Feminism, gender equality, and all terms relating to the advocacy of women’s rights; has its way of leaving its footprints on the sand of time. From time immemorial to now, the ideology behind feminism has not only progressed but has been redefined and taken to greater heights.
While I have never been utterly obsessed with the concept of Feminism, I have ensured – to the best of my ability- that no man hectors me on the basis of gender supremacy. However, it is still one heck of a fight. As some feminist fight to have more than distaff, others (like the Arabian women) simply plead for empathy and respect of basic human rights.
So you can imagine my dismay when I heard about ‘Black Feminism’- the school of thought that combines feminism with the heavier saga of racism. There is no gainsaying the fact that work still needs to be done.
Ensuring that every Black woman is treated equally with men may seem highly quixotic, but at least some women try. Hence, in recognizing the feminist movement of some powerful women, I have compiled a list of 9 books authored by Black Women on feminism.
1) Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by Bell Hooks
Bell Hooks is one of those who proudly speak about feminism. In her book, she covers aspects of being a feminist and merges it with women’s politics. The classic talks about sexism versus sexists and feminism versus feminists, encouraging that we focus on the “ims” rather than the “ists”. ‘Feminism is for Everybody’, was viewed on the basis of fighting for the greater good. That there exists a possibility of an era where there is no domination; she also urged that the movement goes on till it is achieved.
2) The Invention of Women: Making An African Sense of Western Gender Discourses by Oyeronke Oyewumi
This book analyzes feminism from the African viewpoint, especially the Yoruba society. The Nigerian author, who is known for her wittiness, holds nothing back as she tackles the perceived mentality that economic roles are gendered in the western states of the country. Although she has been widely criticized for categorizing females into social systems rather than deal with oppression, confusing language discourse with social reality and many more ills; the book still provides insight through the African eye.
3) Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
This is another author that has had a controversial approach to her writings. She has been known for somewhat assaulting Islam in an attempt to promote the rights of Muslim women. Using her own journey as a synopsis to the book, she continues in her usual approach to feminism. She calls for reform of Islamic theology and for feminists to stand with her.
4) Words of Fire- An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought
In this book, the author takes us on a journey from early contemporary times to now. It is a compilation of writing by Black women. Using the same profound concept of feminism, she compares the work of the feminists of the nineteenth century to those of the twenty-first century. If you really want to learn about black feminism, this book is a must-read.
5) Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde is a black lesbian feminist. In her book, Sister Outsider, she speaks on racism, homophobia, sexism, class, oppression, and black feminism. A collection of fifteen essays and speeches, her take on the struggle for the woman of color is profound. Some of the essays include: “Man Child: A black Lesbian Feminist’s Response” and “Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference”.
6) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins
This book focuses on the Black feminist theory, its inception, and its impact. She debunks the infamous media representation of the black woman and speaks on the importance of empowering women. She also emphasized that knowledge is a very vital prerequisite to change. Her in-depth perspective on African-American feminism showed a well researched desire for solutions for generations to come.
7) All the Women Are White, All the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies by Barbara Smith, Akasha Gloria Hull, and Patricia Bell-Scott
These women put together studies on the Black woman. They explain that a “feminist, pro-woman perspective” is necessary to fully understand the experiences of Black women in society. The book focuses also on Black Feminism and was compiled in an attempt to help Black men and women fully grasp the way in which the black community has been oppressed.
8) Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist serves as an intervention to Black women. Roxane Gay speaks out, in various essays, about the desire for female role models to symbolize all things to all people and not just strive to be pretty. She basically spelt out the faults in the women rights movement, saying that feminism is not always good; she however, was able to bring together the contradictions in the best way possible.
9) We should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We should all be Feminists, talks about feminism of the 21st Century. The award winning author shows what it is to be a woman now, using excerpts from her personal experience. She attempts to alter the preconceived stereotyping and misconceptions around feminism. She also emphasized the need to separate the fight for feminism from the general term ‘human rights activism’, as there is a need for specialized attention for the former.