wo-man-ism | noun
Coined by famous author, Alice Walker, in her In Search of our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prosepiece, “Womanism” became a rising popular topic. You’re thinking to yourself: “Womanism? Isn’t that the same thing as ‘Feminism’?” Very valid question, but you’re wrong. If you ask Alice Walker she’ll tell you that Womanism is:
A woman who loves another woman, sexually and/ or non sexually. She appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility…[she] is committed to the survival and wholeness of an entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically for health… loves the spirit…. loves struggle. Loves herself. Regardless.
Womanism was created in response to the Feminism movement because when White women created this movement, they did it with themselves in mind. What the Feminism essentially did was include minority women of color in their issues, but that was only in order to gain more attention for the issues of the modern White women. Womanism was created with not just the Black woman in mind, but also women of disability, gay/lesbian women, and other categories. And while feminism ignores the issues that cisgendered White women do not face, womanism embraces the idea of the advancement and wholeness of the human society, whether it be male or female.
One of the many reasons people like myself have moved distanced themselves away from the term “feminism” is because I have the idea that in certain cases you cannot separate the idea of race from gender, and those aren’t the beliefs that feminism holds. In a lot of cases the two go hand and hand, but feminism doesn’t see it that way. White women cannot connect to the experiences of that of a Black woman because in most cases they are brought up in different circumstances. They like to believe that their issues are a Black woman’s issues, and while it holds SOME truth that is not fully correct.
Remember at the 2015 Oscars when Patricia Arquette shared that amazing speech on Gender Pay Equity for her acceptance speech. You know, the one about how women make 78 cents to the man’s dollar? Yep, that one. Pretty great speech until you start to question what woman is making 78 cents to what man. Oh, you didn’t know? WHITE women are making 22 cents less than what their WHITE male counterparts are. If you aren’t aware, Black men make less than White males (and until a few years ago they were making 3-4 cents less than the White woman), Black woman are making 14 cents less than the White woman, and the gap only furthers when you add Latino and Native American demographics. Then to put the cherry on top, this woman had the entire nerve to tell Black women to stand with them to close THEIR pay gap! Oh Patty, you’re a trip! So let me take the time to ask Patty this: What are Black women and other minority groups in the United States going to gain out of this? When White women get their 22 cents, what will become of your precious feminist movement? Will you gals retire it, and start working towards the racial pay gap? No? Probably not? Oh well, I guess your 22 cents will just have to take 22 seats huh?
Womanism does not work under systems of oppressions unlike feminism. Womanism encourages same-sex love, racial equality, and the advancement of all humans in general. We, as Womanist, understand that too many issues are intersectional such as the “Gender” Pay Gap, reproductive issues, and sexual violence. All of which White women are seen as the ideal victim and are sympathized with. When a woman of color is the victim in one of these issues, she is made her own perpetrator.
So why be a Womanist? Because it was created for everyone. Their demographic is not just targeted towards White women and usually their calls to action benefits different groups. Be a womanist and promote the idea of ending a system based around the hinderance of other groups while bettering your own.