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Black Feminism

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Black Feminism The theme of this essay will look at black feminist perspectives on gender, firstly from this perspective a black women's experience provides stimulation of the feminist awareness. Black feminism writings highlights the importance of aspects of the past, which inform the current issues facing black women. The writings of American black feminists emphasise the influence of the powerful legacy of slavery, segregation and the civil rights movement on gender inequalities in the black community. They point out that early black groups of women at the early part of the century supported the campaign for women's rights, but realised that the question of race needed recognition. Black women have always suffered from discriminated based on their skin colour and gender. In recent years, black women have not been central to the women's liberation movement, taking control of their identities much less, than of concepts of their race. The oppression of black women is visible in different locations compared to that of white women. Black feminism argues, therefore, that any theory of gender equality, which does not consider racism, should not claim to explain black women's oppression adequately. Class dimensions are another factor, which needed acknowledgement, particularly, in the case of the black women, also black women in the labour market, which will be touched upon further in the essay. Some black feminists have understood the strength of black feminist theory to be the focus on the relationship between race, class, and gender concerns, (Anthony Giddens 2001:118). ...read more.


Ideologies of black female sexuality do not come about primarily from the black family. The way the gender of the black women is constructed differs from constructions of white femininity because it is also subject to racism (Heidi Safia Mirza 1998:45, 46). Much of the black women's critique has highlighted the suppression within feminism of black/ white difference. This happens in one of two ways, the first that the rejection of difference, which is understood in the assumption that all women have particular interests in common. Looking at this closely, by all accounts worldwide interests tend to be those of a particular group of women. For instance, the pro-abortion feminist stance in the 1970s did not take into account the large numbers of black women's reproductive struggles. Without proper consultation, and under the shadow of poverty, these were not experiences restricted only to black women, but it was the intervention of black women, which exposed this. Which now focuses on choice and reproductive rights, (Heidi Safia Mirza1998:71). Black feminists expressed that the right to an abortion and contraception was often less relevant to them as they struggled for their rights to have children and against sterilization policies. In their everyday lives in a racist society, the issues that are immediate for women of colour are frequently different from the concerns of white women, (Linda McDowell and Rosemary Pringle 1992: 48). ...read more.


Black and migrant women are already disadvantaged by their gender in employment that it is difficult to show the effects of ethnic discrimination. The location of black women in the labour market reflects and compounds the dimensions of inequality intrinsic to British society, (Floya Anthias and Nira Yuval-Davis1992:111,112). Irrespective of race feminist thinkers and historians have pointed to the ways in which work seems to privilege the men's experience over women's; to the ways in which women have been denied access on equal terms to paid work, and to the ways in which definitions of work exclude women's contribution. Historically, home and work have not always been separate. It was only with the emergence of industrial capitalist production that they became spatially separated and even now, the separation is not complete. Women have always been part of the informal cash economy that co-existed with the development of formal production in factories and other specialized workplaces. Women have always done domestic work for no financial reward; the significant shift was not from leisure to work but from homework to employer-employee working relations, (Ray E. Pahl 1992:123). In conclusion, gender inequality refers to the various differences in status, power, and prestige enjoyed by women and men in various contexts. Feminist approaches reject the idea that gender inequality is somehow natural. Black feminists have seen factors such as class and ethnicity, in addition to gender, as essential for understanding the oppression experienced by non-white women. ...read more.

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