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Thursday, February 5, 2009

This full comment left on the below blog post titled: Looking at Fem2pt0 and the Feminist Web

Oyeronke Oyewumi, author of

  • "Multiculturalism or multibodism: On the impossible intersections of race and gender in the American White feminist and Black nationalist discourses. Western Journal of Black Studies."
  • African Gender Studies: Conceptual Issues/ Theoretical Questions (edited). Palgrave /Macmillan: New York (forthcoming 2005)

  • African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood, edited. Africa World Press, Trenton: New Jersey (2003).
  • The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis: Minnesota (1997).

In her award-winning book The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses (University of Minnesota Press, 1997), Oyeronke Oyewumi makes the case that the narrative of gendered corporeality that dominates the Western interpretation of the social world is a cultural discourse and cannot be assumed uncritically for other cultures. She concludes that gender is not only socially constructed but is also historical. Furthermore, she points out that the current deployment of gender as a universal and timeless social category cannot be divorced from either the dominance of Euro/American cultures in the global system or the ideology of biological determinism which underpins Western systems of knowledge.

Born in Nigeria and educated at the University of Ibadan and the University of California at Berkeley, Oyewumi has been widely recognized for her work. The monograph Invention won the 1998 Distinguished Book Award of the American Sociological Association and was a finalist for the Herskovitts Prize of the African Studies Association in the same year.


The below post is actually my full comment that I left today on the below blog post titled: "Looking at Fem2pt0 and the Feminist Web."   I originally posted it on the comment section of the Blog Womanist-Musings that I highly recommend to everyone.  You can find the below post by clicking here.

Love for the people,



Be sure to read the below post first to understand the comments are below.


First, I want to apologize for the long post, but I feel it is extremely important regarding how people of color feminist blogs may (or may not) be recognized or linked to by others. Someone said:

"If anyone should be on the list however it is you Renee, for me it was a relief to find you this past year, whether I agree with you or not, you have more to offer than feminism 101, a pretty boring discourse for me, you offer a larger view and I appreciate it. Here is to hoping you crop up on many lists in the future."

I echo the above sentiments, 10,000 percent.


I do not, however, agree with the below statement:

"First, feminism is not an entity or a body; it's an ideological orientation to the world and our participation in/with it. So "feminism" cannot omit anyone from the conversation. And any women's studies program that I know of does NO SUCH THING as you claim.

"As a Ph.D. candidate with a secondary area in Women, Gender, Body, and Race Studies, I would be very interested to know some current scholarship on this claim.""

I don't agree with that statement but since a request was made for some scholarship I thought I'd provide a few (especially for all those who might stumble across the request on this blog)


Hamer, J., & Neville, H. (1998). Revolutionary Black feminism: Toward a theory of unity and liberation. Black Scholar

hooks, b. (1991). Ain't I a woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston, MA: South End Press. hooks, b. (1991). Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem. Boston, MA: South End Press. Hudson-Weems, C. (1995) Africana Racism: Reclaiming Ourselves (3rd ed.), Michigan: Bedford Publishers.

Hull, G. T., Bell-Scott, P. & Smith, B. (eds.). (1982). All the women are White, All the Blacks are men, but some of us are brave. Black Women's Studies. New York: Feminist Studies.

Mansbridge, J., & Smith, B. (2000). How did feminism get to be "All White?" A conversation between Jane Mansbridge and Barbara Smith. American Prospect

Nadasen, P. (2002). Expanding the boundaries of the women's movement: Black feminism and the struggle for welfare rights. Feminist Studies

Oyewumi, O. (1999). Multiculturalism or multibodism: On the impossible intersections of race and gender in the American White feminist and Black nationalist discourses. Western Journal of Black Studies


You can start there. If you want more just do what I did and type in "feminism excludes Black women" in a search engine and you'll come up with wonderful articles with titles such as "African-American women's feelings on alienation from third-wave feminism: a conversation with my sisters."

That article was written by Aretha Faye Marbley, an Associate Professor and Director of Community Counseling in Counselor Education at Texas Tech University and Regional Six Director and President for the Texas Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education. So, I guess you could consider that scholarship. *happy laughter*

I also agree with the statement "feminism has a history of silencing women of color." And I am a Black male feminist person of color, who took a major in Philosophy, and a minor in Women's studies and co-founded the Radical Feminist Distro, and I go around the country giving workshops at conferences such as Z Media Institute (founders of Z Magazine) on ending Patriarchy and currently helping with the Radical Feminist Library at the Freeschool Community... and in my opinion feminism has a history of also silencing Black male feminist persons of color as well. Many of the reasons for that are understandable, but also very divisive to the movement for ending patriarchy.

I also started a feminist blog and I did it only after I was part of a conversation on a popular feminist community blog and several people had a lot of surprisingly racist comments when I spoke up for the fact that Nike oppresses women, children and people of color worldwide, and then they (along with the owner of the blog) tried to defend Nike. Today I went to that same feminist blog and someone said they might become a "fan" of Bill Gates after one of his latest publicity stunts, and someone else on the same feminist blog said he is a personal hero. Actually used the word “hero.”  And when I spoke up about it some of the exact people attacked me about the Bill Gates issue who attacked me the first time about the Nike issue.  I even gave links to prove everything I said but that didn't help.

I actually love that feminist blog because it was the first place I found out about the Oscar Grant murder which in turn led me to research other unarmed people being killed by police worldwide but when I see the world's largest oppressors of people of color like Nike and Bill Gates being promoted or called a Hero it confirms that we desperately need more people of color feminist blogs and I would very much like to see more feminist people of color individual and community blogs and I am very glad to see that Renee was recognized. It could not have happened to a better feminist.

Sorry for the long post, everyone. I thought it was immensely noble of Renee to start this discussion (especially after having won the award which is usually when people stop questioning award selction procedures and racism like Will Smith! *happy laughter*) because it is painfully needed.

Frederick Douglass, who helped to organize the Seneca Falls Conference for Women's rights in 1848 along with other feminists once said: ."If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will."

Keep up the great work, Renee... and all those who support her blog. You are bringing the thunder and lightning and because of it you are making progress not only for the people of color feminist movement, but for the movement to end patriarchy that ultimately benefits everyone and it is beautiful to behold.

Love for the people,


Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman." -- Andrea Dworkin

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