Feminism In African American Poetry

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The Language of Powerful Women
African American Feminism and The Importance of Poetry
According to much of the internet, feminists are ugly, manhating, and complaining, lesbians. In the real world however, that is far from the case. Feminism is multilayered and it can sometimes be difficult to determine exactly what feminism stands for. The many different sub-groupings within feminism all focus on different issues related to gender-inequality. Still, despite the many diverse attitudes feminism is still broadly defined as the support of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes. Feminism is therefore not a hatred of the male sex as many seem to believe, but a critique of the way patriarchal values are dominating in American society.
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Up until the late 1980s the field of feminist theory was dominated by the white upper-middleclass. This is often referred to as white feminism or mainstream feminism. It is when overlooking the fact that different women face different issues due to race, class and/or sexual orientation that feminism becomes problematic. When mainstream feminism includes all women into one large body of politics it risks to erase some of the ideals that are essential tor some women, based on their ethnic background, religion and sexuality. This has been an issue since feminist thinking first started to take root in American society. Which is also why African American feminism is important for many women. American society views race and gender through the eyes of the white male, and seeing as the dominating discourse in society, usually remains invisible until it is challenged, white and male becomes the perceived norm. The power vested within the white male gaze, then allows the white patriarchy to define the meaning of womanhood. When someone else gets to define a certain group of people, which they do not belong to, the people often become wrongly presented, by inaccurate stereotypes. In much popular culture, the African American woman has often been depictured as either the hypersexualized young sassy woman, as it is seen especially seen within many hip-hop and dance videos, or as the hardworking…show more content…
It was the first time women in an organized manner, gathered to discuss their rights as citizens compared to those of the male sex. Their primary focus point was their lack of voting rights. This generation of feminism is also more commonly referred to as first wave of feminism, and it lasted roughly up until the securing of the female voting right in 1920. Many of the suffragist started out as abolitionist, who became aware of their own inferior status in society when comparing their legal position in society to those of the slave. Even more importantly, African American women struggling to free themselves from slave-bonds joined forces with the white middleclass woman, in order to ensure their rights as women. However, despite its ties to the abolitionist movement, first wave feminism was far from inclusive of African American women. The African American woman was reduced to only her race, and not recognized as an equal woman. Yet, that did not stop them from claiming their space next to the white

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