Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Womanism, Black Feminism and Feminism

                     The term 'Womanism' was first used by Alice Walker in her work In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose in 1983. Womanism and Feminism are not the same. The first is a movment of black American women who considered Feminism as a middle-class white women's movement that didn't take up the issues of the women of color. Alice Walker explains a womanist as:

  1. A woman who loves and respects other women as well as society at large.
  2. Considers women's sensitive, emotional make up as special fetures of women.
  3. she attempts to strenghten the society and is committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.
  4. A" 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.”                           
                          Womanism can be contrasted to feminism as the first celebrated womanhood, her role in society and supports the survival of all. It caters to the emotional, sensitive life of women and recognized the collective life of human society. It fought against racism, sexism and economic exploitation. Feminism, on the other hand, was a movement of middle class woman in 19th century which stood for the civil rights of women. The right to vote was one of the key concern of first generation feminism and it fought against sexism of male dominate society. Radical Feminists considered family, marriage etc...as economic institutions which intimidated women and supported homosexuality. Womanism suggests an alternative movement in which women confront gender, social oppression without leaving her inane womanist features.

           Black Feminism is a derivative of Feminism which worked for black women's social, political and educational rights in the US. It deals with women related issues of American women of color but lacks global perspective. It carries some of concerns of womanism such as recognition of African roots, method of defining black women's standpoint etc...

           Womanist concerns can be traced in the works of Tony Morrison, Bessy Head, Alice Walker and Ama Atha Aithu.  Ain't I a Woman? by Bell Hooks presents some of the key ideas of womanism.

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