Womanist theory

 



Of fact, the notion that we can pinpoint the source of women's oppression - as if there were a single source or reason that affects all women in the same way - is not only deceptive, but also alienating to many women. 

Feminist arguments can turn off some women who are fighting sexist oppression, regardless of whether they are liberal, radical, socialist, or a mixture of these. 


Traditional articulations of feminist thought are challenged by womanist theory. 


Proponents compel a reexamination of what constitutes a "feminist" by publicly rejecting the term. Womanist theory, in particular, examines the interconnections of race, class, and gender. After all, a woman's life is influenced by more than her sex or gender identity. 

Women are stereotyped, violated, objectified, and dominated by a slew of other societal forces. Black Liberation Theology has some origins in womanist ideology. 

There is no coherent body of theory, as there is with the other schools of feminist thought. Instead, the word refers to a wide category that encompasses a variety of problems and challenges. 

Many women reject the name "feminism" exactly because there are so many variations of feminisms, according to bell hooks (her chosen pseudonym, based on matrilineal links, is written in lower case as an express rejection of patriarchal naming and control of women). 

Women appear to be divided in this way, implying that there is no unity among them. It might also imply that feminism is more preoccupied with academic intellectual arguments than with bringing about social change for actual women worldwide. 

Another reason, according to Hooks, is that feminism has historically been a racist movement aimed at equalizing white middle and upper class women with white middle and upper class males. Feminism, according to hooks, fails in its mission by disregarding the impact of racism and class on black women. Furthermore, many of the concerns that a white, middle-class feminist might consider vital are either refuted or tangential to the reality of many black women. 

Instead, hooks proposes redefining feminism as a "fight to eradicate sexist oppression." There are a few noteworthy aspects to this definition. 


Feminism is inherently a revolutionary collective movement as a fight. 


She distinguishes between feminism as a way of life and feminism as a political movement. Individual feminists make only a commitment to themselves as a lifestyle choice, and they promote a feminist agenda exclusively through their own personal actions. There is no requirement to engage with people or to effect social change. 

In that sense, feminism may just be about changing certain specific societal behaviors that are harmful to a certain woman. Feminism, on the other hand, is a broader commitment to others as a political movement, actively working to bring about good change in the lives of women who are subjected to sexist oppression. It's both political and collective. Hooks defines sexist oppression as "all types of oppression that influence women's political life." 


Women face racism, classism, ableism, heterosexism, ageism, and a variety of other types of oppression on a daily basis, but not all women face all of them. 


The key is that oppression has a cultural foundation. The basic underpinnings of all types of oppression remain in existence when efforts are only focused on eradicating one kind of oppression. 

In many ways, this is analogous to the socialist feminist endeavor of finding a unifying notion. 'The cultural underpinning of group oppression,' according to Hooks, is founded at least in part in either/or thinking. According to hooks, either/or thinking may be seen in all types of dominance in Western culture. 


We divide individuals into two categories that are mutually exclusive, yet these two groupings do not coexist. 


Domination renders one group inferior and another superior (see the dichotomies of Men/Women, White/Black, and Rich/Poor). Womanist solutions include intersectionality or intersectional thinking, in addition to hooks' recommendations. 

Intersectionality was initially proposed by legal scholar KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, who saw how race was often left out of feminist domestic violence and rape discourses, as well as how the gendered character of these crimes was frequently concealed by some of the prevailing discourses in the black community. 

The goal of intersectional thinking is to avoid prioritizing any one voice above another; neither one's ethnicity nor gender are important considerations. Human beings, on the other hand, are in some ways products of their sex, race, and social class experiences. 

These cultural rules and experiences have an impact on all knowledge (some of which are oppressive and some of which are dominating). Crenshaw claimed that intersectional thinking was not only desirable but also required in order to fully and correctly address violence in the lives of women, particularly black women. The many schools of feminist philosophy each have their own definition of freedom or liberation. 

The emphasis in Womanist ideology is on everyone's full self-development, but there is also acknowledgment that we are all associated with families, communities, governmental entities, and other organizations that have a significant impact on our self-development. 

The essential (and this seems to apply to all of the schools) is that no one should be subjected to any kind of dominance. However, in order to realize this vision, greater attention must be paid to the ways in which oppressive forms cross, link, or overlap.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 


You may also want to read more about Feminism and Activism here.













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