Yesterday I had the privilege of attending Feminism 2.0, a conference devoted to creating a bridge between feminism and social media. During one of my comments, I mentioned that I was a womanist political blogger. The one thing that kind of surprised me was the number of women–young and old, black and white–who had never heard the term womanism and were not sure what it is.
So in this post, I will do my best to clear the air and let people know what I mean by womanist.
Let’s start with Alice Walker’s definition:
“the black folk expression of mothers to female children, ‘You acting womanish,’ i.e. like a woman … usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous, or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered ‘good’ for one … [A womanist is also] a woman who loves other women sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture … and women’s strength … committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist … Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.”
So what does this mean to me? It means a concept, a culture that is devoted to women in general and women of color in particular. It means a culture that supports the idea of bridging the gap between family and motherhood and feminism; BOTH can coexist. It means standing for reproductive health, equal pay, education, and speaking out about violence against women. And, yes, it means supporting and working with men as opposed to treating them like the enemy.
A Feminist Theory Dictionary talks more about this:
It includes the word “man”, recognizing that Black men are an integral part of Black women’s lives as their children, lovers, and family members. Womanism accounts for the ways in which black women support and empower black men, and serves as a tool for understanding the Black woman’s relationship to men as different from the white woman’s. It seeks to acnowledge and praise the sexual power of Black women while recognizing a history of sexual violence.
Read the rest of the article here
I believe in the power of defining your own feminist ideals. I really do. I am devoted to many of the issues that feminism has fought, from choice to equal pay. However, I do love and support Black men, and I want them to be included in the dialogue. I do love wearing heels and MAC Lipglass and I like watching Girlfriends and Sex and The City. I’m in a sorority. I do want to raise children one day. And, yes, I can own these things about myself, and still define myself as a womanist. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
So, here are some links to books and blogs about womanism and related issues:
Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose
bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
James H. Cones, A Black Theology of Liberation
Delores Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness
bell hooks, Feminist Theory (I include this because Womanism is very similar to Black Feminism and I would be remiss if I didn’t include bell hooks in this discussion)
…and here are a few blogs:
Womanist Musings (awesome womanist blog!)
Racialicious (LaToya is a Hip Hop Feminist…again, cut from the same cloth)
If you are a womanist and have a blog, please add your link in the comments.
More on Feminism 2.0:
Jen Nedeau at has a great wrap-up at Change.org
Cynthia Samuels also talks about her Fem 2pt0 experience at Don’t Gel Yet
Tweets is Watchin: Twitter feed of all things Fem 2pt0.
And as always, if you have a link to another post on this great event, post it in the comments!