There are more than a few misconceptions that need clearing up in regards to black feminism. Here are five things you need to know.
1. I don’t hate men.
Many people think that being pro-women means being anti-men. This is just as false as the notion that being pro-black means you’re anti-white. Being an advocate for an oppressed community does not mean you automatically oppose the existence of another group. Being a black feminist means that I advocate and have love for all black people. This includes cisgendered and transgendered men, as well as non-binary, working class, poor, queer black people and more. Though my feminist identity doesn’t mean I hate men, it does mean that I will always call men (and anyone else with privilege) out for participating in oppression. Instead of suggesting hate for men, my willingness to do so demonstrates that I love people enough to demand freedom for everyone.
2. My feminism isn’t a “distraction.”
Many have suggested that my Black feminism is a distraction from “real” issues such as police brutality or white supremacy. Actually, my black feminism seeks to include all black people, including women, in the fight for liberation from all oppression. This is broadening the scope of the Black Liberation Movement, not creating a distraction from it. In addition, issues that disproportionately affect black women, such as domestic and sexual violence, are just as important as issues such as police brutality and the prison industrial complex.
3. I am not angry.
I experience the full range of human emotion just like everyone else. Feminists are not angry people. There is always room for joy, self-care, love and laughter among black feminists. However, there are social issues that anger us and we are allowed to feel that emotion without being stereotypically labeled as “angry black women.” Issues like sexual violence, unequal pay and erasure from movements are all things to be angry about, but I am much more than that single emotion.
4. Feminism isn’t just for white women.
Many black people think that feminism wasn’t created by and isn’t for black women. However, black women have been feminists for centuries. Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston and Coretta Scott King were all pro-black women who were also feminists. Black women have always contributed to feminist causes, so the movement is mine too!
5. I’m not anti-sex.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate sex. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As a feminist, I am for the sexual liberation of everyone. This means making sex more safe and enjoyable for all by advocating for opportunities such as birth control access and against problems such as sexual violence. This also means working to rid the world of the stigma and shame surrounding black women’s sexuality. A world where everyone is safe and free in their sexuality? Dope!