feminist movement, it was always attached to or associated with white women.
If Oprah or Michelle (Obama) decided to run for President, I wonder how many people who identify as being ‘feminist’ would support them? Kamala Harris got considerable support at the start of her campaign, but that quickly fizzed as it was apparent in her debate appearances, she really didn’t identify herself as being a feminist.
If feminists want to include more of us (Black women), they’re going to have to do more, and be willing to understand our perspective more. As is stands now, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. But I could be wrong.
–Tracy is a 51 year old black woman from Maryland.
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