Black Feminism Assignment

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Black Feminism
Widely used yet rarely defined, Black feminist thought encompasses diverse and contradictory meanings. Two interrelated tensions highlight issues in defining Black feminist thought. The first concerns the thorny question of who can be a Black feminist. One current response, explicit in Patricia Bell Scott’s (1982b) “Selected Bibliography on Black Feminism,” classifies all African-American women, regardless of the content of our ideas, as Black feminists. From this perspective, living as Black women provides experiences to stimulate a Black feminist consciousness. Yet indiscriminately labeling all Black women in this way simultaneously conflates the terms woman and feminist and identifies being of African descent-a questionable biological category-as being the sole determinant of a Black feminist consciousness.
The term Black feminist has also been used to apply to selected African-Americans-primarily women-who possess some version of a feminist consciousness. Beverly Guy-Sheftall (1986) as cited by Ahikire (2014), contends that both men and women can be “Black feminists” and names Frederick Douglass and William E. B. DuBois as prominent examples of Black male feminists. Guy-Sheftall also identifies some distinguishing features of Black feminist ideas: namely, that Black women’s experiences with both racial and gender oppression that result in needs and problems distinct from white women and Black men, and that Black women must struggle for equality both as women and as African-Americans. Guy-Sheftall’s definition is helpful in that its use of ideological criteria fosters a definition of Black feminist thought that ecompasses both experiences and ideas. In other words, she suggests that experiences gained from living as African-American women stimulate a Black feminist sensibility. But her definition is simultaneously troublesome because it makes the biological category of Blackness the prerequisite for possessing such thought. Furthermore, it does not explain why these particular ideological criteria and not others are the distinguishing ones.
The term Black feminist has also been used to describe selected African-American women who possess some version of a feminist consciousness (Mpofu, 2016). This usage of the term yields the most restrictive notion of who can be a Black feminist.
Feminism carves the path of self- respect as well as admiration for women when they are given equal social status in the society. This message has been predominantly important for particularly the African culture as societies and most religions uphold the view that men are better than women. (Baraza and Kabira, 2015) states that the positive results of the feminist movement are not only for today but for the future. First and foremost awareness on the needed to treat women as equals to men has been communicated and taught to African citizens. Ahikire (2014) states that the gains of the feminist movement are not instant but rather happen on the backdrop of the people being re-socialized against what the African culture has taught them pertaining to women. Various success have been seen within the Zimbabwean context. For example, the country saw the inauguration of its first ever female Vice President, Dr Joice Mujuru in (Krook, 2017). Krook states that this was a culmination of concerted efforts by the government and various gender activist groups to enable women to enter into positions of power and authority within the professional and economic spectrums.
Ahikire (2014) also posits that the black feminist theory has breaded a new culture where women feel more comfortable to tackle educational courses that were predominantly done by men. For example Doctors, even today in Africa, are still mostly but the numbers have steadily risen within the past two decades. When women are given equal power due to feminism, they develop a self of belongingness which encourages them to contribute more to the people around them both personally as well as professionally.
Women have been subjected to abuse within their families and society whilst at the same time society, religion and at times the educational sector has made it normal. However, authoritative scholarly voices are now heralding equality by teaching all gender groups that men and women are the same. Feminism aids in addressing the taboo our society has regarding rights of women and it also enlightens public regarding the importance of equality among the genders. Mpofu (2016) articulates the fact that black feminism is more important within the African context in order to shift what has been cultural ingrained in people that males are more superior than their female counterparts.
Ahikire (2014) posits that black feminism has boosted female acceptance, by men and even their own selves, by putting light on the importance, strength and unique abilities that women have in order to eradicate the view that they are lesser. Within the Zimbabwean culture women are considered to be the essence of life on earth and when feminism comes into force, women are treated with their much- deserving respect and love.

References
Ahikire, J., 2014. African feminism in context: Reflections on the legitimation battles, victories and reversals. Feminist Africa, 19, pp.7-23.
Baraza, N. and Kabira, N., 2015. Reflections on feminism and development in Africa: the case of Kenya. Pathways to African Feminism and Development, Journal of African Women’s Studies Centre, 1(1).
Gouthro, P. and Holloway, S., 2013. Reclaiming the radical: Using fiction to explore adult learning connected to citizenship. Studies in the Education of Adults, 45(1), pp.41-56.
Krook, M.L., 2017. Violence against women in politics. Journal of Democracy, 28(1), pp.74-88.
Mpofu, S., 2016. Blogging, feminism and the politics of participation: the case of Her Zimbabwe. In Digital Activism in the Social Media Era (pp. 271-294). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Shaw, C.M., 2015. Women and Power in Zimbabwe: Promises of Feminism. University of Illinois Press.

 

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