Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is Spelling Woman With a Y Enough?

A recent CharcoalInk post raises a few interesting questions in regard to the direction of the feminist movement. Is there adequate representation for women of color? Should there be a separate forum? Is the movement moving forward or is it mostly for show these days?

What are your thoughts about the current state of feminism, and gender-relations in society today?

Recommended Reading:

Black Macho and The Myth of The Superwoman by Michelle Wallace


Mrs. Grapevine said...

I am a womanist, and I like that term better. If I want to submit to my husband I can, and if I want to start my own business I can. As a black woman, married with sons, I think I have to be real careful how I label myself and the gender roles I perpetuate in my household. I have to learn a balance because there are egos that need to be stroke and sometimes I need to know when to stand my ground and when to sit back and be quiet, so that I raise men. On the other hand I want my sons to appreciate the intellect and power that is woman, so balance is a must.

I use to label myself as a feminist, mainly because I went to an all girl school, and mainly because I was raised by a single parent, my mom. But after studying and using it as a literary critique, I realize I'm not really that progressive. I'm more of a traditionalist, and I use the bible as my Guide. Now, I have some really conservative views on sex, gender roles, and decorum.

I don't believe women should do everything that men do. I believe we were made different for a purpose. I do however believe in civil rights and intellectual equality, and that's what was and sometimes is lacking in patriarchal society.

The state of feminist is fading. I think women are realizing that the spectrum of womanhood is so much greater, and the common bonds are slowly growing apart. What does it mean now to be a feminist? What do women want? It's almost like saying What does it mean to be black, and what do blacks want?

aulelia said...

thanks for linking me to this post. i believe it's important.

mrs grapevine -- i think your comment is very interesting. however, i do think that because the spectrum of womanhood is greater, it means that more common bonds can be found.

i respect that you use the Bible as your guide, but seeing that it was a document that is allegdely written by men, does it hold more substance and how does it inform you on how to be a woman if it was written by the stroke of a man?

i don't think black women should tread on eggshells in terms of sitting back. our voices are damn important and i don't see why we should have to adapt to men to save face.

great post!

PurpleZoe said...

Thankyou both for visiting.

Thanks Aulelia for the kudos^_^
Your post inspired it.

Personally I'm very anti-egostroke.
I don't think a women should ever have to play herself down. It creates imbalance, and soooo much conditioning has gone into making that a practice in society.

As for the Bible (see the earlier 'Who wrote the Bible' post for the documentary details that prove it). Too much editing has taken place with it. I prefer to follow my heart when listening to God/The Source.
For women especially, the fact that so many books of the original Bible have been cut and deleted, included one reputed to have been written by Mary Magdalene, it's important to know the true history of any following or tradition. Alot of it is conditioning that is anti-female and anti-original Kemetian (African ) culture.
I appreciate the true spirituality in all spiritual schools/paths, but am VERY leary of the 'politics' in them.

We have a looooooong way to go to reclaim the truths that were buried, but standing for who we are and what feels right or wrong to us does much in creating paths for future conscious females and males who don't rely on fear-mongering to control each other.
Love is definitely not about control or superiority complexes.

As people of color we have to be careful with our identity and who is actually writing the script that we agree defines our culture.
Unity is vital, but to have Unity every culture needs to be respected. This is why the colonization based 'washing over' of other cultures with one style, or set of traditions is detrimental to unity.

For the same reason a forum for females or males of either gender that embraces identity sans the superiority propaganda is necessary to Unity.

I might be a little all over the place with that but it's meant to tie into the point that we basically need to have forums where people can be who they are and stand for their civil rights, without the pressure to conform to anyone else's ideal. Culturally specific forums are important, and there may need to be forums for women of color who wish to see the celebration of their feminist icons and traditions given adequate focus.

Mrs. Grapevine said...

I didn't say walk on eggshells and don't be afraid to be a woman. I believe I spoke of intellectual equality and equal civil rights. I said in my particular household I have to find my balance. I can't dominate and battle everything, there has to be a partnership, and not a power struggle. In any relationship male/female or female/female you will have to learn to find that balance. I just had to clear that up. I also said "if" I wanted to submit, I could, but the same thing goes for my husband unto me. I was definitely misinterpret.

I took some time to post a bit about womanism, and I why choose to be called such; so that their isn't any confusion about what we are discussing:

According to Alice Walker:

"Womanism brings a racialized and often class-located experience to the gendered experience suggested by feminism. It also reflects a link with history that includes African cultural heritage, enslavement, women's culture, and a kinship with other women, especially women of color. As Walker also told the Times, "Feminism (all colors) definitely teaches women they are capable, one reason for its universal appeal. In addition to this, womanist (i.e. black feminist) tradition assumes, because of our experiences during slavery, that black women are capable." Her original definition made clear that a womanist included any, "feminist of color... Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or non-sexually. Appreciates and prefers women's culture, women's emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women's strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or non-sexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health. Traditionally universalist... Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless."

We will have to agree to disagree on the bible. I found many people think Christianity is a white man's religion. How can something created in Africa not belong to Africans. The bible is full of heroines, that were so amazing men had to tell their stories. Anything can be read from a feminist stand point if you know your history and if you look beyond the simplicity.

I am literary major and I critique everything I read. I have studied the chapters left out of the bible. Just because a man wrote it, doesn't mean it can't be valuable to me. I read plenty of literature from black women that I relate to. I am a black author, as well.

As far as ego stroking, everyone likes to be praised. If we spent more time building people up with their strengths, instead of beating them down with their weaknesses the world will be a better place. If we allow others to shine instead of always having the spotlight, more leaders will step up. I didn't say extinguish your essence, or compromise yourself for another.

Words are very arbitrary and you have to be very careful what you read into them, and how you write it. I hope this clears up some of my points, if we disagree I prefer that we are each on the same page of understanding each others arguments.

I am just happy to be amongst beautiful women that I can communicate with and learn something new. Keep inspiring and enlightening me Purple Zoe. Believe it not I learn something new every time I come here, and that's why continue to come.

PurpleZoe said...

Lifting someone up to support them and applaud their light is beautiful and something we would all benefit from participating in more often with the people in our lives.

I guess it depends on what you consider ego-stroking to be. My perspective places ego-stroking and support in two different categories as far as definitions go.

Ego stroking brings servile images to mind, which is why I commented that I'm anti-ego stroke. I'm a serious cheerleader for situations where involved parties can just 'be', apologize when they're wrong, and seek solutions together wherever applicable.
Ego-stroking sounds to me like someone who silences themselves to make someone else happy, or stands beneath another for sake of the person's ego and not necessarily for the highest good.

I agree that words can be read into perhaps beyond their original intended use, and with the internet body language and other forms of subtle communication are missing. I think the essence of things can be felt though... at least in most cases.

Thankyou for bringing the definition of Womanism to the table because I have heard very little of it, and didn't immediately recognize the term. I'd like to do some reading and verse myself in this more deeply. It sounds like a forum where women of color can celebrate the legacy of strong female ancestors, which is one of the questions that was raised.
If this forum already exists it can be shared with the younger generations, so it's not lost and its value stays fluid.

As for the Bible... You know how these talks can turn into huge debates.
While I take an Interfaith approach, I tend to look for the spiritual principles from all religions, and schools of thought.
It's the propaganda that I watch out for.

We all have our own perspectives, and The Source speaks to everyone differently. That's pretty much where I'm coming from on that.

One of my favorite books is 'How to know God' by Deepak Chopra, because it focuses on diversity and is a pretty deep read. I don't agree with all of his views, but I treasure most of them because they're fluid.

My take is a little different concerning traditional roles because I can have a hard time with the box-like effect roles can assume. I feel both sexes are beautiful but I don't attribute fixed attributes where I can help it. I know folks who do, but I also know folks who have been stifled by them so I'm more interested in celebrating the freedom to be. I think we learn more about ourselves when we are blooming than when we're straining to fit into a something.

I mean only to speak from my perspective and have no intention of devaluing yours. We may have different viewpoints but that's the beauty of individuality.

I appreciate the time you've taken to comment, and I'm humbled that you say you learn something everytime you visit.
I'm grateful for that, because I hope to share items of worth that are at their least, food for thought.