Gender inequality has maintained the suppression of women worldwide and unfortunately has impacted third world countries with the greatest magnitude. Everyday in these countries there are countless occurrences of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse that must be acknowledged as a primary concern for the world to help overcome. It is however important to recognize specific cultural and religious practices of gender hierarchy that are accepted by women in these countries. While keeping this in mind it is of paramount importance to keep sight of the consequences of abusing these cultural practices at the expense of women’s liberation and development.
As time passed, European domination drastically altered the African landscape – both physically and culturally. Traditional roles, practices, and beliefs were either completely subverted or modified to fall in line with European cultural ideals. Doubtlessly, this process of subjugation worked to the detriment of native populations throughout the continent. Even though all members of indigenous communities have suffered under this system, African women remain especially vulnerable to its harmful effects. As Mary Kolawole points out in her comprehensive work, Womanism and African Consciousness, these women must confront a set of oppressions unique to their position as both black Africans and women. During her discussion of African women’s current struggle for recognition, Kolawole argues that, although colonialism displaced many African traditions, the patriarchal social structure remained. In many ways, she holds, European colonization widened the rift between African men and women even further (Kolawole 34). Although African and European traditions share in the elevation of the male over the female, most African cultures offered women a greater position of respect within society, as well as more “positive avenues of self-liberation” than were available to European women
To quote Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, an influential modern feminist, in her song ‘Flawless’ she defines a feminist as “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes”
Stereotypes and negative prejudice related to the body and identity of afro descendant women have generated over dimensionality of their sexuality, affecting their relation with the rest of the population and with afro descendant men.
What does it mean to be a Feminist? Does it automatically mean you hate men or does it mean you're an activist for women's rights? Contrary to popular belief, feminism is not about establishing a superior gender. It is about fighting for equality and destroying the social, cultural and historical norms set upon women throughout the world. The Twenty-first century has brought change and growth to female empowerment. Although, in many parts of the world women are given the same rights as men, they are still treated and viewed inferior to men. G.I. Jane perfectly illustrates the struggle women have gone through, even when given “identical” opportunities as men.
During present times, society has been created for the majority group. Society has been used in order to use forms of sexual norms and use of gender to shape our lives. Ultimately, ones identity becomes most important and directly correlates with the struggles and limitations they will encompass in life. Therefore, forcing people to choose between which identities will be less problematic. The dominant majority in society uses power and politics to run the lives of the less powerful. Even though all women are oppressed for their gender, some have more of a plight. White women have been known to use their power dynamics to oppress those of racial minorities, even when oppressed they. Women of color have been oppressed on all fronts in life. One can't fight fire with fire, but fight fire with water, fight racism with solidarity. According to Nadine Naber, “There are basics that many Western Feminist do not even address. So, I do get frustrated sometimes by some feminist who try to impose their agendas on others or try to dictate to other women what they should be concerned with (page 164).” In order to understand feminism for women of color, especially Arab and Arab American women, one must understand the class and race struggles. As the bottom of the ladder, the women of color feminist movement have suffered. Nevertheless, the women being silent from the movement. Therefore, we must reflect and understand the need for unity that will overcome the grip that is suffocating us.
The social class that an individual is raised in is one of many factors that determine where that individual will end up in society. An excerpt from They Say/I Say suggests that gender can affect how individuals are viewed and treated in society. Monica Potts provides a fantastic viewpoint from poor white women. Potts’ excerpt, What’s Killing Poor White Women gives light to a not so widely discussed or recognized topic. Potts writes about the unending cycle of the need of welfare amongst generations. This is due to generation after generation being born into the same social class and situation. It is very difficult to escape this lifestyle. Potts writes, “If you are a woman, and you are
"Our politics initially sprang from the shared belief that Black women are inherently valuable, that our liberation is a necessity not as an adjunct to somebody else 's may because of our need as human persons for autonomy". The opening of the second part of The Combahee River Collective Statement, What We Believe, expresses one of the major will of the Third World Feminist studies: making Women a topic of research in its own rights. It 's in 1977 that the Combahee River Collective, a US radical feminist lesbian group, wrote this very famous manifesto that became essential for the Black Feminism Mouvement. They made as central the total recognition of the different forms of oppressions, sexual, racial, social, that black women endure and the necessity to fight against them. Therefore, the integration of notions of gender, sexuality, race, class in any feminist analysis that deals with power and domination become unavoidable. They express clearly the logical result of their struggle, the destruction of the political, social and economical system as they are the representative basis of an unfair and racist society. To bring a fresh way of looking at the position of some women in the American society turn to be a way to consider differently the organisation and the functioning of the actors of a society on a national and also international level.
It critically addresses the dynamics of the conflict between the main stream feminist, the Black Feminist, the African Feminist and the Africana Womanist. The conclusion is that Africana Womanism and its agenda are unique and separate from both white feminism and Black Feminism, and more over, to the extent of naming in particular, Africana Womanisms differs from Africana feminism”(Alexander-Floyd & Simien 2006: 67).
Feminism is derived from the word “femina” which means woman. It is primarily focused on issues affecting women and their resistance to tyranny from patriarchy. Feminism seeks to free women from their traditional chains of oppression, subjugation, and exploitation. African writer’s however chooses to subvert from the term Feminism because of its Western origin. Also Nigerian women writer’s believe that using the term Feminism Nigerian men would believe they are forming an alliance with the Westerner’s and their ideal of Feminism. Nigerian women writer prefer using terms such as “Womanism, Motherism, and STIWANISM” because of its peaceful movement and committed to survival and wholesomeness of entire people but who loves herself regardless. It does not seek to separate but to form meaningful union between black men and women and black children and determined to see that men begin to change from their sexist stance. Unlike the Radical feminist in Feminism African women prefers to challenge patriarchy through negotiation and compromise, a foundation of shared values and principles in many African culture. Adichie use of feminism and womanism is prevalent in Purple Hibiscus through its female
The identity of African women juxtaposed to the Western women’s identity is a hard concept for one to grasp. The word feminism is merely looked at from one perspective, the western perspective. The reality of feminism is that everywhere in the world has a different idea of what feminism is defined as and what it should look like. However there is one central theme that applies to feminists around the world, which is a feminist is someone who goes against traditional roles of a woman in their society to better their gender as a whole.
Adichie first realized the problem when she began discussing her initial experience of being called a feminist. She was was arguing with her friend Okoloma and he called her a feminist. Adiche blantanty described that it seemed more of
In Of Woman Born (1977), Adrienne Rich unwittingly captures all the nuances of the African traditional social milieu when she describes patriarchy as:
I don't think I quite remember when I started to identify as a black feminist. There was never that moment of clarity because to me black women are equal to everyone, we deserve to be recognized and celebrated just like everyone else. This movement was founded on the historical disadvantage of women. Black feminism to be specific is the desire for equal access to opportunities for females, not systemic racism, sexism, mass incarceration etc. People get so hung up on the word but fail to realize that feminism fights for gender equality in a culture that has historically devalued women. Feminism isn't about making women stronger, we're already strong. It's about society acknowledging that strength and treating us as equals. What everyone fails