Feminism to me is not something most Black Women really understand. I know I don’t fully understand it, and how it helps further the cause of Black Women. So many of us are too busy trying to deal with working, sometimes long hours, raising kids, managing our relationships—with our boyfriends, husbands, siblings, parents, etc..at least that’s how it is for me, to be worried about being a feminist.
And the friends I have, they’re too busy trying to ‘compete’ with one another…who has the bigger house? Who drives the best car? Who makes the most money? Yes, I know, sad…but true. Me and my friends share a bond, but that bond does have undertones of being competitive, and catty….
I think deep inside, we want to be closer and unified as Black women, but I think we have too much mental baggage we’re collectively trying to sort out between ourselves and Black men to be concerned about feminism. Yes, there are some Black women who embrace feminism, but I’m not one of those women. I think as we continue to evolve, perhaps that’s something we can become more involved with, once we get some things sorted out with ourselves…just my two cents.
–Diana is a 47 year old black woman from Maryland.
Being a Black Woman, I always felt like in many instances feminism was something that I didn’t relate to or identify with. I see myself as a mother and wife first and foremost. I get it that many women want to get equal pay for equal and sometimes better work when compared to men, but having a family and being happy with my husband and kids mean so much more to me.
I celebrate the success of women like Beyonce and Oprah, and all that they continue to do to represent Black Women, but that’s about it for me. I don’t see how feminism helps advance the cause of Black women; we have very different agendas when compared to those of white, Hispanic, and Asian women. Our community (African-American) has unique concerns, perspectives, and aspirations. And truth be told I feel as if being a feminist limits the possibilities for us as Black women because when working in ‘partnership’ with White women, we are always asked to take a back seat with what we really want to accomplish. I don’t want to come off as sounding racist, because I’m really not, but I just feel that way.
And when it comes to Black women working together, I see so much pettiness and competition amongst us that’s so unnecessary. The collective dysfunction we share among us is very disturbing on many levels.
–Erin is a 37 year old black woman from Pennsylvania.
The feminist movement not something I’ve ever really understood. I mean in the 60’s Black women were more concerned with segregation, and not being harassed at lunch counters in the South. In the late 60s/early 70s, we were about Black Power and building stronger communities…with Black men. In the 80s we began to carve out our own identity. In the 90s, we became the head of many households in our community. In the early 2000s we began setting and carrying out our own agendas, and in this decade, we made even greater strides.
My point here is that feminism was never at the vortex of any of this. Yes, we as Black Women embrace our ‘feminism’, but I never saw myself as a feminist or as one who identifies with and understood the feminist movement. We have a unique path, a unique struggle, and a unique agenda that many [white] feminists can’t relate to on many levels. And while that may sound as if I’m being exclusive, I’m really not.
As a collective, many Black women have made noteworthy contributions to the feminist movement, but that’s not what’s defining us or driving us. I think we feel as if we have so much more to accomplish as Black women, and we’re pursuing these goals, without seeing ourselves as such [feminists]. Maybe in another 20-30 years this may change.
–Judy is a 67 year old black woman from Alabama.
I never thought about feminism much, until you asked me about it, so that alone should tell you how little I identify with feminism or being a feminist.
Growing up, my concerns were making sure I got a good education, taking care of my younger siblings, and as I got older working hard and establishing some level of financial stability/security for myself and my kids.
I’m really not into politics, and being a feminist seems to have a lot of implications in that regard. I do vote—Democrat—but that’s about as much as I concern myself with politics. I guess if someone like Oprah decided to run for President, I might become more concerned or get more involved. The situation with Catherine Pugh (former Mayor of Baltimore), was shameful, and as a Black woman I felt really bad for her; but did feminists support her candidacy? I don’t recall.
I feel more comfortable defining my own interests, agenda, aspirations, goals, etc.
–Audrey is a 34 year old black woman from Maryland.
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