So my girl Khalilah shared this great article with me yesterday, written in 2008 by Alice Walker’s daughter, Rebecca Walker all about how their relationship was torn apart by Alice Walkers “fanatical feminist views.” Rebecca came to her happiness as a proud mother and wife with no help from her mother, a feminist icon, who felt that having children was a form of slavery. In fact, at least according to Rebecca, Alice Walker, a woman whose writing I loved so much in my youth, played the position of detractor, and competitor to her daughter most of her life and very rarely, if ever, as a supportive and nurturing force. I won’t say too much more about the actual article here since Khalilah and I will definitely be discussing it on a future episode of Soultv.
But I will say this.
I have seen and heard the word Feminism defined, interpreted, remixed, reconfigured and re-framed many times and for varying reasons, but the one theme that seems to remain, is the one in which Feminism is understood to represent the strength, capability and independence of a woman without a man and the diminished tone reserved for women who choose to dedicate as much if not all of their lives to motherhood, family and home as they do to their business or career.
The new Miss USA sparked a ripple of controversy recently, when she was asked about feminism and responded that “As a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism.”
And as expected, feminist twitter went ape shit, just like they did when Chimimanda Adichie suggested that cis women (God, I hate that term) have a different experience in their bodies and in the world than trans women do because we-were-born-women? All of a sudden, Adichie was painted as an enemy of a community which she is actually an advocate for.
All this to say, as much as I would love to believe in and support a future feminism which includes, supports and addresses the needs of Black and Brown women and mothers who proudly love Black and Brown men and want to find spaces which encourage and facilitate the enrichment, re-education and unification of the Black family and community…
It ain’t happened yet.
But if it does and already has, let me know because I’m down. However, I would strongly suggest a change of name for said future movement because the term Feminism, no matter how much we hyphenate and pre-fix it to suit the present day needs of certain ideas about today’s woman, still continues to carry the oppressive and divisive mission associated with it’s early origins, a mission that was created primarily to suit the needs of white women whose needs at the time when the movement evolved were respectfully relevant and though, they may intersect with the needs of Black and Brown and women, will never be equal to them. And that’s just a long way of saying that our needs are vastly different from those of White women and they always will be.
Acknowledging difference seems to really offend certain people unless they’re using difference to discriminate, monopolize, categorize, stereotype and disenfranchise. I see difference as a guide that tells you how to best serve a population whose right it is to thrive and grow like anyone else on the planet.